Global Collaborations

International Cooperation between The College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University and The School of Veterinary Medicine at Rakuno-Gakuen University of Ebetsu, Japan

A Quarter Century of Success

Rakuno-Gakuen University (RGU) is located in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. The 326 acre has three components: the University with its Graduate School, The Dairy Science Institute, and Towanomori San-ai High School. The School of Veterinary Medicine is housed within the graduate school and offers 18 specializations in 3 fields: basic, applied, and clinical veterinary medicine. The curriculum is 5 years in length and has approximately 140 students in each class year. The veterinary curriculum is taught by 54 faculty members from 6 departments. Nine of the 54 faculty members have spent at least a year at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine with an additional faculty member coming to Columbus in the fall of 2010. In addition, a number of faculty members and administrators from Ohio State have visited Japan. The relationship is facilitated by the Mitsugi Satow-Rakuno Gakuen Scholastic Endowment Fund. Mitsugi Satow received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1921 and Masters of Dairy Science degree from the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 1922. After graduation, Mr. Satow joined the Snow Brand Milk Products Company in Hokkaido, Japan, rising to be president of the company. Friends of Mr. Satow established the endowment in 1994 in his honor on the occasion of his being named a Distinguished Alumnus of Ohio State by the Ohio State University Alumni Association.

Dr. John Hubbell, Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences visited RGU in the summer of 2010 to interact with the anesthesia section, headed by Dr. Kazuto Yamashita . Dr. Yamashita had previously spent one year (1999-2000) with the anesthesia section at Ohio State, mentored by Professor William Muir. During his visit in Japan, Dr. Hubbell interviewed each of the Rakuno-Gakuen faculty members who had been in Columbus, asking each for their perception of the value of the relationship between the Colleges and the effect the experience had on their career.

The first faculty member to visit Ohio State was Dr. Kazushige Takehana, who came to Columbus in 1987. Dr. Takehana is a Professor of Veterinary Biosciences at RGU and manages Academic Affairs for the School. Dr. Takehana's faculty sponsor at Ohio State was Dr. Jerry Masty of the then Department of Veterinary Anatomy (now Veterinary Biosciences). Dr. Takehana mentioned Drs. George Wilson, Maureen Hunter, Bettina Anderson, Wesley Anderson, and Mamoru Yamaguchi as Ohio State faculty who had an impact on his career.

Dr. Takehana (on right) with his co-workers and graduate students in his laboratory at RGU

Dr. Takehana's area of research is connective tissue structure and he has numerous publications, many of which are co-authored with Ohio State faculty members. This picture is of Dr. Takehana (on right) with his co-workers and graduate students in his laboratory at RGU.

Dr. Naoya Kikuchi, Professor of Veterinary Infection and Pathology at RGU visited Columbus in 1988 and 1989. Dr. Kikuchi teaches microbiology and infectious disease in the professional curriculum at RGU. His area of research is leptospirosis in cattle where he examines the host response to infection. Dr. Kikuchi faculty sponsor at Ohio State was Dr. James Blakeslee, then Chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy. Dr. Kikuchi credits Dr. Blakeslee with helping him develop many of the techniques he applies today in his investigations.

Dr. Kikuchi (left) in his
laboratory at RGU with a graduate student

Dr. Kikuchi (left) in his laboratory at RGU with a graduate student.

Dr. Hajime Nagahata, Professor of Veterinary Hygiene and Environment at RGU, visited Columbus in 1989-1990. Dr. Nagahata's faculty mentor at Ohio State was Dr. Gary Kociba, of the then Department of Veterinary Pathology. Dr. Nagahata teaches animal health and preventive medicine in the veterinary curriculum and does extension presentations on bovine mastitis. Dr. Nagahata showed me a series of pictures he has saved from his time in Ohio including visits to Amish country and many social occasions with faculty and staff. Dr. Nagahata cited the influence of Ohio State faculty members Glen Hoffsis, Kent Hoblet, Maxie Wellman, Steve DiBartola, and Mamoru Yamaguchi on his development as a researcher and faculty member. Dr. Nagahata has a large number of publications, many of which feature Ohio State faculty as co-authors. The friendships and cooperative arrangements that began at Ohio State continue.

Dr. Nagahata (second from right) with his
  graduate students in his laboratory at RGU

Dr. Nagahata (second from right) with his graduate students in his laboratory at RGU.

Dr. Hiroyuki Taniyama is President of Rakuno-Gakuen University. Dr. Taniyama is also a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Infection and Pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Taniyama visited Ohio State in 1991-1992 under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Weisbrode. Dr. Taniyama worked with muscle fibers in horses when he first came to Ohio State then expanded his studies to muscular dystrophy in a cooperative arrangement with the Ohio State College of Medicine. In addition to his busy schedule as President of the University, Dr. Taniyama conducts research on spontaneous tumors in animals.

President Hiroyuki Taniyama (center) and Dean Masanobu Hayashi of the School of Veterinary Medicine (left) visit with Dr. John Hubbell of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State (right)

President Hiroyuki Taniyama (center) and Dean Masanobu Hayashi of the School of Veterinary Medicine (left) visit with Dr. John Hubbell of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State (right).

