Umami Information Center


Memorial Session was dedicated to Dr. Kunio Torii.

November 2023

On November 25 and 26, 2023, the 20th International Symposium on Molecular and Neural Mechanisms of Taste and Olfactory Perception* was held at Okayama University. At the beginning of the symposium, a memorial session was dedicated to Dr. Kunio Torii, who passed away last spring. The researchers who took the stage praised Dr. Torii's achievements.
The symposium was organized by the Japanese Association for the Study of Taste and Smell (JASTS) . 

Dr. Torii was an honorary fellow of JASTS and a distinguished researcher who made great contributions to the study of umami. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, he spent his entire career researching umami at research institutes in Japan and abroad. He dedicated himself to spreading the benefits of umami substances globally on an evidence basis, and worked to improve the nutritional physiological value of umami substances.

The Umami Information Center (UIC) has had a long relationship with Dr. Torii, and many of the UIC board members were also his research colleagues. 
In the memorial session Dr. Takashi Yamamoto, the chairman of UIC, Dr. Hisayuki Uneyama, a UIC Director, and Dr. Ana San Gabriel, a UIC member and an academic advisor, were invited by JASTS to speak at the memorial session. 

Dr. Takashi Yamamoto, the chairman of UIC:
Lecture Title: L-ornithine and GPRC6A may be a novel kokumi substance and a kokumi receptor
He recalled his first encounter with Dr. Torii and reviewed his research impact on the behavioral science of eating . And he introduced the latest studies on kokumi substances, a new taste quality that has evolved from the study of umami.

Dr. Hisayuki Uneyama:
Lecture Title: Gut Umami Sensing Hypothesis: A Short History and Perspectives
He explained the story of how Dr. Torii's theory of "Gut Umami Sensing Hypothesis" came into being, which attempts to explain preference of umami from the reward system (the mesocorticolimbic circuit) of nerve network in the brain, tongue, and digestive tract.

Dr. Ana Sangabriel:
Lecture Title: Umami: the long journey of the 5th basic taste
She explained the molecular mechanistic basis behind Dr. Torii's theory of "Gut Umami Sensing Hypothesis," including the discovery of umami receptors in the digestive tract. She also described the subsequent developments in the studies of taste receptors and praised that his point of view was outstanding.

The official website of the memorial session in the 20th International Symposium on Molecular and Neural Mechanisms of Taste and Olfactory Perception.

The Profile of Dr. Kunio Torii;
Dr. Kunio Torii graduated Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo.
His publications include "The Forefront of Amino Acid Science" (CMC Publishing Co., Ltd.) and " Futoru nou to Yaseru nou (Your Brain Can Make You Fat or Slim)" (Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.), etc.
Please accept our deepest condolences.