In memory of Dr. Wichan Eiadthong.

It is with great sadness that we announced the passing of our dear colleague, Dr. Wichan Eiadthong, Assistant Professor of Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, one of our alumni, passed away on 4th, May, 2020. We are truly sorry to hear the sad news.

Dr. Wichan had been studying the evolution of mango, after joining the Doctor Course, Division of Agronomy and Horticulture, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, in 1995, and received his Ph-D in 1999. After coming back to Thailand, he had been devoted to conduct educational and research activities as a lecturer or assistant professor of Kasetsart University. He made various collaborative research works with many Japanese researchers, including those in Kyoto University. He had worked as one of core members of JASTIP (Japan-ASEAN, Science, Technology and Innovation Platform), which was started and implemented by Kyoto University in 2015. We expected that he could contribute to future research projects and educational programs with his affluent knowledge and experiences. We would like to express our deepest condolence and some of his friends talk about his memory.


JASTIP and Dr. Wichan by Mamoru KANZAKI(Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University)

I am very surprised to hear the sad news of Dr. Wichan Eiadthong of Kasetsart University School of Forestry. As he got a doctorate degree in March 2000 from Kyoto University, he has participated in many joint researches between Kyoto University and Kasetsart University since 2000, especially in the bioprospecting project.
He was an expert in dendrology and plant taxonomy, and was enthusiastically engaged in research on the genus Mangifera, material for his doctoral dissertation, and on various useful plants. At the Japan-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Platform (JASTIP) Project, which started in 2015, he participate in a collaborative project to search for functional organic compounds of Rubiaceae plants in the ASEAN region. This project will successfully complete in coming August and will move to the second phase soon. Without his wide knowledge and active work, we could not achieve the success. It’s regrettable that we lost him before finalize the project. I would like to express my deepest sympathy here, and I would like to develop the project based on his great contributions.


Kyoto University and Dr. Wichan by Hiroshi KAMITAKAHARA (Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University)

Dr. Wichan Eiadthong and I had known each other since we were in our late twenties, when he was still pursuing his doctorate at Kyoto University. I was hired as an Assistant Professor at Kyoto University to participate in a project to explore rare forest products in Thailand lead by Professor Fumiaki Nakatsubo, and I will never forget the respect I had for Wichan and his inexhaustible knowledge of plants.
I had no experience of doing fieldwork because I majored in organic chemistry, but I think my valuable experience with Wichan has broadened my perspective on research and improved my understanding of the countries in Southeast Asia. I am very grateful that I was able to get acquainted with the scientists who are active in various academic fields through him.
Strangely enough, after staying away from my research in Thailand for a while, I had the opportunity to meet him in Bangkok in 2014 after a long time, and it was no coincidence that I was able to resume our collaboration with Wichan on the JASTIP project. I think this was partly because of the breadth of his network and his virtues.
Until very recently, we had been communicating frequently by email and other means regarding our research, but when I was informed by his wife that he had passed away suddenly on May 4 after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor on April 23, 2020, I couldn’t believe it at all. I have lost a really important friend/scientist. It’s a huge loss, not just for Thailand, but for the world. He passed away suddenly at the age of 52, almost the same age as me, and I would like to pray for his peace of mind and also to watch over his family, his wife and two sons who have lost the mainstay of a family. I have in my hands the data about my collaboration with him. I hope to publish the results and dedicate them to him.


ASAFAS and Dr. Wichan by Shinya Takeda (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University)

Dr. Wichan Eiadthong, after enrolled at the Graduate School of Agriculture in 1995, began his research on “PHYLOGENETIC RELATIONSHIPS OF SOME MANGIFERA SPECIES AND MANGO CULTIVARS IN THAILAND.” In May 1995, Mr. Buared Prachaiyo was also in Kyoto as a visiting researcher at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. We had drinking parties at university and visited Ashiu Research Forest together. To my surprise, Dr. Wichan Eiadthong knew local plants very well even though he just came to Japan. Since then, I learned a lot from him.
Returning Bangkok after Kyoto, he continued his carrier at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Forestry. He worked further not only for research into plant taxonomy and forest biology but also in ethnobotanical research.
From August to October 2017, he was invited to ASAFAS as a visiting researcher by his counterpart, Dr. Yasuyuki Kosaka. His research theme was “Taxonomy, conservation, and ethnobotanical studies of woody vines in Thailand.” At the meeting of the Japanese Society for Tropical Agriculture held at Kagawa University in October, he reported ‘Tapping technique development for high yield and sustainable harvesting of Thai lacquer tree’. Dr. Wichan Eiadthong’s research, which also considered the history and culture of the region, was expected by everyone as it grew deeper and wider as years goes by.

I was surprised to hear the news that Dr. Wichan Eiadthong passed away and just don’t know what to say. On May 7, the first day of the sutra-chanting at วัดพระศรีมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร temple, it was a full moon, Buddhist day of worship. At 18:00 (20:00 in Japan), when the sutra-chanting started in Bangkok, I looked up at the big full moon over the skyline of the Higashiyama mountain and put my hand together. In deepest sympathy.