100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2015 -The region's best brightest, most promising-


Clinic chief Hizuki Hanafusa

Message to young people
While I was eating at a restaurant near a university, I thought it was a pity that some students I overheard were looking to find jobs that would offer high pay or job security. I believe you should do whatever you love to do when you are young without giving too much thought to the money you will make or job security. If I had kept working at a university hospital, my life would have been more secure. But as I didn’t prioritize security, I was able to do things I felt passionate about. Now I am working toward a goal, which is more ambitious than the goals I set for myself when I was younger. In every line of work, there are opportunities to take on new challenges. I want you to do things you want to do and create new value without worrying about the outcome.

I was born into a very ordinary family on the outskirts of Osaka. I was a sickly child, who nearly died of pneumonia when I was a year old. When I was an elementary school student, I contracted cerebral meningitis and was hospitalized. I got healthy when I was about 10 years old and began playing baseball and other sports. I hardly studied and mostly just played, but I began to study harder in junior high school. I was particularly interested in history and math. In high school, I began to take things easy again, but once I decided to become a doctor, I began studying hard.

Since I was a sickly child, I had some admiration for the medical profession. I also dreamed of being an astronaut or an inventor, but became realistic and decided to become a doctor. At university, I dedicated myself to studies while doing things I wanted to do such as skiing, snowboarding and scuba diving. When I was young, I had to see a dermatologist almost every week because I suffered from atopy, but my condition barely improved. I decided to become a dermatologist to help cure patients with conditions similar to mine and I was lucky to have very good teachers in university.

I opened my practice, but at first I didn’t know specifically what I wanted to do. As many patients had tumors, I devised a surgery technique that could be performed quickly on an outpatient basis. Word spread about my surgical technique and patients from across the country started coming to see me. This strengthened my commitment to my profession as, to my surprise, I learned there are many people who are suffering from skin diseases who needed the services of a small clinic like mine. I also decided to take on diseases for which adequate care was not being given.

Now doctors are performing surgeries that are less invasive than they used to be to make operations less burdensome for patients and minimize scars. In the field of dermatology, the shift toward less invasive surgeries was slow and some patients were left with scars several times larger than the tumors removed. My clinic adopted less invasive surgery methods ahead of others so scars will be smaller and heal quickly. We will continue to stick to this policy. There were many things we didn’t know about skin diseases and it has also been said that skin diseases are not lethal, but incurable. I aim to fight that image about skin diseases and help patients quickly recover. I intend to teach more people our clinic’s techniques and open more branches.

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