Since I believed that Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara would live longer, his death at the age of 105 was very shocking and sad news (“Legendary doctor Hinohara dies at 105” in the July 19 edition).

I had several occasions to hear his lectures in addition to reading some of his books.

While it isn’t so easy for us (after the age of 60 or so), Dr. Hinohara always spoke of the necessity and importance of designing our own life after retirement. And he himself continued his lifework of serving others until the age of 105, guided by his own life planning.

As a physician, he was very careful to treat the patient who has the disease, and not the disease only.

Dr. Hinohara learned a lot from the philosophy of Dr. William Osler, who has been called the “father of modern medicine,” and practiced it throughout his life, saying, “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.”

I shall never forget Dr. Hinohara’s teachings on life. One is that if you have something you really love, it will surely make you feel alive! Another is that we become stronger through struggling with difficult experiences. Dr. Hinohara gave so much practical advice of life to readers of his books. He was a great doctor of life also for million readers.

There is a time for everything. Sadly, the time has come to say farewell for Dr. Hinohara. Even though we can see him no longer, I am sure that his love-filled lifework of serving others above self will continue to speak to and encourage us.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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