Dr. Masaya Sato pioneered behavior analysis research in Japan and was the long-term leader of the Japanese Association for Behavior Analysis. He also made major contributions in disseminating behavior analysis around the world as the first president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International from outside the United States. In 1953, Dr. Sato entered the Psychology Department of Keio University in Tokyo, where he received a B. A. and M. A. degree in psychology. He finished his doctoral program in 1962, but received the Ph.D. from Keio University in 1976; the Japanese tradition in those days was to award a Ph.D. for a lifetime of contributions—a situation now changed. He began work as an assistant in Keio University, and then, through 1998, he engaged in research and education in Keio University advancing from lecturer to the rank of professor. During his lifetime, he wrote many books, chapters, and articles, mostly written in Japanese although they referred to many important articles in English. His writings explored various areas of behavior analysis within both experimental and conceptual analyses of behavior, including such topics as imprinting, sympathy and imitation, behavior and awareness, verbal conditioning, memory, observational learning, quarreling, lying, and laughing.
Masaya Sato's life was ended prematurely and tragically by a terrible accident on the night of August 23, 2010. As he was waiting at a station platform for a train he was pushed forward from behind and died after falling between the train and the platform.