Professor Hayami Yujiro is a leading Asian economist who has created a new field in development economics that transformed conventional research by linking field studies of agricultural villages extending over a quarter century in the Philippines and other Asian countries with his exceptional ability to explore new theory.
After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1956, Professor Hayami was awarded a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Since then, he has for many years pursued in-depth studies of the changes in the economy of rural areas and the activities of paddy growers, focusing on one village on Luzon Island. The starting point for these studies was the joint research he conducted at the world-famous International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, the institution that promoted the "Green Revolution" by developing and propagating high-yielding varieties (HYV) of rice. In concert with this research, he endeavored to systematize a theory aiming to resolve the problems of poverty in developing countries. He created a unique academic discipline also known as "Hayami Development Economics" that focused on the relationship between the market, the state, and the community.
Today, the field of economics is approaching a major turning point. Western economists insisted that the market was paramount, but are now faced with the inequality of income and environmental problems. At the same time, the East Asian model of industrialization as practiced by Japan, South Korea, and others, in which industrialization is promoted by the state, is exposed to criticism. These are because the past researches and strategies were directed primarily toward market mechanisms and government policies.
Professor Hayami classified contemporary conditions in each country and territory into either an economic subsystem or a cultural and institutional subsystem. In addition to the economy, his viewpoint emphasized the indigenous cultural value system of a region and its social organization. Specifically, he focused on the relationship of trust between people in Asian rural areas and their common efforts for such work as planting, harvesting, and weeding. He praised the income-sharing and work-sharing, which were a common practice in villages, for their role in the economic growth of developing countries. Professor Hayami continued to examine how the three aspects of market mechanism, government policy, and human relations in a community had a mutually complementary relationship in economic development based on the experience of the Asian rural society. In addition to attracting academic interest from around the world, this new large-scale paradigm is also having a significant impact on World Bank policy reevaluation and the theoretical direction of NGO activities.
Professor Hayami has redefined an academic discipline, enabling the experience of the Asian region to be broadly applied to the theory of economic development for other developing countries. In addition, he has provided an innovative policy direction for methods to resolve such problems as the inequality of income distribution and environmental problems in developed countries as well as developing countries. Professor Hayami's major contribution to policy research into development throughout the world ensures that he richly deserves the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes.