III-1. “Widening the Scope of Research on Minorities and Christianity in Mainland Southeast Asia through the Ronald Renard Collection” (H29-30 FY2017-2018)

  • Project Leader : Tazaki Ikuko (Daito Bunka University, Faculty of International Relations)
  • Collaborators : Hayami Yoko (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Wada Michihiro (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Nittayaporn Prompanya (Kyoto University, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies)
  • : Anchalee Singhanetra-Renard (Freelance Researcher)
  • : Pisith Nasee (Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences)

Outline of Research

This project aims to contribute to the development of research on minorities and religion in mainland Southeast Asia by collecting and classifying documents on minorities and development projects in the region that are in the collection of the late historian Ronald Renard. This project also plans to collect historical documents at universities and research institutes around Chiang Mai city for the purpose of cataloging books and documents about ethnic minorities and religion in the area. Finally, this project will bring a part of the Renard collection to the CSEAS library in order for researchers to make use of them.


The late Ronald Duane Renard’s (1947-2014) personal collection, which contains rare documents in local languages on ethnic minorities and public development projects in Thailand and Myanmar written by Christian missionaries, is really valuable. This research project will first collect, classify, and catalog documents and books in the Ronald Renard collection in order to construct a research resource hub for ethnic and religious studies of insular Southeast Asia. Secondly, the project will bring a part of the collection to the CSEAS library so that the documents may be used in Japan to develop research about minorities and religion in mainland Southeast Asia.

Last year, we classified 4,201 materials as follows: on minorities, 708 titles, on Christianity, 64 titles, on Buddhism, 527 titles, on Northern Thailand, 753 titles, in Karen and Burmese languages, approximately 100 titles, and 2,148 on various other topics. About 800 books and documents were brought to the CSEAS library, including titles on minorities and Christianity. We find that his collection contains rare documents such as the Morning Star newspaper published in June 1850 in the Sgaw Karen language. It is likely the world’s first published document in the language.

This year, we continue to classify and catalog materials in Karen and Burmese languages and Buddhism in order to clarify their value in relation to the documents housed at CSEAS, Chiang Mai University, and Payap University. Finally, we aim that the Renard collection will be made accessible for researchers. Each member of this project also will use materials in the collection to write papers on Christianity, the Karen, Northern Thailand, minorities in mainland Southeast Asia, and so on.

‘Morning Star’ July 1850
‘Morning Star’ is a monthly magazine which had been published since the latter half of the 1840’s in Sgaw Karen language. It illustrated Christian Karen’s lives and missionary’s activities at that time. and is one of valuable historical documents in Karen language. The American Baptist Historical Society, an archive of Mercer University at Georgia in America, disclosures ‘Morning Star’ on their website the most. However they don’t have this issue, July 1850. As I know, this issue which Dr. Renard has is the world first.

Renard ’s collection which sent to library of CSEAS using IPCR budget 2017