Professor Eto Shinkichi is the leading authority in Japan in the fields of international relations and Chinese history of politics and diplomacy. His impressive academic record is highly respected not only in Japanese academic circles, but also in those of Asia and the West. As one of Japan's top opinion leaders, he has influenced the course of Japanese national diplomacy, particularly in regard to China, through his advice and proposals he has offered based on his many years of academic experience. He has also taken the lead in promoting scientific exchange with international academic societies and research institutions.
Professor Eto was born in northeastern Chinese province of Shenyang in 1923. A graduate of the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Law, Professor Eto has taught as an Associate Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and as a Professor at the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Liberal Arts. During the research into modern Chinese political history that he carried out at those institutions, Professor Eto formulated theories describing the historical role played by the Chinese Communist Party as the predominant political force in pre-revolutionary China. In order to prove his theories, he began to research the history of revolutionary movements led by the Party. In a pioneering work into the history of the Chinese Community Party which was read widely in Japanese and Western academic circles, Professor Eto documented evidence of the Party's involvement in the 1927 farmers' movements in the Cantonese cities of Haifeng and Lufeng during which the first soviets in China were established. This and other papers have been collected and published in books such as "Kindai Chugoku Seijishi Kenkyu" [Studies in Modern Chinese Political History] and "Higashi Ajia Seijishi Kenkyu" [Studies in East Asian Political History].
While he continued to closely examine modern Chinese political history, Professor Eto has expanded the scope of his academic interests to include other disciplines, including Japanese diplomatic policy on Asia. His theories on this subject are detailed in "Mukoku no Tami to Seiji" [Unrepresented Peoples and politics], and many other books and research articles. In appreciation of this work, he was awarded the First Annual Yoshino Sakuzo Award in 1966. His research activity has also expanded to encompass not only China, but all of Asia. In the late 1970s, Professor Eto proposed a concept of 'cultural friction' that occurred in the course of international exchange. The large-scale collaborative research project he organized to further explore this idea, entitled 'Cultural Friction in East and Southeast Asia,' has contributed to the growth and advancement of related research activities, so much so that it has spawned more than ten volumes of research reports.
Professor Eto has also served important posts in various academic societies. He is, for example, an Honorable Member of the Board, and the Chairman, of the Japan Association for Asian Political and Economic Studies, the largest organization of Asian Studies scholars in Japan. In carrying out his duties in these positions, he has contributed to the improvement of academic standards in the fields of both Asian Studies and International Relations. In addition, he has offered training and advice to many promising scholars. Furthermore, he has exerted himself for many years in the promotion of international academic exchange, in particular with China and other Asian nations.
Professor Eto Shinkichi has made truly monumental contributions to academia and to the promotion of research into Modern Asian International Relations and Political Science. His distinguished record thus make Professor Eto Shinkichi especially worthy of receiving the Domestic Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.