This paper analyzes the contents, forms, and consumption patterns of rice dishes in order to understand underlying meanings of diversification and invention of dishes as cultural commodities in the globalizing food market. The recent renaissance of culinary culture in Korea reveals many interesting cases for anthropological interpretation. Along with globalization of dietary life, people invent new items of rice cuisine and (re)produce new perspectives on the positive qualities of national foods in what can be seen as an expression of cultural nationalism. However, through careful examination of rice cuisine in Korea and comparison with other Asian countries, this paper interprets the phenomena as a cultural practice of the philosophy of sinto buri (“body and earth are one”) to postmodern life.
Korean royal court culture was doomed by the fall of the Joseon dynasty at the hands of Japanese imperial forces at the beginning of the twentieth century. After the establishment of Japanese colonial administration in 1910, court traditions mostly disappeared as displaced royal family members and their former attendants grew older and suffered economic hardships. It was only in the 1970s that royal court cuisine began to receive official attention as part of efforts to reconstruct and preserve national cultural heritage. In 1970, the royal cuisine of the Joseon dynasty was designated by the state as the Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 38. Through a detailed case study of Hwang Hye-seong (1920-2006), the second state-designated holder of the cultural property, this paper examines the process by which “royal court cuisine”was identified and redefined within the framework of the Important Intangible Cultural Property system in Korea, and analyzes how the royal cuisine thus reconstructed has come to be established, recognized, and successfully commoditized as a specific brand of haute cuisine in the dietary culture of late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Korea.
This paper is an attempt to use Korean ramyeon to examine some of the major issues in the study of food and culture. In Japan, as in Korea, ramen and ramyeon not only came to find loyal consumers and occupy significant places in the food culture of both countries, but also began to cross national boundaries to find fans and markets in China and other countries. The Chinese noodle has come home, after a hundred-year-long voyage to and from Japan via Korea. Three points will be made. Firstly, Korean ramyeon has become a separate kind of global food, quite different from Japanese ramen. Ramyeon in Korea means “instant noodle,” while ramen in Japan generally refers to noodles sold in ramen restaurants as well as instant noodle. Second,Korean ramyeon is a class confuser that, instead of delineating and reinforcing class distinctions, seems to confuse and modify them. Third, I propose to introduce the concept of “ramyeonization.” This process is found in the increase of new forms of instant food sold in plastic packages, and also involves the dominance of hot and spicy taste in Korean cuisine. Further,ramyeonization involves individualization and fragmentation of meals and the resultant impact on family and society at large.
In 21st-century Korean society, well-being has become a prominent topic in popular discourse. Even though well-being is a comprehensive concept that includes one’s physical, mental, and financial state, in popular discourse “well-being food” receives the most attention. Accordingly, the pattern of food consumption began to shift in response to the new discourse. Chinese food,long popular in Korea, is also experiencing various adjustments. This paper intends to analyze people’s perceptions and practices of well-being, as well as explore the image and consumption pattern of Chinese food in connection with well-being discourse. In Korea, Chinese food tends to be regarded as “unhealthy” and Chinese restaurants have a negative reputation for “uncleanliness.”Thus, those who prioritize well-being are unlikely to eat Chinese food. However, as people eat Chinese food for diverse reasons, if some take wellbeing into consideration after deciding to eat Chinese food, they choose restaurants that exhibit efforts to follow the well-being trend. Some Koreans believe that in terms of true well-being, it is better to eat Chinese food, even if it is unhealthy, than to stress about not eating it.
This paper is based on anthropological fieldwork on ethnic food restaurants in Korea that provide international cuisine (except for Chinese, Japanese, and mainstream Western cuisine). In particular, the research focused on Indian restaurants, noticing their rapid increase in today’s restaurant scene in Korea. Through interviews and observations, the author explored how a foreign cuisine is perceived and accepted by local customers, and how restaurateurs strategize their businesses to suit the Korean cultural environment as entrepreneurs. Koreans construct and express their global identities through consuming these ethnic cuisines. Cultural processes of standardization, localization,and hybridization function over the course of the cuisine’s adaptation within Korea. Simultaneously, each ethnic cuisine acquires its own global identity in the process.
This paper intends to reappraise the relationship between historiography and politics in North Korea by analyzing the revised edition of Ryeoksa sajeon (Dictionary of History). Published almost 30 years after its initial publication in 1971, the new edition embodies how desperately and earnestly North Korea has struggled to remake its own imagery and national identity in order to cope with a series of crisis after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994. Are the two core ideologies penetrating the first edition.socialism founded on Marxism-Leninism and strong antipathy to U.S. imperialism.still unconditionally respected in the revised edition? Does the appearance of the revised edition indicate an important ideological transformation taking place among the ruling elite of North Korea? And, would rewriting history guarantee a safer and more promising future for the North Korean people in the age of globalization? These are questions that the author raises and attempts to answer.
The major cause of 1927’s so-called “Emetine Injection Incident” was the compulsory administration of emetine injections instituted by the colonial Korean sanitary police system, which aimed to create a hygienic environment for Koreans in a cost-effective manner. Though some Koreans criticized this compulsory police-administered treatment, this incident did not serve as a turning point that led either to the improvement or abolishment of the sanitary police system. After officially confirming that patients were poisoned, the Hanseong Medical Association (HMA) did not try to use the incident as a chance to raise their voice to improve the colonial medical system. Given that the aim of the HMA was to benefit medical practitioners, intervening in administrative actions may have laid outside its domain of interest. The HMA, as well as other Korean political organizations, failed to harness the anger generated by this incident to improve the sanitary environment in Korea. However, after the risks of the injection were publicized, Koreans began to be suspicious of injections performed by the police. The Emetine Incident led Korean people to see the sanitary policy of the colonial government from a different angle.
“Munye” is an opaque and problematic concept, in the sense that while there is some overlap with modern literature and art, it is also closely connected to other areas such as science and culture. Munye’s conceptual formation was connected in many respects to complex and heterogeneous elements, such as the dissolution of traditional ideology, contact with Western civilization, the appearance of the modern mass media, the expansion of Japanese imperialism,the efforts of Koreans to overcome colonial rule, and so forth. Focusing on these kinds of problematic issues, the present study attempts to examine the process through which “munye” was employed and represented during the Korean enlightenment and colonial period, and tries to figure out how the concept of munye constituted a peculiar realm of meaning, which cannot find an accurate match in terms such as literature, art, science, or culture.