IV-5.”Comparative Study of Rural Social Structure in Asia: Interplay between Community, State Authority and Development Policy”(H22 FY2010)

  • Project Leader : Yanagisawa Masayuki (Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University)
  • Collaborators : Matsumoto Takenori (Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science, The University of Tokyo)
  • : Hiwatari Masato (Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, Hokkaido University)
  • : Ohkama Kunio (Tohoku University, Professor Emeritus)
  • : Sakashita Akihiko (Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University)
  • : Yan ShanPing (Faculty of Economics, St.Andrew’s University)
  • : 大Ohno Akihiko (School of International Politics, Economics and Communication, Aoyama Gakuin University)
  • : Kobayashi Satoru (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University)
  • : Ubukata Fumikazu (Graduate School of Environmental Science, Okayama University)
  • : Mizuno Kosuke (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University)
  • : Kajisa Kei (Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development)
  • : Fujita Koichi (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University)

Outline of Research

The salient features of rural social structures in various parts of Asia, including East Asia (Japan, Korea and China), Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand), South Asia (north and south India) and Central Asia (Uzbekistan) will be clarified from a comparative perspective, with their historical formation processes duly considered. In particular, special attention will be paid to some particular rural development projects and/or programs in each region. Through research we will find region-specific features of rural social structure in Asia and their recent transformations.


Rural societies in various parts of Asia, based on their ‘proto types’ formulated through their long historical process, have recently experienced a large transformation through rapid economic development, urbanization and the progress of aging, and so forth. In East Asia, the proto type of ‘peasant society’ (tight community formed by peasants) established in the pre-modern era, brought about hardworking habits among people and affected even the organizational structure of modern non-agricultural enterprises, and thus had a decisive power in determining identical historical development paths different from Western countries. In South Asia, the question of how the proto type of ‘job and entitlement distribution’ in rural society based on castes is transforming, and is now being paid much closer attention amidst rapid economic development and urbanization. In Southeast Asia ‘open’ and ‘loosely structured’ rural societies were formed in small population situations, and are now slowly changing under decentralization policies and rural development policies in the midst of economic development and urbanization. We have a rather big ambition to establish an academic field of ‘Comparative Rural Social Structures in wider Regions of Asia’ through this research project, and after two years we plan to publish our research results as a book or a special issue in some international academic journal.

Interview with a water users group regarding its collective irrigation management, the Philippines, Bohol

An example of the present condition of Pol Pot canals in Cambodia. The Pol Pot regime built a lot of irrigation canals during 1975-79, but most of them have been abandoned since 1979.