The Yumio SAKURAI Collection

*We are proceeding to put the books in order, and are preparing the release.

Yumio SAKURAI (桜井由躬雄1945-2012) was a prominent scholar of history and area studies and a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Letters. His collection consists of an estimated 1000 Vietnamese books and 50 books in Western languages.

Most of the books concern Vietnamese history, geography and, politics. The main focus of Yumio SAKURAI’s research was as listed below.

(1) The development of jointly owned rice fields in rural areas of the northern Red River Delta.
Sakurai’s research was mainly based on historical sources in classical Chinese and analyzed based on historiographical methodology.

(2) The History of the reclamation of the Red River Delta.

(3) Rural villages in the Red River Delta. Sakurai’s work concerning this topic was mainly based on fieldwork conducted in Bach Coc village.

(4) Inquiries into the history of Hanoi based on epigraphs collected by Sakurai.

The contents of the collection reflect Sakurai’s research interests. His collection of works on rural villages in the northern Red River Delta and the history of Hanoi is the largest in Japan. Furthermore, Sakurai obtained many books during his stay in Vietnam as a researcher of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1985 to 1987. These holdings are noteworthy, as the availability of publications predating the beginning of the Doi Moi reform period is very limited. The materials included in the collection are valuable in tracing the construction of socialism and changes in historical consciousness in Vietnam.

Further, the collection has the following additional core holdings.

(1) Works in classical Chinese and Chu Nom (字喃), mainly facsimiles published in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

(2) Chorographical books and provincial statistical documents published in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. These materials were comprehensively collected and also cover areas outside the Red River Delta. They constitute an indispensable source of information for area studies.

(3) National statistical documents concerning agriculture and standards of living in rural villages. Most of these materials are hard to acquire in Japan since they have a limited circulation

For Sakurai’s biography and publications, see Hitotsu no Taiyō: Ōruweizu (A Sun: Always) (Mekon, 2013).

Some of Sakurai’s own publications of particular relevance for the present collection are as follows.

・ Betonamu sonraku no keisei (The Formation of the Vietnamese Village) (Sōbunsha, 1987).

・ Hanoi no Yūutsu (Melancholy in Hanoi) (Mekon, 1989).

・ “Betonamu shokyū gassakusha no keisei: Kōga deruta ichi shōson Bach Coc no ōraru hisutorī, 1959–1962” (The Low Level Agricultural Cooperative in Bach Coc Village, Vietnam: An Oral History of a Village in the Red River Delta, 1959-1962), in Shigaku zasshi 115 (12) (2006).