Adventist Medical Center (Okinawa Medical Center)

By Tadashi Ino


Tadashi Ino, Ph.D., was born in Tokyo, Japan. After working for a company as an engineer, he became a pastor and also served as a teacher and a chaplain. Currently, he works as a translator in the office of the Japan Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The title of his doctoral dissertation is “Paul’s Use of Canonical and Noncanonical Wisdom Literature in Romans and the Corinthian Letters.”

First Published: April 13, 2022

The Adventist Medical Center (Okinawa Medical Center) is a 48-bed medical institution at Nishihara, Okinawa, owned and operated by the Japan Union Conference.


The medical center is the outgrowth of a small clinic opened at Shuri on November 17, 1953, with Dr. Norman Everett; Ms. Toshiko Ishikawa, an Okinawan nurse who served as the first director of nurses; and two workers, Ms. Kimiko Momohara and Mrs. Kazuko Arakawa. The church representative of this institution was Elder E. E. Jensen, who was the Okinawa Mission president.

In June 1956 Dr. George M. Tolhurst became the first medical director. On March 1, 1959, the clinic became the outpatient section of a new, modern hospital named the Adventist Medical Center, built on the outskirts of the capital city of Naha. In May 1960 Norma Eldridge, R.N., became the director of nurses. In January 1965 Mr. Arata Emoto became the first business manager. In April of the same year Mrs. Sumiko Tsukayama became the first chaplain.

In February 1966, with the leadership of Ms. Toshiko Ishikawa, a mothers’ class was begun in Okinawa.

As a unique method of evangelism by the Adventist Medical Center staff, free medical service was offered to people living on isolated islands. This started in August 1955 in Kudaka Island and then was extended to Ikei Island, Tsuken Island, Kume Island, and other places.

A dental department was added in September 1968.

In 1974 the Adventist Medical Center was the first hospital in Okinawa which promoted smoking cessation for health, and the first workshop was held in November 1974 in Tomigusuku. This program continues today and is mainly focused on teenagers. There is an outpatient clinic also.

In December 1984 a newly constructed Adventist Medical Center was transferred to the hilltop at Nishihara, Naha. In May 1996 an Adventist dental office was opened in Oroku, Naha. In November 2002 the medical center built an annex for hospice service. In the same year the dental office was transferred to Nishihara, Nara.

In May 2007 a wellness center was opened. In 2009 the service of laser hair removal started.

In August 2011 the hospice was renovated and moved and the number of beds rose to 26.

In April 2016 a family practice specialty was opened, and the clinical training program for dental hygienists started. In October of the same year, the convention of AHCA was held, with participants from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, and Japan. A Life-Style Class was opened in January 2017.

The hospital has medical, dermatological, surgical, pediatrics, gynecological, hospice, dental, continence, cessation of smoking, lifestyle, and family practice specialties, with a staff of 139. The hospital cares for 24 inpatients daily and 4,800 outpatients monthly.

Medical Directors

George M. Tolhurst (1960-1961), Ralph F. Meinhardt (1961-1963), Evert E. Kuester (1963-1968), James R. Wood (1968-1985), James Sakae Miyashiro (1985-1995), Darrell L. Vaughan (1995-2000), Yasutsugu Yanami (2001-2001), Darrell L. Vaughan (2001-2002), Yasutsugu Yanami (2002-2004), Norris Matsumoto (2005-2007), Darrell L. Vaughan (2008-2011), Norris Matsumoto (2012-present).


“Enkaku (History)” in the home page of Adventist Medical Center.

Kajiyama, Tsumoru. Shimeini Moete: Nihon Sebunsudeadobenchisuto Kyoukaishi (The History of Japanese Seventh-day Adventist Church). Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan: Fukuinsha, 1982.

Machida, Hidesaburou. “Nihon no Adobenchisuto Kyoukai niokeru Kikan no Yakuwari to sono Rekishi ○6: 2 Ijidendou no Hataraki.” Adobenchisuto Raifu 101, no. 9 (September 2015): 18-21.

The 25th Anniversary Issue of Adventist Medical Center. Edited by Adventist Medical Center 25 Shunen Kinenshi Henshu Iinkai, October 31, 1978.


Ino, Tadashi. "Adventist Medical Center (Okinawa Medical Center)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 13, 2022. Accessed March 01, 2024.

Ino, Tadashi. "Adventist Medical Center (Okinawa Medical Center)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 13, 2022. Date of access March 01, 2024,

Ino, Tadashi (2022, April 13). Adventist Medical Center (Okinawa Medical Center). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved March 01, 2024,