Class of 1952
Internal Medicine

Kouichi R. Tanaka, M.D. ’52, is an internationally recognized hematologist on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center faculty.  

After receiving his bachelor’s and medical degree from Wayne State University, Dr. Tanaka completed an internship at Los Angeles County General Hospital, fellowships in pathology and in hematology, and medical residency at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

He began his academic career at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1957, then joined the faculty at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1961 as chief of the Division of Hematology.  He also served as associate chair and acting chair of the Department of Medicine, director of the Hematology Research Laboratory, and helped train more than 450 internal medicine physicians.

Dr. Tanaka has written approximately 300 research publications and has made important contributions in the study of erythrocyte metabolism.  He defined pyruvate kinase deficiency hemolytic anemia.
In April 1998, Dr. Tanaka was awarded mastership (first Nisei) in the American College of Physicians.  He was named professor emeritus of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1999.

Among his many honors, Dr. Tanaka received the WSU School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award in 1981, the Sherman M. Mellinkoff Faculty Award of  the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1986, the 1999 UCLA Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, and was named an LA BioMed Legend in 2004. The Kouichi R. Tanaka, M.D. Endowed Chair of Medicine was established
in the Department of Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 2015.