Eiji Yanagisawa, MD


Date of Passing: February 1, 2024

We regret to inform you of the passing of Dr. Eiji Yanagisawa on February 1, 2024 at the age of 93. Dr. Yanagisawa was inducted as an Active Fellow in 1981 and elevated to Emeritus 2013.

Born in Yokohama, Japan, Dr. Yanagisawa immigrated to the United States in 1956, where he embarked on a remarkable journey led by inspiration and determination. His extraordinary career in otolaryngology had its beginning at the Nihon University School of Medicine in Japan that was followed by a residency under Dr. John A. Kirchner. On a Fulbright Scholarship, he completed a Yale University Otolaryngology residency and graduated in 1959. He began practicing medicine in the Greater New Haven area after a residency in 1960, with the Southern New England Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Group. Retiring at the age of 83 years, with more than 53 years of practicing, he provided positive influencing to a myriad number of patients, physicians, and friends around the globe. Dr. Yanagisawa was an influencer in training and developing more than 100 Yale residents during his fifty-year practice. He was recognized nationally and internationally for his clinical work and clinical research.

When he wasn’t taking care of his patients or training residents, Dr. Yanagisawa cheered as avid lifelong fan of the New York Mets and UConn basketball teams. He also found time in the tranquility and serenity of the Japanese Garden that he designed and built in his backyard in 1973. He was noted for always having his 35mm camera used to capture beautiful nature photographs and fantastic moments and memories, especially those of his water lilies.

Dr. Yanagisawa was active in the professional organizations where he served and was presented numerous honors including the  ABEA’s Chevalier Jackson Award; Presidential Citations from the AOS; ALA (twice) Trio Society, and AAO-HNS. He was selected as the ABEA President, Vice President of the Eastern Section of the Triological Society, President of the New England Otolaryngological Society.  Additional honors included a Lifetime Achievement Awards from AAO-HNS and the Politzer Society. A pioneer of numerous medical techniques and his documentation of disease states and videographic techniques in otolaryngology, he lectured frequently on these subjects, and won numerous awards for teaching videotapes. He authored or coauthored 356 original articles, 80 book chapters, and 4 books, presented 19 scientific exhibits nationally and abroad, and created 77 teaching videotapes.
In 1960, Dr. Yanagisawa married his loving wife, June, who passed away in 2017 after 57 years of marriage. A devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he is survived by his four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dr. Yanagisawa was kind, gentle, and compassionate to every person he interacted with, and served as a masterful mentor and brilliant instructor, teaching the intricacies and nuances of effective medical and surgical care of patients. Due to his excellence in nearly all facets of Otolaryngology, many referred to him as a “Renaissance Man” which is an absolute fitting name.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date to celebrate his amazing life.