What is JAFI?

Message from the founding president of JAFI, Dr. Shuichi Kaminogawa,
Prof. Emeritus of the University of Tokyo

 In 2001, the Food Immunology Research Group was created to investigate the effect of food on the immune function, firstly through an existing literature review of the role of food ingredients on the prevention of infection and allergic reactions, and secondly to establish a method to evaluate the immune function and explore its application. We have spent three years on the literature review and organized lively discussion sessions with researchers at universities, governmental organizations and corporate research institutions. We gathered 12,000 research papers from the prior 10-year period, and 1,300 research papers were selected for detailed evaluation. This convinced us that certain foods have anti-infectious and anti-allergic activities in the human body. Subsequently, the participants in this project established the Japanese Association of Food Immunology (JAFI) with the purpose of extending the investigation and promoting research efforts on the immune regulatory function of food, with nationwide participation.

  Recent progress in immunology is highly involved in the founding of JAFI. Previously it was believed that the regulatory system of our bodies is self-sufficient to maintain homeostasis. It is, however, not clear whether the immune system actively recognizes external signals continuously, and reflect it on the best internal physical regulation. Food is representative of external signals that affect our lives. It is our mission to explore this action of food on the immune system, and to apply the results on maintaining our health.

  The field of food immunology covers wide and interdisciplinary subjects from basic research to application technology. I believe this research area is indispensable for betterment of the world. Our mission demands unyielding endeavor, but I already see the leadership of a young generation actively involved in the cause. I am very much encouraged by this new force, and hopeful for the development of Food Immunology.

April 1, 2014
Shuichi Kaminogawa