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Prof. Dr. Shinji Asada

Shinji Asada

Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut

Global History

Guest Scientist (April 2022-March 2023)

Shinji Asada is a professor of Economic History at Komazawa University and currently a guest scientist of Global History at Freie Universität Berlin (April 2022 - March 2023, funded by JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, KAKENHI). He received his Ph.D. from Chiba University, Japan, in March 2007. After conducting research and teaching activities as research fellow at Chiba University and serving as an assistant professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, he joined the Faculty of Economics at Komazawa University.

Shinji Asada’s research interests are colonialism and imperialism, especially German colonialism, and also socio-economic relations between Germany and East Asian countries in 19th and 20th centuries. He published a monograph, Doitsutōchika no Chintao: Keizaitekijiyūshugi to shokuminchishakaichitsujo [Qingdao under the German Rule: Economic Liberalism and the Colonial Social Order] (University of Tokyo Press, 2011). He edited Nihonteikoku seiryokuken no higashiajia toshikeizai [East Asian Urban Economy under the Japanese Imperial Sphere] (Tokyo: Keiogijyuku Daigaku Shuppankai, 2013, with Asobu Yanagisawa and Kenji Kimura, co-eds.) and Gurōbaru keizaishi ni jyenda shiten wo setsuzoku suru[Connecting Global Economic History with Gender Perspective] (Tokyo: Nihonkeizaihyōronsha, 2020, with Kazue Enoki and Izumi Takeda, co-eds.).

Shinji Asada is currently an editorial board member of the Political Economy and Economic History Society (Japan), a standing committee member and chairperson of Special Committee of Issues on Young Researchers of the Japanese Historical Council, and a member of Science Council of Japan.

The political, economic, and social changes in the East Asian region since the late 19th century tied closely with the colonial and imperial expansion by the European powers and the United States. However, it may be difficult to understand the complex realities of the East Asian region at that time if we maintain the assumption of binary opposition, such as “Western” impact versus “Asian” responses. To approach the historical realities in more detail leads not only to illustrations of the variety of actors and their responses in East Asia, but also to the multiplicity of Western agencies. The example of German interventions in East Asia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries can help us to reconstruct a complex realty of modern East Asia and its historical experiences.

From this perspective, my book, Doitsutōchika no Chintao: Keizaitekijiyūshugi to shokuminchishakaichitsujo [Qingdao under the German Rule: Economic Liberalism and the Colonial Social Order] (University of Tokyo Press, 2011) provides an analysis of how German colonial and imperial activities in Shandong Province connected Qingdao with the Chinese and East Asian trade networks. They fostered the export of agricultural products in Shandong to European markets, whereas the imported German products (e.g., aniline dye) characterized German industrialization. Germany was known as leaders of the Second Industrial Revolution along with the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The straw braid and peanut were the most important articles in Shandong Province; these agricultural commodities from Qingdao under German rule. Both were cultivated and processed mainly by Chinese women in Shandong’s agrarian regions. Thus, the growth of export from the modern German colonial port city, Qingdao, could not exist without mobilizing the female workforce for the export-oriented agrarian labor. From this aspect, I edited the collection Gurōbaru keizaishi ni jyenda shiten wo setsuzoku suru[Connecting Global Economic History with Gender Perspective] (Tokyo: Nihonkeizaihyōronsha, 2020, with Kazue Enoki and Izumi Takeda, co-eds.).

The research project promoted by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) analyzes the Germany’s entry into the East Asian economy from the second half of 19th century to the early 20th century from a critical perspective on colonialism. Especially, I focus on the migration (e.g., the engagements of German merchants and shipping interests with the “coolie trade”) and the Shandong agricultural commodities (e.g., peanuts) in order to reconsider the entanglement of German agencies in the East Asia’s social and economic changes.

For a detailed list of publications, see the curriculum vitae.

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