Masatoshi Watanabe graduated from the Kyoto College of Foreign Languages in 1955. He achieved qualification as Forestry Specialist by the Forestry Agency of the Japan Government ten years later and in 1986 received a Doctorate degree from National Kyushu University. His thesis title, “Basic studies on the management of bamboo forests based on ecological characteristics.” His central interest and specialty focus became bamboo forest ecology, silviculture and management. Watanabe served as a technical official at Kyoto University from 1953-1991, and was the loyal assistant of Dr. Koichiro Ueda for 38 years. The World Bamboo Organization honored Dr. Ueda as the first Bamboo Pioneer at the 8th World Bamboo Congress, Bangkok in 2009, and subsequently honors Dr. Watanabe at this 9th WBC with the Ueda Lecture.
Since retiring from Kyoto University in 1991 to the present, Dr. Watanabe continues working as a specialist in the Japan Bamboo Society, as well as a specialist for the Rakusai Bamboo Park in Kyoto, lecturer for the Japanese government Forestry Agency, and since 2005 serves as Secretary General to the Japan Bamboo Association.
His international career included several fascinating opportunities. From 1970 – 1972, he was dispatched by the Japanese government to Thailand for technical cooperation as a bamboo expert, to Indonesia as a forestry expert in 1994 and 1995, to Chile as bamboo expert in 1996, and back again to Indonesia in 1997 as a bamboo expert. In November of 1992, Watanabe hosted a group of visitors from the American and European bamboo societies during the Third International Bamboo Congress. He generously guided and eagerly toured with this intrepid group of foreigners, crossing the bamboo bridge in friendship and spirit. He has continuously crossed over that bamboo bridge as researcher and scientist, participating as a speaker in the 7th World Bamboo Congress in Delhi, India in 2004 and attended the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok in 2009.
He has been a prolific writer, and has authored more than 150 papers. Those published in English, include: Masatoshi, WATANABE & Prasarn BARMNGRASD：On the research works of bamboo forest in Thailand. 3rd Nat. Forestry Conf., Thailand 1970
Masatoshi WATANABE：Report of technical service and research work on silviculture and management of bamboo forest in Thailand. Overseas Tech. Coop. Agency, Tokyo. 96pp. 1970
Masatoshi WATANABE & Seiichi OOHATA：Studies on bamboo culm form (1). On Phyllostachys bambusoudes Seib.et Zucc., J. Japan For. Soc., Vol. 62(1)：9～16, 1980
Masatoshi WATANABE & Hajime HAMADA：How long is the flowering interval of bamboo? Bamboo Production & Utilization：77～83, Proc. 17th IUFRO World Cong. in Kyoto, 1981
Masatoshi WATANABE, Koichiro UEDA, Ippei MANABE & Tatsuo AKAI：Flowering, seedling, germination, and flowering periodicity of Phyllostachys pubescens. J. Japan For. Soc., Vol.64(3)107～111, 1982
Masatoshi WATANABE：On the productivity of Phyllostachys bambusoides in recovering from flowering. J. Japan For. Soc., Vol.65(3)：89～93, 1983
Takashige AOKI & Masatoshi WATANABE：Studies on the organization of Phyllostachys bambusoides stands. Bamboo Prod. & Utili., Proc. P.5.04, 18th IUFRO World Cong., Yugoslavia：37 ～41, 1986
Masatoshi WATANABE：A proposal on the life form of bamboos and ecological typification of bamboo forests. Bamboo Prod. & Utili., Proc. P.5.04, 18th IUFRO World Cong., Yugoslavia：37～41, 1986
Masatoshi WATANABE：Distribution of bamboos in the world. Bamboo Journal No.4：225～233, 1987
Masatoshi WATANABE, Masaharu INOUE & Tadao TAKANO：Discussion on the prediction of culm height in Phyllostachys bambusoides bamboos. Bamboo Journal No.7：27～38, 1990
Masatoshi WATANABE & Takashige AOKI：Ecological characteristics of Phyllostachys bambusoides stands. Abstracts of Vth INTECOL：491, 1990
Masatoshi WATANABE & Takashige AOKI：Some productive aspects of Phyllostachys bambusoides stands. Bamboo Journal No. 8：1～8, 1990
Masatoshi WATANABE：Present status of bamboo industry in Japan. Bamboo Journal No.9：58～68, 1991
Masatoshi WATANABE：On the management of bamboo stands, with special reference to Japanese research. Constraints to production of bamboo and rattan, with special reference to planting materials and management of natural stands. Report of a consultation held 9～13 May 1994, Bangalore, India：175～191, INBAR, 1994
Masatoshi WATANABE：Recent bamboo industry and research in Japan. International Workshop on Bamboo Research, 24～26 June 1994, Chu-Tou Forest Rec. Area, Exp. For. Nat. Taiwan Univ., Taiwan
Masatoshi WATANABE：Report of forest tending on after-care program for the trial plantation project in Benakat, South Sumatra. 43pp. Submitted to Indonesia Government, 1994
Masatoshi WATANABE, Agus Setyono, Dharmawan Pathi & Sairun：Final Reoprt, Forest tending on after-care program for the trial plantation project in Benakat, South Sumatra. 66pp. Submitted to Indonesia Government, 1995
Masatoshi WATANABE, Claudio Zunino Aviles, Carlos Kahler G. & Carmen Gloria Quezada C.：Report on breeding control of Quila. 94pp., submitted to JICA & INFIR, 1996
Masatoshi WATANABE, Claudio Zunino Aviles, Carlos Kahler G. & Carmen Gloria Quezada C.： Ecological characteristics of Chusquea quila Kunth from central-south Chile. Bamboo Journal No.14：1～14, 1997
Masatoshi WATANABE：Report, Bamboo resources development program in Indonesia. Submitted to Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia. , 1997
Masatoshi WATANABE：On the above-ground biomass of four bamboo forests in Indonesia. Bamboo Journal No.16：22～32, 1999
We welcome him here today in Belgium for the 9th World Bamboo Congress as he presents the WBO Ueda Lecture, and honor him proudly as a recipient of the WBO Bamboo Pioneer Award.