workshop 2009 ASIA 100
Copyright © 2009. Workshop 2009 ASIA 100. All rights reserved.
Dynamics of rural economy and society in Asia: Case of South India
A case study in a traditional rural village in South India, which is Prof. Fujita's research field, shows the transformation of village economy and society. The impact of economic growth and Green Revolution has greatly affected people in the society where Caste hierachy exists. Then, is there any measure for people in the lowest class to escape from poverty?
#007 Koichi Fujita
Koichi FujitaKyoto University
Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Socio-Economic Structure and Its Dynamics in Rural Asia
In Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand

Fujita, K., Re-thinking Economic Development: Green Revolution, Agrarian Structure and Transformation in Bangladesh (forthcoming)
Fujita, K; F. Mieno; I. Okamoto eds., The Economic Transition of Myanmar after 1988: Market Economy versus State Control, National University of Singapore Press and Kyoto University Press, 2009.

Asia for me:

The first trip to Asia was to Thailand, Nepal, India and Soviet Union during February to May 1981 when I was an undergraduate student at the
University of Tokyo. The trip was exiting, but a little bit a bitter experience for me. At that time I was harshly shocked to see and experience the 'poverty' of Asia, especially in Nepal and India.I wanted to understand the 'structure of poverty' of the developing Asia and decided to do research on rural Asia. Both my master and doctoral thesis submmitted to the University of Tokyo was on agriculture in deltaic area and implications of in-egalitarian agrarian strucure to underdevelopment in Bangladesh. I did not start fieldwork-based research in Asia, however, until I stayed in Bangladesh for two years during 1992-94 as a JICA expert. After that, especially after I moved to Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University in 1998, my research style based on fieldwork was gradually established by the present. I conducted fieldwork not only in South Asia such as Bangladesh and India but also in mainland Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. I believe that I came to really understand the livelihood and everyday feeling of people in rural Asia and also came to obtain comparative research perspectives among Asia only after I was deeply involved in fieldwork in variuos places in rural Asia.

Message for Learners:

I am an economist, but not using sophisticated econometrics nor being theory-oriented. My basic research method is simply to ask rural Asian people about their socio-economic conditions and the direction of change. It is simple, but since I am always trying to grasp the 'whole' structure, not a part, of their life, my brain is always working at a full speed when I am conducting fieldwork. Then, sometimes I concentrate in some specific topics which have a very critical meaning for the people's life.
I would like to share with you my experiences and the reaching point of mine at present regarding how to understand the socio-economic structure and its changes in contemporary rural Asia.


Jansen, E., Rural Bangladesh: Competition for Scarce Resources, Dhaka: The University Press Limited, 1994.
Lanjouw, P. and N. Stern, Economic Development in Palanpur over Five Decades, London: Clarendon Press, 1998.