Graduate Student Forum

“Peaceful Coexistence, or Peace Offense?” Sino-Japanese Competition and the Making of Economic Landscape in Southeast Asia, 1950-1959

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 | 9:00 - 9:45 (JST)
  • Bohao Wu A Ph.D. candidate in the History Department, Harvard University
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

This presentation covers the first three chapters of my dissertation, covering Beijing and Tokyo’s trade policies with Southeast Asia during the 1950s. I intend to demonstrate how this process shaped the trade practices in the region. China was able to build a complex trading network in Southeast Asia through soliciting help from overseas Chinese communities, trade organizations, and local entrepreneurs, while Japan was able to use diplomatic maneuvers between China, Britain, and the United States to aggrandize its economic interest in the region. During this process, Beijing and her competitors in Tokyo invented respective mechanisms to mobilize the regional trading network to their advantage, and shaped it in the due process. By breaking down the often-intricate processes of bargaining and negotiating that governments, their front companies, and compradors engaged in during this period, the chapters attest to the multilateral, transnational nature of economic life in Asia under the shadow of the Cold War.

About the Speaker

Bohao Wu is a Ph.D. Candidate in history at Harvard University. He began his training at Harvard in the fall of 2017, after graduating magna cum laude from Brown University. In addition to Chinese, Bohao also speaks Japanese, Russian, and Korean. Bohao currently works on his dissertation “Uneasy Friends and Convenient Enemies: Sino-Japanese Coordination and Competition in Southeast Asia, 1950-1972.” His paper “Keep Your Friends Close, and Enemies Closer Sino-Soviet Competition in the Occupied Dalian, 1945 – 1949” is forthcoming in the Journal of Cold War Studies.