Updated Dec. 11, 2013
A brief history of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine: The 50th anniversary in 2013.
Shin-Ichi Izumi, MD, PhD
Professor & Chair, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine Deputy Chairperson of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine
History and demographic data of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine
In 2013, the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (JARM, http://www.jarm.or.jp/english/) celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The concept of rehabilitation medicine in Japan dates back to 1920's. In this era, rehabilitation primarily focused on crippled children. In 1963, the JARM was established. A brief history and successive leaders of the JARM are shown in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. The JARM is accredited as one of the 95 member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences, being listed as one of the 19 societies that have a specialty board, and has been certified as a public interest incorporated association by the Japanese Government since 2012.
The population of Japan is 128 million. Among them, the aged population, which is defined as 65 years and over, now stands more than 22%. We have 225 physicians per 100,000 inhabitants. In April, 2013 the number of members of the JARM was 9,818. Among them, 1,942 are Board-Certified Physiatrists, and 3,429 are Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Requirements for Board-Certified Physiatrists include five years of training after graduation, with a three-year residency in Rehabilitation Medicine, and satisfactory completion of written and oral examinations. Renewing certification is required 5 years after the last registration. Requirements for Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine include five years of training after graduation, with a one-year residency in Rehabilitation Medicine and satisfactory completion of a written examination. Renewing certification is required 5 years after the last registration.
A Certified Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine is defined as a hospital where training curriculums are in place under the guidance of Certified Physiatrists. In 2013, the number of certified institutes was 539.
Postgraduate training in rehabilitation medicine in Japan 
We started the certification system of rehabilitation medicine in 1980. In 1987 the JARM started another certification system following a national global system of certifying specialties in Japan. These two groups of specialties were called: Board-Certified Members of Physiatrists and Board Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine. Table 3 shows the numbers of Board-Certified Members of Physiatrists, Board-Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine, and certified institutes from 1981 through 2013.
In 2003 we unified the two boards into a new organization: Board-Certified Physiatrists so as to fulfill the criteria for a specialty license certified by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The former Board-Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine were preserved as a certification system of the JARM for doctors, including those who have been practicing rehabilitation medicine in certain medical fields: orthopedics, neurology, neurosurgery, pediatrics, etc.
The Guideline for Postgraduate Training of Rehabilitation Medicine was created in 1982, and revised in 1993 (Table 4). Then, in 2003 the Fundamental Principles for Education of Rehabilitation Medicine (Table 5) with the Curriculum indicating specific objectives were determined.
Residency training programs at certified institutes and education courses sponsored by the JARM follow the Guidelines (1982, 1993) or the Fundamental Principles for Education of Rehabilitation Medicine (2003), including diagnosis and treatment of dismobility, interdisciplinary interventions, and legislative issues.
Training in the 1st and 2nd postgraduate year (PGY) includes reading authorized textbooks and practice of emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, urological examinations, etc. In the 3rd and 4th PGY, we practice rehabilitation medicine for specific disorders, such as stroke, amputation, cerebral palsy, dysphagia, and spasticity.
Electrodiagnosis is an essential skill for Japanese physiatrists. In the 5th and 6th PGY, research works as well as management of interdisciplinary intervention are encouraged. Many physiatrists also apply for international fellowships.
With 50 years of experience, especially IRMA VIII in 1997 in Kyoto, and the New Millennium Asian Symposium on Rehabilitation Medicine in 2001 in Tokyo, the JARM is aware of the importance of international collaboration, and is committed to a number of activities held by ISPRM.
Izumi S: Postgraduate training and certification of physiatrists (rehabilitation physicians) in Japan. Jpn J Rehabil Med 2005;42:199-204.
Table 1. History of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine.
|1963||Establishment of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (JARM)|
|1964||Jpn J Rehabil Med, Vol 1
The 1st Annual Meeting of the JARM
|1968||Member Society of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences|
|1980||Establishment of Japanese Board of Rehabilitation Medicine|
|1987||International Rehabilitation Medicine Association (IRMA) VIII in Kyoto|
|2001||New Millennium Asian Symposium in Tokyo|
|2003||New certification/education system of the JARM|
|2012||Public interest incorporated association|
Table 2. Leaders of the JARM
|No.||Name (last, first)||Year||Remarks|
|24||UEDA Satoshi||1986-1987||The Sidney Licht Lectureship Award (2001)|
|30||CHINO Naoichi||1998-2004||The Herman J. Flax Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)|
Table 3. Numbers of Board-Certified Members of Physiatrists, Board-Certified Members of Rehabilitation Medicine, and certified institutes.
|Certified Members of
Table 4. Educational Guideline-1993
|II||Spinal cord injury, etc.|
|III||Cerebral palsy, etc.|
|V||Bone and joint diseases|
|X||Malignancy, burn, etc.|
Table 5. Fundamental principles for education of physical medicine and rehabilitation
|1||Structure and function related to human activities|
|2||Diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting human activities|
|3||Evaluation of structure and function, activities, participation, and personal and environmental factors|
|4||Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy|
|5||Orthotics and prosthetics|
|6||Rehabilitation of specific disorders|