I specialize in modern China and Japan, with minor fields in the Soviet Union and late imperial China. My research examines business-government relations, urban political economy, and Russia-East Asia relations. By engaging with Chinese, Japanese, and Russian primary sources in their original languages, I am committed to advancing our more globalized understanding of modern East Asia.
My dissertation, “Steel Metropolis: Industrial Manchuria and the Making of Chinese Socialism, 1909–1964,” draws on archival documents from China, Japan, and Russia to chronicle the transformation of a single industrial city in Manchuria (Northeast China), Anshan. During the early years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, 1949-), the city produced half of the nation’s steel, and thus epitomized the Chinese Communists’ efforts to remodel China by transplanting Soviet economic planning and industrial technology. A lesser-known part of the story concerns the origin of Anshan’s steel industry as part of the Japanese colonial project in Manchuria since the 1900s. My work traces the history of Anshan and Angang under the Japanese empire (1909-1945), Soviet occupation forces (1945-1946), China’s Nationalist government (1946-1948), and the Chinese Communist Party (1948-). The major finding that emerges from my approach is that a global flow of ideas, technology, and know-how encompassed not only state-socialist regimes such as the PRC and the Soviet Union, but also capitalist regimes such as the Japanese empire, Nationalist China, and the United States. Moreover, my approach also explores how people actually experienced socialism in their daily work and everyday life.
2013 “Britain’s Men on the Spot in China: John Jordan, Yuan Shikai, and the Reorganization Loan, 1912–1914,” Modern Asian Studies, 47-3: 895-934.
Book Chapters and Other Publications:
2018 “From the Ashes of Empire: The Reconstruction of Manchukuo’s Enterprises and the Making of China’s Northeastern Industrial Base, 1948-1952,” in Barak Kushner and Sherzod Muminov (ed.), Reconstructing East Asia, Vol. 2. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press (Forthcoming).
2018 “Soviet Removal of Industrial Equipment from Manchuria after World War Two: New Findings from Russian Archives,” Ajia yūgaku [in Japanese] (Forthcoming).
2018 “City Construction in Anshan in the Early PRC: Urban Planning, Population Inflow, and the Housing Problem, 1948-1957” (book chapter) [in Chinese] (Forthcoming).
2015 “Sino-British Relations in Railway Construction: the Modernising State, Foreign Interests and Local Elites, 1905-1911,” in Robert Bickers and Jonathan Howlett (eds.), Britain and China, 1840-1970: Empire, Finance and War. London: Routledge: 130-147.
2017 “Member of the Week: Koji Hirata,” The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association. (URL: https://themetropole.blog/2017/04/04/member-of-the-week-koji-hirata/)