After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1974, he studied under Mikio Sato at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Kyoto University. He has made important contributions to mathematical physics, including (independently of Vladimir Drinfeld) the initial development of the study of quantum groups. In 1993 he won the Japan Academy Prize for this work. In 2010 he received the Wigner Medal.
- with Tetsuji Miwa, Etsurō Date: Solitons – differential equations, symmetries and infinite dimensional algebras. Cambridge University Press 2000, ISBN 0-521-56161-2
- with Tetsuji Miwa: Algebraic analysis of solvable lattice models. American Mathematical Society 1993, ISBN 0-8218-0320-4
- Editor: Yang-Baxter Equation in integrable systems. World Scientific 1990, doi:10.1142/1021