Award Citation

Prof. Akira Suehiro is one of the foremost academic experts in Japan on the Asian economies. His substantial achievements, solidly based on detailed firsthand investigations in Thailand and other Asian countries, are unrivalled. Founded on research into the economy of Thailand, they have elucidated the industrialization process in Asia and the realities of the Asian economy, which has made a great contribution to Asian Studies in Japan.

Prof. Suehiro was born in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, in 1951. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo in 1974, and in 1976, received an M.A. from the Graduate School of Economics of the same university. He then held a series of important academic teaching and research posts related to the field of Asian economic theory, first in the Department of Area Studies at the Institute of Developing Economics (IDE) (1976-87), then as Associate Professor at the Institute of Economic Research, Osaka City University (1987-92), and subsequently as Associate Professor, Professor and Director at the Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo (1992-2016); currently he is Professor at the Faculty of International Social Sciences, Gakushuin University, having served as its first Dean.

Prof. Suehiro's most important early work, Capital Accumulation in Thailand 1855-1985 (1989), provided an empirical account of long-term trends in Thai capital accumulation, through analysis of a wide range of documentary material and through direct investigation, and won high praise internationally. Since then he has published a series of books and papers on contemporary Thai politics and economics, including Thailand: Development and Democracy (1993), Family Business: Agents of Late Industrialization (2006) and Thailand: Challenge to a Middle-income Country (2009). Catch-up Industrialization: The Trajectory and Prospects of Asian Economies (2000) opened up a new angle in research into industrialization and economic progress not only in Thailand but across the whole of Asia, and therefore represents a particularly significant contribution. This book provides one of the most important Japanese theories of Asian economics, using case studies from Thailand as a guide to Asian industrialization and economic progress, with a particular focus on the promoters of industrialization, on ideology, and on institutions and systems. Later, in response to changing economic situations in Asia, he published several works such as Emerging Asian Economies: Beyond the Catch-up Industrialization Approach (2014).

Recently he has been working on new research themes, like the analysis of relations between China and Southeast Asia, which has been part of his study of the great Mekong region, and studies in social change in Asia using population statistics.

Prof. Suehiro's contribution has not been limited to his outstanding academic work but has extended to the organization of Thai and Asian studies and to fostering the younger generation of scholars. He has served as President of the Japan Association for Asian Studies (JAAS) and as President of The Japanese Society of Thai Studies, and has greatly helped promote the Asian studies in Japanese academia. He has also acted as an important intermediary between Japan and Southeast Asian countries. As Chairman of the Mizuho Asian Fund, and as Chairman of the Selection Committee for the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, he has rendered a great contribution to communications and mutual-understanding between Asia and Japan. Yet another of his contributions has been the large number of young Japanese and Asian researchers whom he has trained.

For his remarkable contribution to the progress of Asian studies, and for his outstanding achievements, he truly deserves the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

Summer of‘69: Preparing for the entrance exam
Thai wedding ceremony in Bangkok (1982)
“Exhibition of Sketches by Akira Suehiro”(2011)

Message from Prof. SUEHIRO Akira