It is with deep sadness that I share with you news of the death of Dr. Yoshinari Ono, a former President of the Endourological Society, who passed away on July 23, 2017. He was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend. 

Dr. Ono was born on December 18, 1948, and graduated from Nagoya University in Japan in 1973. He completed his residency and a fellowship in urology at Chukyo Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Shinichi Ohshima. In 1985, Dr. Ono became Chief of Urology at Komaki Municipal Hospital, and in 1997 moved to Nagoya University as Associate Professor of Urology. In 2007, Dr. Ono became Professor in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Aichi Shukutoku University.


dr ono at the korakuen gardensDr. Yoshinari Ono

Dr. Ono’s career as an endourologist started with his development of endopyeloureterotomy. This novel technique of transpelvic extraureteral approach in which the pyeloscope, is used to access the narrow segment of the ureter from outside the pelvis (J Urol 1992) had a good success rate due to the easier handling of the ureter. Dr. Ono performed the first laparoscopic nephrectomy in East Asia in July of 1991 and devoted the rest of his academic life to developing and promoting urologic laparoscopic surgery. Thanks to his vigorous work, the usefulness of laparoscopic radical nephrectomy was established as the first-line treatment for renal cell carcinoma (J Endourol 1994, J Urol 1997, Urology 1999, J Urol 2001, Urology 2003, Int J Urol 2004, J Endourol 2009).

As Director of the fellowship program of the Endourological Society and at Nagoya University, Dr. Ono trained many young urologists from Japan and South Korea. They have succeeded him now as highly skilled laparoscopic surgeons and are achieving leadership roles in their respective countries. Fellows of Dr. Ono in South Korea have prepared a memoriam book for his funeral ceremony in which they express their gratitude for his contribution to Korean endourology. For many years, Dr. Ono contributed to the activities of the Japanese Society of Endourology (JSE) as a member of its Board of Directors, especially through the establishment of standard laparoscopic surgical techniques, educational programs in laparoscopy, and a skills qualification system in Japan. He served as President of the 27th Congress of the JSE in 2011. He also played a major role in organizing the East Asian Society of Endourology, in 2004, an organization that has brought together endourologists from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and The Philippines. Dr. Ono was a true pioneer among endourologists in East Asia.

Dr. Ono joined the Endourological Society in 1991, and contributed to the Society as a member of several committees, including the Fellowship committee. He served on the Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, and as President of the Endourological Society from 2007 to 2008. In recognition of his many contributions to endourology and to the Endourological Society, Dr. Ono received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Endourological Society in 2011. This was an honor for all Japanese endourologists.

Dr. Ono was a renowned endourologist who had many friends all over the world. The friendship between Dr. Ono and Dr. Ralph Clayman was especially close and extended to their respective families dating back to 1991 when Dr. Ono first visited Dr. Clayman in St. Louis. Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, Dr. Ono’s constant smile and warm gaze graced everyone he encountered. His presence among us will be greatly missed.

May we all remember Dr. Ono as a superb laparoscopic surgeon and an enthusiastic educator whose visionary abilities and kind humility continue to warm our collective memory. We pray for his soul’s eternal rest.

On behalf of all his friends and colleagues,

Tadashi Matsuda, MD
Past President of the Endourological Society
Professor and Chairman
Department of Urology and Andrology
Kansai Medical University