Japanese development consultancies and postcolonial power in southeast Asia: The case of burm0061’s Balu Chaung hydropower project

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    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Through investigating the construction of Japan’s first wartime reparations project—the Balu Chaung Hydropower Station Number Two in Burma—this article traces the formation of postcolonial power relationships within Japan’s postwar technical aid system in Southeast Asia. Kubota Yutaka and his colleagues at Nippon Kōei, the development consultancy that planned and supervised the project, had long careers constructing dams and other infrastructure throughout Japan’s former empire in Asia. This article examines how the visions, policies, expertise, and relationships from their colonial experiences were reconfigured in the 1950s through large-scale infrastructure projects into a new, postcolonial technical aid network linking the United States, Japan, and Southeast Asia during the Cold War. In addition to analyzing the reconstituted power relations at one particular site, this article also examines Japan’s unique position as a major donor and receiver of foreign aid, thereby complicating conventional narratives of an advanced “West” assisting a developing Asia.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)297-322
    Number of pages26
    JournalEast Asian Science, Technology and Society
    Volume8
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

    Fingerprint

    hydropower
    Southeast Asia
    Japan
    infrastructure
    reparations
    expertise
    recipient
    career
    narrative
    experience

    Keywords

    • Balu Chaung
    • Burma
    • Cold War
    • Hydropower
    • Japanese empire
    • Overseas development assistance
    • Postcolonial
    • Southeast Asia
    • Technical aid

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Through investigating the construction of Japan’s first wartime reparations project—the Balu Chaung Hydropower Station Number Two in Burma—this article traces the formation of postcolonial power relationships within Japan’s postwar technical aid system in Southeast Asia. Kubota Yutaka and his colleagues at Nippon Kōei, the development consultancy that planned and supervised the project, had long careers constructing dams and other infrastructure throughout Japan’s former empire in Asia. This article examines how the visions, policies, expertise, and relationships from their colonial experiences were reconfigured in the 1950s through large-scale infrastructure projects into a new, postcolonial technical aid network linking the United States, Japan, and Southeast Asia during the Cold War. In addition to analyzing the reconstituted power relations at one particular site, this article also examines Japan’s unique position as a major donor and receiver of foreign aid, thereby complicating conventional narratives of an advanced “West” assisting a developing Asia.",
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