III-1. “A Study of the Historical Source Materials on the Society and Economy of Indonesia in the Late Colonial Era” (H24-25 FY2012-2013)

  • Project Leader : Uemura Yasuo (Hiroshima University)
  • Collaborators : Mizuno Kousuke (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Fujita Eri (Rikkyo University, Faculty of Letters)

Outline of Research

This project aims to give a general overview of the historical sources available on the society and economy of Indonesia in the late colonial era (from the beginning of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century) and make bibliographic introductions of the most important ones. The results of the study will be made available to the public in various ways, and we hope that these will make access to primary source materials much easier than present and in particular, help young scholars who will study Indonesian history.


From the beginning of the 19th century, when Dutch colonial rule penetrated deep into Indonesian society, the information available to the Dutch rapidly increased. Namely, in Java, where Dutch rule had already established during the time of the Dutch East India Company, even the affairs in the villages were open as a result of converting indirect rule into direct one. Furthermore, in the Outer Islands, expansion of colonial rule from the middle of the 19th century increased Dutch knowledge of local society there. This knowledge came in the form of abundant official and private documents, which were partly published but mostly unpublished and preserved in the National Archives of Indonesia and Netherlands. There have been some bibliographical studies conducted on these documents, but they are insufficient for Indonesian studies. In addition, during this period, various newspapers and periodicals were published in Indonesia as well as in Netherlands. However, most of these which contain important information on Indonesia at the time, have not been used as historical sources, and there are no complete lists of them. Furthermore, in the 20th century, Japan conducted a lot of surveys on the various matters of Indonesia, and recent historical studies began to utilize local language documents as historical sources. Yet, to date, there are no sufficient bibliographical studies on them. This study aims at gaining a general view of these historical sources and tries to give bibliographical introductions to the most important ones. By doing so, this study will clarify which historical sources should be consulted with the study of various subjects. In particular, this will help a younger generation who will study Indonesia, and contribute to the development of studies in this field.

Verslag van de Handels-Vereeniging te Soerabaja,1905 (Report of the Trade-Union at Soerabaja, 1905), one of the most important sources of the economic history of Indonesia

One of the reading rooms of the Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia (Nasional Library of Indonesia) in Jakarta, where we can read a lot of books on Indonesia which cannot be found in other libraries