Shigeru Yonezawa

Shigeru Yonezawa
Shigeru Yonezawa
Toyama Prefecture, Japan
Death date
Associated organizations
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Public Corporation
Fields of study
IEEE Founders Medal


Shigeru Yonezawa was born in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, on February 1, 1911. He graduated in 1933 from Tokyo Imperial University (today's University of Tokyo), where he majored in electrical engineering. Dr. Yonezawa joined the Ministry of Communications and also continued to work toward a doctorate at Tokyo Imperial University. He received the Ph.D. degree in 1942 for his dissertation titled "A Study of Multiplex Carrier Telephone Systems by VHF Radio."

Dr. Yonezawa was a pioneer in the development and application of VHF multi-channel telephone systems. His research provided the technical basis for the establishment in 1940 of probably the world's first long-distance 75 MHz 6-channel VHF circuits, and later supplied the foundation for the development of microwave transmission systems in Japan.

After joining Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Public Corporation (NTT) upon its establishment in 1952, Dr. Yonezawa successfully held a series of key positions. He served three four-year terms as president of NTT from 1965 to 1977, when he retired. Dr. Yonezawa made many important contributions to the development of the telecommunications field in Japan during his 44-year career, both as a researcher and as a high-ranking administrator. Under his leadership, Japan's telecommunications network was fully modernized, improved and expanded, and NTT acquired a significant capability to develop its own advanced technologies. Dr. Yonezawa's efforts to assist in the establishment and work of King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in Thailand were acknowledged when that institution awarded him an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1979.

Shigeru Yonezawa wrote several books, among them VHF Multi-channel Telephone Systems (1943) and Technical Innovation and Telecommunications (1970); published a number of papers; and lectured at Waseda University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the University of Tokyo. In 1960 he was elected for a term as president of the Institute of Electrical Communication Engineers of Japan. He became a Fellow of the IEEE in 1969.

Dr. Yonezawa was awarded the 1982 IEEE Founders Medal "For technical contributions in the development of VHF multichannel telephone systems, and for leadership in promoting international cooperation between developing and industrialized nations in telecommunications technologies."

Dr. Yonezawa and his wife, Tokuko, had two sons. Dr. Yonezawa enjoyed traveling and listening to classical music. He had a deep interest in Buddhist thought. Dr. Yonezawa passed away on 2 May 1999.