Dr. Naruke, as a Father

Dr. Naruke, as a Father

Masao Naruke

Department of General Thoracic Surgery, Kawasaki Municipal Ida Hospital, Kanagawa 2110035, Japan

Correspondence to: Masao Naruke. Department of General Thoracic Surgery, Kawasaki Municipal Ida Hospital, 2 27 1 Ida, Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 2110035, Japan. Email: masao.naruke@gmail.com.

Received: 24 April 2016; Accepted: 26 April 2016; Published: 13 May 2016.

doi: 10.21037/jovs.2016.04.12

Dr. Tsuguo Naruke, my late father, tried to spend as much time with family as possible, even though the occupation of surgeon doesn’t have much time to be with family because of its busy work. He raised me by showing me this way of living.

He looked like he was happy to be a surgeon and that it was really enjoyable.

It was the main reason why I became a surgeon myself (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy by my late father and me.

He left some messages not only to me but also to other surgeons. They came from his background.

Here, I describe his upbringing and focus on his relations with JUDO which he loved throughout his life, and that became the basis for the strong sprit to study of Lung cancer.

Tsuguo Naruke was born in Tokyo in February of 1934 as the second child of a Surgeon. His father did SUMOU WRESTLING, swimming and many other sports. He was strict in raising my father. For example, he was said to chase his son with holding a torch which burned violently when he made a mistake during, his young days.

He was proud to be educated from elemental school to university at the private, comprehensive school “Keio”. When he was eleven years old, he started to do JUDO. He said, at the beginning he didn’t like JUDO. Eventually, he became to like JUDO and became stronger and stronger. When he was a high school student, he captained the JUDO team.

When he was 17 years old, he was studying in preparation for the Keio university school of medicine entry examination furiously. He had to study very hard because he threw himself into JUDO training at that time.

While he was a medical school student, he was always in the JUDO training camp. At that time, the JUDO training was more important than studying medicine for him. For example, he was said to have forgotten the date of examination. And he heard the date of the examination from his classmate on the morning of that day. On the other hand, one midnight when he was studying, he found a robber on the road in front of his house. And he pursued and caught him. So, he received a Prize from “The Superintendent-General of the Metropolitan Police”, thanks to the JUDO.

In June 1957, when he was in the last grade of medical school, he and his schoolmates organized an East Japan Sports Event for Medical school students for the first time. They held a huge dancing party for fund-raising for the event. He worked as a guard at the entrance. That sports event still continues today.

Mr. Don F. Draeger was an internationally known teacher and practitioner of Japanese martial arts, and was a pioneer of international JUDO in the United States & Japan. His national-level postings included vice-president of Pan-American Judo Association & Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Amateur Judo Association of the United States. He wanted to spread Japanese martial arts to North America (1).

Mr. Draeger asked my father to go abroad to teach JUDO while working in the hospital in the United States.

After he graduated medical school, he started his professional career as a pathologist at Keio university hospital. Anyhow, recommended by his father, pathology should be studied first before becoming a surgeon.

He accepted Mr. Draeger’s offer and soon he went abroad to Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia in 1959. In those days travelling was much more difficult and you had to travel by ship which took a week to the United States from Yokohama in Japan.

In the United States, he passionately continued his activities of JUDO and promoting it, starting with demonstration pictures in an English textbook. He enjoyed doing JUDO and teaching it there by organizing a JUDO class, participating in a local JUDO game event as the referee, and doing JUDO demonstrations for local family at a first-class hotel.

After he passed the examination of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), he worked for Hahnemann University Hospital. His U.S. life was very busy. He worked on a pathological residency and taught JUDO in the daytime, and then he had to work on autopsy, pathological reports of surgical specimens, and preparing the next day’s class for the medical students until midnight. While working there, he performed 50 American autopsies.

After he came back to Japan, he started to work for the National Cancer Center (NCC) in Tokyo in 1962 at the same time as the hospital was opened. It was recommended by Dr. Taro Takemi, who served as president of the Japan Medical Association for 25 years. I remember that in his final year, my father used to bring the newspaper to his bedside in NCC every early morning.

