Professor Koichi Masubuchi, Leading Expert in Welding Science and Fabrication Technology, Passes Away at 92.

Work helped to progress the understanding of welding in marine and aerospace structures.

Dr. Koichi Masubuchi, Professor Emeritus of Ocean Engineering, passed away on April 1, 2016, at the age of 92 years old, in Concord, Mass.

Professor Masubuchi was a leading expert in welding science and fabrication technology whose work helped to progress the understanding of welding and the important role it plays in marine and aerospace structures.

Born in Otaru, Japan, in 1924, Professor Masubuchi served in the Japanese Navy during WWII as a ship fitter in a naval shipyard. He earned a bachelors degree and a master’s degree from the University of Tokyo, both in naval architecture, and received a PhD in engineering from Tokyo University. He worked for five years as the Chief of Design and Fabrication in the welding division of the Transportation Technical Research Institute in Tokyo before taking leave to serve in several different positions at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio until 1962. In 1963, he moved back to Ohio to serve at Battelle Memorial Institute once again until 1968, when he started as an Associate Professor of Naval Architecture at MIT.  In 1971, he was promoted to Professor in the Department of Ocean Engineering, which later became the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He retired from MIT in 2001.


Professor Masubuchi was interested in welding from a young age and spent most of his career at Batelle and MIT dedicated to progressing the science and engineering of welding fabrication. He spent his first 10 years at MIT focused on solving welding problems NASA was having with its Apollo project. During his 50 years conducting research on welding technology, Professor Masubuchi authored or co-authored more than 220 papers and supervised more than 130 theses. His main areas of expertise were in the heat flow, residual stresses, and distortion in weldments; the fracture of welded structures; and the welding technologies for underwater and space applications.

Professor Masubuchi served as president of the Japanese Association of Greater Boston from 1972 until 1981, and he started the Japanese Language School in 1975. He was a fellow of the American Welding Society and received the Order of Sacred Treasure Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan for advancing welding technology and promoting friendship between Japan and the United States.

Professor Masubuchi was also a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, ASME, ASM International, the Marine Technology Society, the Society of Experimental Stress Analysis, and the Society of Naval Architects of Japan.

Professor Masubuchi’s funeral service is taking place this Thursday, April 7, 2016, at Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service at 27 Bedford St., Concord, MA 01742. Visiting hours are from 10am-12pm, and the funeral service begins at 12pm at the Farrar Chapel of the Dee Funeral Home. The burial service will commence at 12:45pm at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at 34 Bedford St. in Concord. A refreshment reception will follow at 1:30pm at the Colonial Inn at 48 Monument Square in Concord, ending at 4pm.

If you would like to make a donation in Professor Masubuchi’s memory, please send to the Masubuchi Fund c/o Japanese Language School of Greater Boston at 792 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 02476. The fund was established to support the Japanese Language School of Greater Boston in honor of Dr. Masubuchi.