Dr. Kitagawa is a surgical oncologist and clinical and translational researcher, mainly in the areas of gastrointestinal cancers. He is a chair of Japan Esophageal Oncology Group and working as a principal investigator for several important nation-wide clinical studies including sentinel node mapping for gastric cancer and multimodal treatment for esophageal cancer. He is an Editor in Chief of the official journal of Japan Gastric Cancer Association and International Gastric Cancer Association, "Gastric Cancer" and an Associate Editor of the official journal of ISDE, "Diseases of the Esophagus".
Currently professor Kitagawa is working as a member of Executive Council of various important societies such as International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus (ISDE), Japan Surgical Society, Japanese Society of Clinical Oncology, Japan Esophageal Society and Japan Society for Lymphology. He is also serving as a chairman of Japan chapter of International Society of Surgery (ISS) / Société Internationale de Chirurgie (SIC).