He performed operations for every kinds of surgery as a general surgeon for the first 4 years. And then, he fixed to General thoracic surgery under the command of Dr. Shichiro Ishikawa who was a professor of Keio university and organized a Department of General thoracic surgery of NCC (Figure 2). At that time, when lung cancer operations were almost over and his boss went out of operative theater, he used to dissect lymph nodes again and took specimens out more.

Figure 2 Surgery with Dr. Shichiro Ishikawa.

After a little while, he investigated many lymph nodes specimens, characterized and did mapping for them. It was completed and published (2-4). It was recommended by his boss Dr. Keiichi Suemasu (Figure 3). He also came from Keio university.

Figure 3 Surgery with Dr. Keiichi Suemasu.

He had worked at NCC for 38 years. He really loved working there. It had the most suitable environment to study scientifically new lung cancer treatment as he wished. After he came back home, he liked to talk about the fun experiences he had had with his great colleagues. Just before his retirement, he was engaged in the design of the reconstruction for the hospital. While he was working for NCC, he had many opportunities to visit to foreign countries for surgery and international meetings. Sometimes, he was out of Japan for one-third of the year.

He was still busy for work, after he moved to Saiseikai Central Hospital from NCC. Although he was 70 years old, he sometimes prepared all night without sleeping for presentations for attending international congress. And the next morning, he went to work as usual. However, I never heard his compliment about his busy work.

He never stopped doing JUDO and to participate in tournaments his whole life no matter how busy he was (Figure 4). He always trained and kept his condition best. His strong sprit and incredible stamina for his doctor’s life came from tough training for JUDO, he always said.

Figure 4 He never stopped to participate in JUDO tournaments his whole life no matter how busy he was.

He had impressive pictures that he took with World Champions of the Olympic Games, Ms. Ryoko Tamura and Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita. As shown from their pictures, he sympathized with them as they had made maximum effort to be absolutely first class and genuine.

He continued JUDO until the date he died, 20th May 2006. When he collapsed during the JUDO training in a holy place KODOKAN, it was as if the super-express train suddenly stopped its engine. That date was just 2 days after he had performed his last operation, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy. He was 72 years old then. He had continued to do his best, at the top speed, for everything his whole life.

To conclude, here I describe his teachings for future generations, especially to doctors.

  • Think and choose carefully who you wish your master to be.
  • See and choose the institution carefully as to where you wish to train yourself.
  • Do what you feel most comfortable doing.
  • When you have a go at something yourself, make sure you do your best.
  • If you chose to do it yourself, you need to endure whenever necessary until you pursue it to the end.
  • You should be able to listen to and obey what your boss tells you to do.
  • Constant effort will help you reach where you aim to be.
  • The volunteering spirit should always have a place in your heart.
  • Try something challenging, something that other people never think of doing.
  • You always need to have a flexible worldwide view.
  • You should always keep your health at its best.
  • An uncut gem does not sparkle.




Conflicts of Interest: This content was presented in the 2nd International Conference of ATEP 2015 in Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, on 5th Dec, 2015.


  1. Miliaresis GA. Donn F. Draeger: The Pioneer. Available online: www.budojapan.com/special-article/donn-f-draeger-the-pioneer/
  2. Naruke T. The spread of lung cancer and its relevance to surgery. Nippon Kyobu Geka Gakkai Zasshi (J. Jpn. Surg. Soc.) 1967;68:1607-21. In Japanese.
  3. Naruke T, Suemasu K, Ishikawa S. Surgical treatment for lung cancer with metastasis to mediastinal lymph nodes. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1976;71:279-85. [PubMed]
  4. Naruke T, Suemasu K, Ishikawa S. Lymph node mapping and curability at various levels of metastasis in resected lung cancer. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1978;76:832-9. [PubMed]
doi: 10.21037/jovs.2016.04.12
Cite this article as: Naruke M. Dr. Naruke, as a Father. J Vis Surg 2016;2:97.