Last Updated: 01/03/2024

The Malaria War in Indonesia during the Japanese Occupation Period: “Colonial” society as seen from medical care and hygiene


*The details were machine translated from Japanese

This research focuses on medical care and hygiene, where public policy is directly connected to individual lives, and where the actual situation of life is reflected in policy. The aim is to paint a picture of the social situation at the time by examining and analyzing related documents and gaining a multifaceted and comprehensive understanding.
In addition to the standard humanities and social science research of researching historical materials, the focus is in an interdisciplinary system that also incorporates scientific analysis. This research will create a new field of medicine and hygiene in the social history of Indonesia during the Japanese occupation, and at the same time create a new academic field that integrates the arts and sciences.

Principal Institution

Akita University

Principal Investigators / Focal Persons

William B. Horton

Rationale and Abstract

Focusing on malaria control in Indonesia during the Japanese occupation period, this research aimed to shed light on a history which connects public and private affairs. Public awareness of government hygiene efforts and the spread of basic public health knowledge could be confirmed and elucidated. This research also clarified that malaria countermeasures changed according to the social situation during the war. Quinine, which is in short supply globally but produced primarily in Java, was also used as a diplomatic tool to strengthen ties within Southeast Asia and with other Japanese allies. This interdisciplinary research, comprised of researchers from the humanities and sciences, was able to shed more concrete light on the activities of scientists and the medical industry at the time to combat the “enemy” of malaria. Through this full-scale interdisciplinary research, it has become clear that medical history research that is unraveled without knowledge of the sciences may result in an incomplete history in which it is difficult to elucidate the underlying materials. This has academic significance, and scientific knowledge has social significance as well, as it has the power to stop history from becoming a tool for political disputes.

Thematic Categories

Social Science


Apr 2019 — Mar 2023

Total Project Funding


Funding Details
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

Grant ID: 19H01227
17,290,000 JPY
Project Site



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