Past, present, and future research into hepatic stellate cells (HSCs, also called vitamin A-storing cells, lipocytes, interstitial cells, fat-storing cells, or Ito cells) are summarized and discussed in this review. Kupffer discovered black-stained cells in the liver using the gold chloride method and named them stellate cells (Sternzellen in German) in 1876. Wake rediscovered the cells in 1971 using the same gold chloride method and various modern histological techniques including electron microscopy. Between their discovery and rediscovery, HSCs disappeared from the research history. Their identification, the establishment of cell isolation and culture methods, and the development of cellular and molecular biological techniques promoted HSC research after their rediscovery. In mammals, HSCs exist in the space between liver parenchymal cells (PCs) or hepatocytes and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) of the hepatic lobule, and store 50-80% of all vitamin A in the body as retinyl ester in lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. SCs also exist in extrahepatic organs such as pancreas, lung, and kidney. Hepatic (HSCs) and extrahepatic stellate cells (EHSCs) form the stellate cell (SC) system or SC family; the main storage site of vitamin A in the body is HSCs in the liver. In pathological conditions such as liver fibrosis, HSCs lose vitamin A, and synthesize a large amount of extracellular matrix (ECM) components including collagen, proteoglycan, glycosaminoglycan, and adhesive glycoproteins. The morphology of these cells also changes from the star-shaped HSCs to that of fibroblasts or myofibroblasts.