The Japanese Society for Immunology was established in 1971. Half a century later, the 50th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Immunology will be held in December 2021. Today, the world faces an unprecedented crisis of SARS-CoV-2 infections. This meeting will be held in Nara, an ancient capital of Japan. Nara has many temples, some of which were built as a place for prayer for protection from epidemics in ancient times. The subheading of the meeting is “Prayer and Science.” I wish to share a sense of the awe of nature and hopes for science, a human activity, used to understand how nature works.

This meeting adopts a hybrid format: on-site and virtual, to ensure the safety and security of all the speakers and participants. We are working on an online system that enables more researchers to participate easily and is open for interactive discussions between the participants. Meanwhile, we will secure opportunities to interact in person as is conventionally done. We hope that this meeting can provide more opportunities for researchers to interact in varied ways, to enable them to exchange new findings that will lead to new ideas. We are currently working hard to build a prototype for a new, advanced meeting format.

The annual meeting of the Japanese Society for Immunology is the most important meeting for us, with more than 2,000 immunologists from Japan and abroad gathering every year and presenting and discussing the latest research developments at each annual meeting. As one of the events commemorating the 50th anniversary, we are planning to hold a special commemorative symposium by JSI members who have made outstanding achievements over the past 50-year history of immunology. We will also hold front-line international symposia organized by top researchers from Japan and abroad. Particularly at the cutting-edge international symposium on SARS-CoV-2, we will affirm to what degree humankind understands and controls the virus, and define future issues. In addition, we will hold four new international symposia for young investigators as a new attempt. These are open call symposia from young investigators, and are aimed at the training of young immunologists and the sustainable development of society, looking toward the next 50 years, by supporting spontaneous and highly motivated challenges of young investigators and bringing a breath of fresh air into society through that vitalization. Furthermore, we are planning to hold international joint symposia with the Japanese Society of Allergology and the Japan College of Rheumatology. Social demand for immunological research are on the rise under the influence of the pandemic alongside a super-aging society never experienced before by humankind. We are earnestly preparing for the meeting, which will contribute to overcoming intractable diseases and the maintenance of good health based on understanding of the principle of life. I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

President Akira Shibuya
The 50th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Immunology