Home World Knowledge Biographical Dictionary of Occupied China (BDOC) – Elites, Networks and Power in modern China

Biographical Dictionary of Occupied China (BDOC) – Elites, Networks and Power in modern China

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The Biographical Dictionary of Occupied China (BDOC) seeks to address a significant lacuna in the scholarship surrounding the Japanese occupation of China (1937-1945). Remarkably, there exists no dedicated biographical dictionary on this subject in Chinese, Japanese, or Western languages. While the BDOC does not purport to be comprehensive, it endeavors to elucidate the structure of the Japanese occupation state in China through the diverse biographical pathways of its key figures. Each entry, besides internal cross-references within the BDOC, provides hyperlinks to external online resources, such as the Biographical Dictionary of the International Labor Movement (often referred to as the “Maitron”), the Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (colloquially known as the “Boorman”), and the Historical Dictionary of Japan.

The inception of the BDOC can be traced back to a doctoral thesis, by the editor of the BDOC, David Serfass (Inalco), focusing on Wang Jingwei’s collaborationist government in Nanjing. Consequently, its current emphasis is predominantly on the Chinese and Japanese individuals affiliated with the Reorganized National Government. However, it has already begun to incorporate entries on prominent figures from Japanese-occupied North China. Recent additions, exemplified by the entry on Qingdao’s mayor Zhao Qi, are indicative of an intention to expand the dictionary’s purview to encompass Chinese and Japanese figures active in diverse regions. In the foreseeable future, the BDOC may also incorporate entries on personalities from Manchukuo.

The current tally of entries stands at 170, but this number is anticipated to grow steadily, aspiring to emulate the breadth and depth of “the Boorman”. The vision for the BDOC is to evolve into a collaborative endeavor, uniting historians specializing in occupied China. To cater to a broader audience, all extant entries will be either translated into English or authored directly in that language. At present, approximately one third of the entries meet this criterion.

Each entry is meticulously curated, drawing from primary and secondary sources in Chinese, Japanese, and other languages. Comprehensive references are collated under the designated “Sources” tab. This section not only catalogues the references used for individual entries but also encompasses an extensive bibliography on occupied China, subject to regular updates. Feedback and recommendations from BDOC users, pertaining either to the dictionary’s content or its bibliography, are highly encouraged.

Last but not least, the BDOC website has been adeptly crafted by Thomas Arciszewski of Aix Marseille University, with the full support of the ENP-China team.

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