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Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late ModernityCommodification, Tourism, and Performance$
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Laurel Kendall

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833930

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833930.001.0001

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The “Kimchi Wars” in Globalizing East Asia

The “Kimchi Wars” in Globalizing East Asia

Consuming Class, Gender, Health, and National Identity

7 The “Kimchi Wars” in Globalizing East Asia
Consuming Korean Tradition in Early and Late Modernity

Kyung-Koo Han

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on kimchi consumption in modern South Korea, suggesting that a deep sense of national anxiety about globalization undergirds kimchi's prominence as a national symbol in a country traumatized by colonization, war, division, and rapid industrialization and urbanization. It analyzes two incidents dubbed the “Kimchi Wars” by the Korean press: the kimchi/kimuchi conflict with Japan in 2004 and the uproar over imported Chinese kimchi in the fall of 2005. The experience of these two “wars” brought home to South Koreans the enormously complex and often arbitrary relationship between national identity and authenticity, particularly when the forces of globalized production and distribution are literally and figuratively invested in a recognized cultural tradition.

Keywords:   South Korea, kimchi, consumption, national symbol, globalization, China, Japan, national identity, authenticity

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