Dr. Takashi Kurosawa is an associate professor in the Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences at RGU. Dr. Kurosawa visited Columbus in 1991-1992 under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Hoffsis of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Dr. Kurosawa credits Ohio State with introducing him to the use of ultrasound in large animal clinical medicine and mentions Drs. Michael Rings, Peter Constable, and Bruce Hull as important influences during his time in Ohio. Dr. Kurosawa teaches large animal internal medicine in both an ambulatory and didactic setting in the veterinary curriculum and serves as a college liaison to developing countries through a program where veterinarians come to RGU for an intensive course on the diagnosis of infectious disease.

Dr. Takashi Kurosawa (left) with a group of
international students in his laboratory at RGU

Dr. Takashi Kurosawa (left) with a group of international students in his laboratory at RGU.

Dr. Yasuharu Izumisawa is Professor of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences and Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at RGU. Dr. Izumisawa visited Ohio State in 1993-1994 and was mentored by Drs. Marvin Olmstead, Alicia Bertone, and Mamoru Yamaguchi. Dr. Izumisawa teaches orthopedic surgery in the veterinary curriculum in lectures, laboratories, and clinics. Dr. Izumisawa cited the large number of cases that he saw at Ohio State as an influence on his development as a surgeon. Drs. Alicia Bertone and Jonathan Dyce of the current faculty at Ohio State have visited RGU. Dr. Izumisawa cites these continued interactions as being vital to his career and envisions further collaborations in the future.

Dr. Yasuharu Izumisawa and
  a group of veterinary students in the receiving area of the small animal
hospital at RGU

Dr. Yasuharu Izumisawa and a group of veterinary students in the receiving area of the small animal hospital at RGU.

Dr. Tetsuya Nakade is a Professor of Radiology and Ultrasound in the Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences who manages Student Affairs at RGU. Dr. Nakade came to Columbus in 1994-1995 as a young faculty member. Drs. John Bonagura and Linda Lemkuhl mentored Dr. Nakade at Ohio State and he credits them with introducing him to a number of techniques including balloon dilation of the pulmonary artery, pacemaker implantation, and echocardiography. The contacts he made during his stay in Columbus are active today. Dr. Nakade mentioned the friendly faculty and staff at Ohio State including Dr. Richard Bednarski and his wife Linda, and staff member, Robin Bennett.

Dr. Tetsuya Nakade (right) making a point
with his residents in the CT suite at RGU

Dr. Tetsuya Nakade (right) making a point with his residents in the CT suite at RGU.

Dr. Yasukazu Muramatsu is a Professor of Veterinary Hygiene and Environment at RGU who visited Columbus in 1999-2000. Dr. Muramatsu teaches zoonotic diseases and veterinary public health in the veterinary curriculum and investigates Q fever and enterohemorrhagic E. coli using cell culture techniques that he was introduced to at Ohio State. Dr. Muramatsu's mentor at Ohio State was Dr. Yasuko Rikihisa of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. Dr. Muramatsu has great memories of Ohio and mentioned the outstanding quality of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Symphony.

Dr. Yasukazu Muramatsu (center) in his
laboratory at RGU with his graduate students

Dr. Yasukazu Muramatsu (center) in his laboratory at RGU with his graduate students.

Dr. Kazuto Yamashita is a Professor in the Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences at RGU and focuses his teaching and research in the discipline of anesthesia. Dr. Yamashita visited Ohio State in 1999-2000 under the mentorship of Dr. William Muir and the faculty of the anesthesia section in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Dr. Yamashita credits the group at Ohio State with his development as a clinical anesthesiologist and researcher. Dr. Yamashita is an accomplished researcher and has published a number of papers, frequently in cooperation with Ohio State faculty.

Dr. Kazu Yamashita (second row, second from left) with a group of graduate and professional students in the veterinary teaching hospital at RGU

Dr. Kazu Yamashita (second row, second from left) with a group of graduate and professional students in the veterinary teaching hospital at RGU.

Dr. Kazuya Matsuda will begin his visit to Ohio State in September of 2010. Dr. Matsuda will be mentored by Dr. Michael Lairmore, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and the Faculty of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences. Dr. Matsuda's current research centers on bovine viral diarrhea and emphasizes cell culture techniques. Dr. Matsuda hopes to expand his abilities in diagnostic pathology and research during his time at Ohio State.

Dr. Kazuya Matsuda (right) and his graduate students in his laboratory at RGU

Dr. Kazuya Matsuda (right) and his graduate students in his laboratory at RGU.

This group of faculty comprises approximately 20% of the faculty at RGU and they call themselves "The Ohio Mafia." They hold important positions within the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Rakuno-Gakuen University. The interactions between the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State and RGU is a two way street with a number of Ohio State faculty including Drs. Ronald Wright, Glen Hoffsis, Charles Capen, Richard Bednarski, John Hubbell, Mamoru Yamaguchi, Valerie Samii, Alicia Bertone, William Muir, Jon Dyce, Wendy Lorch, and Thomas Rosol having visited Rakuno-Gakuen in Japan with some having made multiple visits.