Remembering Itojun

Remembering Itojun: The IPv6 Samurai

by Bob Hinden, Nokia

"Itojun" (Dr. Junichiro Hagino) passed away on October 29, 2007. He was 37 years old. Memorial events were held in Tokyo in November and in Vancouver at the IETF meeting in December.

Itojun was an active participant in the IETF and a member of the IAB from 2003 to 2005. He worked as a Senior Researcher at the Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) and was a member of the board of the Widely Integrated Distributed Environment (WIDE) project. He was a strong supporter of open standards development and open software, working as a core researcher at the KAME project, a joint effort of six companies in Japan to provide a free stack of IPv6, IPsec, and Mobile IPv6 for BSD variants, from 1998 to 2006.

Itojun was totally dedicated to the development and deployment of IPv6. Most of his work was centered around building a much larger worldwide Internet based on IPv6. He was simply the "IPv6 Samurai."

Photographer: Diane Bruce

Quotes from Internet Colleagues

Steve Deering: "Those of us who got to know Itojun through his work in the Internet Engineering Task Force have lost a dear friend and much-admired colleague. From the day he arrived at his first IETF meeting, he won the respect of all in the way most honored by Internet engineers: by helping to build consensus based on running code. Moreover, he provided the best possible example of collaboration, generosity, and leadership, making not only extraordinary technological contributions but also many friends and a better world. His untimely passing is a huge loss to all who knew him, and to all those who will never have that chance."

Randy Bush: "An open heart, a big soul, and very kind and patient. A very special person. He wrote a lot of great code and got great joy from doing so."

Marc Blanchet: "Itojun adopted the Samurai's philosophy in his life: Bushido, which consists of values such as Honesty, Justice, Courtesy, Heroic Courage, Honor, Compassion, Sincerity, Duty, and Loyalty. Very difficult to achieve, he encompassed all these. Moreover, he was always available to help, anyone, without judging. His intelligence, his competency, and his dedication has inspired a generation of network engineers for the project he took as a mission: IPv6. Many computers in the world now run his code. My family always enjoyed meeting Itojun. He was always interested in sharing his knowledge with my children, even with the French-to-Japanese-through-English language barrier. Itojun, it was an honor to know you and to meet you. You will always be a source of inspiration to me, to my family, and to many network engineers in the world. We miss you."

Rod Van Meter: "I didn't know Itojun very well; I met him for the first time about five years ago at an IPv6 meeting in the Silicon Valley, once or twice in between, and then spent three days at the WIDE Camp this past September co-supervising (with Bill Manning, Brad Huffaker, and Kenji Saito) a group of students trying to establish long-term goals for WIDE in the area of naming. Itojun was gentle but insistent with students, a good mentor. That was the last time I saw him. Go in peace, Itojun."

Joel Jaeggli: "He cared more for the people who were going to use the code and the product of his and our labor than anyone would have had a right to expect. The Itojun that I know, our friend, has been taken from us, but we'll be the beneficiary of the fact that he cared, for decades."

Itojun IPv6 Fund

Itojun's family has expressed sincere appreciation to all who attended the memorial and funeral services. His family has set up a memorial fund in Itojun's name under the directorship of the IETF/Internet Society. The fund will be used to award an R&D grant to a person who has contributed to the deployment and further advancement of IPv6. ISOC has set up an e-mail address to accept commitments for the Itojun IPv6 Fund. The address is:

The procedure for making contributions is being developed; if you wish to contribute now, please send a note to the e-mail address describing the amount you want to contribute (and in what currency), and ISOC will collect the funds.

ROBERT HINDEN is a Nokia Fellow at Nokia and is located in Mountain View, California, USA. He has been involved in the Internet since it was a research project at ARPA. He developed one of the first TCP/IP implementations and his team at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc. built and operated the routers that formed the early Internet backbone. He was co-recipient of the 2008 IEEE Internet Award "For pioneering work in the development of the first Internet routers." He has been active in the IETF since 1985 and is the author of 35 RFCs. He was recently appointed to a position on the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) and co-chairs the IPv6 Maintenance (6man) working group. Prior to this he served on the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), was Area Director for Routing in the Internet Engineering Steering group from 1987 to 1994, and chaired the IPv6, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, Simple Internet Protocol Plus, IP over ATM, and Open Routing working groups. Hinden is also a member of the RFC Editorial Board. He holds a B.S.E.E. and a M.S. in Computer Science from Union College, Schenectady, New York. E-mail: