Akira SUEHIRO Collection

This collection presents materials collected and donated by Professor Emeritus Akira SUEHIRO, who retired from the Institute of Social Science of the University of Tokyo in March 2016. The donation was accepted by the research division of the Uehiro Project for the Asian Research Library (U-PARL) of the University of Tokyo Library System. The collection, which in total incorporates 2,233 items (including 1,596 books in foreign languages, 14 books in Japanese, and 623 journals), is mainly comprised of books and journals in the Thai language on the economy, society, and political history of Thailand that were collected in the 1970s through the 2000s. Prof. Suehiro is one of the foremost academic experts in Japan on Asian economies. His substantial achievements in elucidating the industrialization process in Asia and the realities of Asian economies solidly based on detailed firsthand fieldwork made a great contribution to Asian studies in Japan. Comprising books and journals collected by Prof. Suehiro during fieldwork, the collection presents Japan’s largest corpus of source materials in Thai for studies on the economy of Southeast Asia.

Suehiro was born in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, in 1951. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Tokyo in 1974 and received an M.A. in applied economics from the Graduate School of Economics of the same university in 1976. After that, he took on a position at the Department of Area Studies of the Institute of Developing Economies (Ajiken) and became engrossed in research of Asian economies with Thailand as the center of his studies. During his work at the Institute, from April 1981 through September 1983, he was engaged in field and document research on local industries and companies as well as survey of factories in Thailand as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute (CUSRI). For details on the research activities as a Visiting Research Fellow, see Akira SUEHIRO “Chiiki kenkyu no keikensok: Tai kigyo kenkyu kara mananda koto [Good Rule of Thumb on Area Studies: What I Learned from Research on Thai companies]” (in Kazuo KOIKE and Haruo HORAGUCHI (eds.), Keizaigaku no firudo risachi [Field Research of Business Administration], Nihon Keizai Shinbun-sha, 2005. Pp. 197-246). The Akira SUEHIRO Collection consists of publications collected during that period and of those obtained during his later visits to Thailand. 

From 1987 onward, Suehiro taught the Theory of Development Economics and Asian Economies as an Associate Professor at the Institute for Economic Research of Osaka City University. In March 1991, he received a Ph.D. in economics from the Graduate School of Economics of the University of Tokyo with the theme “Capital Accumulation in Thailand 1855-1985.” From 1992, Suehiro taught Asian Economy and Society at the Institute of Social Science of the University of Tokyo where he successively held the positions of Associate Professor in 1992 to 1995 and Professor in 1995 to 2016 and occupied the position of Director in 2009 to 2012. In 2016, Suehiro was invited to Gakushuin University to serve as a first dean of new faculty, namely, Faculty of International Social Sciences. He has taught such courses as Introduction to the Asian Economy, Politics and Economy of Southeast Asia, and Area Studies Methods until March of 2021. Besides that, he served as the President of the Japan Association for Asian Studies (JAAS: 2003 to 2005) and as the President of The Japanese Society for Thai Studies (2008 to 2011), and greatly contributed to strengthening the organization of Asian studies and nurturing young researchers in Japanese academia. 

He was awarded the Daido Life Foundation Incentive Award for Area Studies (mainly for his research on Thailand) in 2005, the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government (for research on Southeast Asia, particularly on Thailand), and the Fukuoka Academic Prize in 2018. Listed below are Prof. Suehiro’s major publications and awards. 

 “Taikei kigyo shudan no shihon chikuseki kozo: Seizogyo gurupu o chushin to shite [Capital Accumulation of Thai Business Groups: Focusing on Manufacturing Groups]”, Ajia keizai [Monthly Journal of Institute of Developing Economies] 25(10), 1984. (Won the 6th Award for the Promotion of Studies on Developing Countries from the Institute of Developing Economies.)
● Tai no kogyoka: NAIC he no chosen [Industrialization in Thailand: The challenge to NAIC], Institute of Developing Economies, 1987.
● Capital Accumulation in Thailand, 1855–1985, Tokyo: UNESCO The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies, 1989. (Won the 6th Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Award and the 33rd Nikkei Prize for Excellent Books in Economic Science.)
● Tai no zaibatsu: Fuamiri bijinesu to keiei kaikaku [Zaibatsu in Thailand: Family business and management reforms] (coauthor), Dobunkan Shuppan, 1991.
● Tai: Kaihatsu to minshu shugi [Thailand: Development and Democracy], Iwanami Shoten, 1993.
● Kyatchi-appu gata kogyoka ron: Ajia keizai no kiseki to tenbo [Catch-up Industrialization: The Trajectory and Prospects of Asian Economies], Nagoya University Press, 2000. (Won the 13th Grand Prize at the Asia-Pacific Award sponsored by the Asian Affairs Research Council and Mainichi Newspapers.)
● ‘Kaihatsu’ no jidai to ‘mosaku’ no jidai [The Era of Development and the Era of Alternative](Iwanami kouza tonan ajia shi 9 [The Iwanami History of Southeast Asia 9]), Iwanami Shoten, 2002.
● Fuamiri bijinesu no toppu manejimento: Ajia to raten amerika ni okeru kigyo keiei [Top Management of Family Businesses: Corporate Management in Asia and Latin America](coeditor, coauthor with Ms. Taeko HOSHINO)Iwanami Shoten, 2006. (Won the 1st Best Academic Book on Family Business Award (along with Ms. Taeko HOSHINO).)
● Fuamiri bijinesu ron: Kohatsu kogyoka no ninaite [Family Business: Agents of Late Industrialization], Nagoya University Press, 2006. (Won the 2nd Kashiyama Junzo Prize of Asian Studies.)
● Catch-up Industrialization: The Trajectory and Prospects of East Asian Economies, National University of Singapore Press, 2008.
● Tai: Chushinkoku no mosaku [Thailand: Challenge to a Middle-Income Country], Iwanami Shoten, 2009.
● Shinko ajia keizai ron: Kyatchi-appu o koete [Emerging Asian Economies: Beyond the Catch-up Industrialization Approach], Iwanami Shoten, 2014.
● Higashiajia no shakai daihendo: Jinko sensasu ga kataru sekai [Drastic Demographic and Social Change in East Asia: Analysis of the Population Censuses] (coeditor, coauthor), Nagoya University Press, 2017.
● Sekai rekishi taikei: Tai shi [Outline of world history: A History of Thailand](coauthor), Yamakawa Shuppansha, 2020. 

Prof. Suehiro’s most important early work, Capital Accumulation in Thailand, 1855-1985 (1989), provided an empirical account of long-term trends in capital accumulation in Thailand, through the analysis of a wide range of documentary materials and through direct investigation, and won high praise internationally. His Kyatchi-appu gata kogyoka ron: Ajia keizai no kiseki to tenbo [Catch-up Industrialization: The Trajectory and Prospects of Asian Economieshas also earned high recognition for suggesting new perspectives for research on industrialization and economic development not only in Thailand, but also in the whole of East Asia. 

The core of the Akira SUEHIRO Collection is formed by books, Thai periodicals and statistical materials on the politics, economy, society, and history of Thailand. In particular, as for journals on the economy, the collection includePhuchatkan [Managers], issues from the first one in 1983, when the journal was founded, up to No. 302 for 2008, and Kan Ngeon Thanakhan [Money & Banking], issues from No. 219 for 2000 up to No. 394 for 2015. Together with issues of Hua Shang [Chinese merchants], which deals with ethnic Chinese managers in Thailand, and other journals, the total number of journals and other periodicals on the Thai economy amounts to about 400. 

Thai-language Journals 

Thai-language Journals (2008, Study Bookshelf in Suehiro’s office) 

Another notable feature is the collection of more than 250 “cremation volumes.” Cremation volumes are commemorative books outlining a deceased person’s biography and social contributions distributed among attendees at Thai funerals and are called “Nangsue Chaek” in Thai, which means “distributed books.” The practice of “Nangsue Chaek” originates in the tradition of giving gifts (Khong Cham Ruai) to guests on private religious occasions (Ngan Kuson). As the majority of such books were printed as gifts to be distributed at cremation ceremonies, “Nangsue Chaek” usually refers to “cremation volumes.” The custom of “cremation volumes” is believed to have begun in 1876, but it was not until the time of King Rama VI (r.1910-25) that the custom became widespread. Initially, the books used to be distributed at the funerals of the royal family, nobility, and high-ranked royal officials, but gradually the custom spread among public servants and even ethnic Chinese merchants. Besides funerals, “distributed books” were also published for such festal occasions as birthdays, anniversary celebrations, and celebrations of elevation or promotion of a member of the royalty or nobility. Though such published and distributed books greatly vary in content, many of them tend to contain not only a biography and commemoration of the deceased, but also an outline of their professional career history and accomplishments, as well as quotations from classical literature and gazetteers. In this sense, the cremation volumes provide massive amount of information on biographies, genealogies, as well as various personal relationships with regard not only to royalty and nobility, but also to a wide variety of people of different race, social status, and occupation. Therefore, in addition to their value as historical sources and digests of legal acts, they also present indispensable sources for economic and social historiographies. The value of cremation volumes as research resources is discussed at length by Prof. Suehiro himself in Tai no ‘soshikibon’: shakai keizaishi kenkyu no hoko [Thailand’s ‘Cremation Volumes’: A Treasure Trove of Socio-economic History Research]” (UP, March 1995) (By courtesy of University of Tokyo Press, the article is also available online at U-PARL’s website: “Thailand’s ‘Cremation Volumes’: A Treasure Trove of Socio-economic History Research.” 

Cremation Volumes 

Cremation Volumes (2008, Study Bookshelf in Suehiro’s office) 

Such are the specifics of the Akira SUEHIRO Collection. In addition to materials for studies on the Thai economy, the collection includes a rich selection of historical sources and statistical data useful for Thai area studies as well, so it can be utilized in a wide range of research fields. 

The systematization and organization of the Akira SUEHIRO Collection was carried out by the Uehiro Project for the Asian Research Library (U-PARL) of the University of Tokyo Library System during the 2014-2016 school years, and at the end of the 2016 school year it was donated to the Asian Research Library. Yumiko UDO (U-PARL Collaborative Researcher) and Warinthorn TERMARIYABUIT (former U-PARL Project Research Fellow) were in charge of the selection and organization process, while the assets registration work involved the participation of the Section of Books Acquisition, Information Processing and Management Division, the University of Tokyo Library System. 

As for other materials collected by Suehiro, such as copies of M.A. theses written by Thai students on topics related to economic history, materials on labor issues, publications by ethnic Chinese in Standard Chinese, and numerous field notes taken by Suehiro, they were donated to the library of the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization, where Suehiro used to work, and are currently in the process of being selected and organized there. 

Yumiko UDO (U-PARL Collaborative Researcher)
8. Feb. 2021
(Last updated 10. Aug. 2021)

Note 1: The Akira SUEHIRO Collection is currently in the process of being registered in OPAC. (See details in OPAC)
Note 2:【Past Article】The Akira SUEHIRO Collection (http://u-parl.lib.u-tokyo.ac.jp/archives/english/suehiro-collection)