Seunghyun Kim

Ph.D. Student (2020 Cohort)

Dissertation Project

Economic Rivalry Between China and Japan: Focusing on Infrastructure Investment in Southeast Asia

Professional Background

Japan’s Security Policy and the U.S.-Japan security alliance system


Korean, Japanese



Seunghyun’s research focuses on Japan’s strategic response to China’s rapidly expanding influence in Southeast Asia through the Belt and Road Initiative and perceived U.S. withdrawal from the region. Specifically, he aims to investigate the development of high-speed rail (HSR) projects in Indonesia and Vietnam as a critical and increasingly intense realm of Sino-Japanese rivalry. He will develop an original dataset that enables me to compare the attributes, location, timing, stakeholders, and outcomes of Japanese and Chinese HSR projects in the region. In his MA thesis, he analyzed how Japan has supported law-enforcement capacity in Southeast Asia, with the evolving role of the Japan Coast Guard and expanding the strategic scope of Japan’s Official Development Aid policy.

Before joining the JSIS Ph.D. program, Seunghyun served as a first lieutenant at Korea Military Academy for three years (2013-2016), teaching Japanese and Japan-related courses. He received his M.A. in Japanese studies from Korea University and East Asian Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Grants and Fellowships:

  • Jackson School Top Scholar Fellowship, 2020-21
  • JPSI Student Research Travel Fellowship, Indiana University Bloomington, 2019
  • Brain Korea 21 Scholarship, Korea University, 2010-2012