The pitfalls of monopoly production and the ginseng derivatives market in colonial Korea, 1910-1945
The pitfalls of monopoly production and the ginseng derivatives market in colonial Korea, 1910-1945 / Michael Kim
p. 3-30 ; 23 cm
수록자료: Seoul journal of Korean studies. Institute of Korean Studies, Seoul National University. Vol.30 no.1(2017 June), p. 3-30 30:1<3 ISSN 1225-0201 저자: Michael Kim, professor of Korean History in the Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University
When the Japanese empire annexed Korea, it acquired one of the most lucrative ginseng cultivation regions in the world. However, efforts to profit from ginseng faltered as Japanese expansion into China in the 1920s and 1930s generated anti-Japanese consumer resistance. The colonial state imposed a state monopoly on its most profitable ginseng product hongsam, or "red ginger." However, the association of hongsam with Japanese Imperialism hampered sales in China, which was its primary export market. The far less profitable ginseng products, on the other hand, were left largely unregulated, and this circumstance allowed private companies to expand alternative markets on their own initiative. In particular, various companies developed derivative manufactured products from ginseng such as extracts, pills, powders, and tonics. Further spurring the appetite for ginseng products during the colonial period was the science of empire that committed considerable resources to biomedical facilities that conducted ginseng research. Private producers appropriated Japan's imperial science to give legitimacy to their products. Historians who placed an emphasis on hongsam production have largely overlooked the complex factors behind the mass consumption of ginseng during the colonial period. Yet when assesssing ginseng's colonial legacies, we must consider not just the role of the colonial state, but also the role of private producers that pioneered new consumer markets.