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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 18(2); 2009 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2009;18(2): 133-155.
대한제국기 개성지역 삼업(蔘業) 변동과 삼포민의 대응
A Crisis of Ginseng Capital and the Countermeasures of the Ginseng-cultivating People during Daehan Empire
Jeong Pil Yang
National Institute of Korean History, Korea.
This thesis examines a crisis of ginseng capital and the source of crisis during Daehan empire. After the China-Japan war of 1894, the Japanese merchants actively engaged in taking over the ginseng fields, so that ginseng-cultivating Koreans suffered substantial economic losses. After the Russo-Japanese war, the Japanese imperialists undertook the 'Currency Arranging Business'(CAB) in order to set a cornerstone for their invasion of Korea. The CAB eventually provoked a wide depression which in turn produced massive number of Korean merchants going bankrupt. The Kaesong merchants were no exception, since CAB stroke a severe blow on the ginseng industry, which relied heavily on the commercial capitals of the Kaesong merchants. Moreover, the Japanese imperialists broke the previous promise and bought ginseng at a dirt-cheap price, which put ginseng-cultivating Koreans in serious trouble. In order to combat such crisis, ginseng field-owners protested against such injustice by petitioning or stirring up Kaesong popular riot in vain, and consequently the number of ginseng field-owners decreased sharply. A few of the ginseng field-owners survived, and managed to maintain and even flourish more than before. These successful owners were characterized with their strong link with the official circle, utilizing their influence in ginseng industry. Their original background was not identical as some came from the influential families of Kaesong area for generations, while others made their own fortunes and continue to prosper through the difficult times of the late of the Daehan empire period.
Key Words: red-ginseng, a crisis of ginseng capital, japanese ginseng robber, Currency Arranging Business(CAB), Kaesong popular riot
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