VI-1. “Mental Health Service in French Indo-China as Seen from Cambodia” (H28 FY2016)

  • Project Leader:Yoshida Naofumi (Waseda University, Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

Outline of Research

The study examines the state of mental health services and their features during the French colonial period in Cambodia. To date, such study has relied on historical materials in the National Archives of Cambodia, such as Collections des journaux officiels et des bulletins administratifs and Fonds de la Résidence Supérieure du Cambodge. The limited nature of these materials however restricts the research area. I therefore utilize additional historical materials at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies library, Kyoto University to examine how mental health services were developed in the present-day Vietnam and spread through the whole of French Indo-China, including Cambodia.


The research identifies the mental health services provided in Cambodia during the French colonial period using historical materials. Studies about medicine in general during the French colonial period in Cambodia (Guillou, 2009; Oversen & Trankell 2010) have been developed in recent years. These studies show that public health improvement, infection control measures, and preparations for medical facilities and education were implemented with the intention of enlightening local people in the French protectorate of Cambodia.

This study furthers such inquiry by providing detailed accounts of the mental health services in Cambodia under French rule, and analyzing their social functions. In so doing, it will contribute to our understanding of the role of defining deviance in the process of colonization.


The outside of Takhmau Psychiatric Hospital

Journal Officiel du Cambodge