통일벼; 녹색혁명; 경기미; 호남미; 기억; Tongil rice; the Green Revolution; Gyeonggi rice; Honam rice; memory
사림, v. 57, Page. 35-70
“Tongil” is the name of a high-yielding rice variety, which spearheaded the Green Revolution in South Korea in the 1970s. The Park Chung Hee administration enthusiastically promoted Tongil rice, ignoring criticism on its unfamiliar taste and concern on ecological instability, and eventually managed to declare self-sufficiency of rice in 1977. However, criticisms on Tongil rice became even more serious, especially after consecutive crop failures from 1978 to 1980, until the state eventually abandoned pro-Tongil policy in 1981. Although its dominance was remarkably short, Tongil rice has left significant impacts on South Korean people’s memory. The controversy on Tongil’s taste set a standard on what a “good rice” should taste like; the geographical disproportion in Tongil’s cultivation resulted in a prejudice on rice from specific provinces, and a exaggerated preference to one from another. Today, this memory, constructed in the late 1970s, is challenged by the ever-decreasing demand for rice among South Korean people, to construct a new memory about rice and food culture.