It can be appropriately argued that nationalist movement has originated from, for example, the feeling of anger against colonial situation, a flagrant case of the violation of the nationalist principle. Historians point to The Invention of Tradition as a process or mechanism permitting the use of history as legitimator of action and cement of group cohesion 3. All these studies pay particular attention to how individuals come to think, imagine, manipulate or are manipulated by the national phenomenon in their everyday life. In this perspective, nationalist sentiment is not only, neither principally, a sentiment of anger or satisfaction depending on the congruence of political and national units.
Smith, the fundamental features of national identity are 1 an historic territory, or homeland, 2 common myths and historical memories, 3 a common, mass public culture, 4 common legal rights and duties for all members, and 5 a common economy with territorial mobility for members 7. Food and eating can be considered as one of the most important nexus of national identity: Every human being has to eat several times a day, everyday, as long as he she lives, and every human society has its own food preferences and way of eating. Furthermore, food is potentially related to all the principal features of national identity: It is often produced on the soil of homeland; Culinary tradition is full of myths and memories; Eating is an important part of mass public culture; Food for survival forms an implicit element of modern citizenship; Food production and consumption constitutes the basis of national economy.
Therefore, recent literature on nationalism and national identity takes seriously the issue of culinary habits 8. Individuals decide what, when and how to eat, or at least have preferences 9. For C. Thus Nir Avieli sees the study of national iconic dishes as bridging the gap between theory and praxis of nationalism by concretization of the imagined community In this article, the case of kimchi, a hot and spicy Korean side-dish, is analyzed in light of the above theoretical perspective.
These were followed by hangeul, the Korean writing system Therefore, it appears to be of particular interest to investigate this symbol of national identity in order to deepen our understanding of the relationship between food and nationalism in general, and of Korean national identity in particular. These three phases are chronologically ordered in case of kimchi without necessarily being exactly sequenced. This case study is an attempt to answer to several theoretically oriented questions: What are the determinants of the selection process of national symbols, and put simply, why kimchi?
Who are the principal promoters of this particular food as the national symbol, and what are their main motives? What are the consequences for kimchi to become the national cultural symbol, especially in light of internationalization and globalization of national cuisines and economies? It belongs to the family of pickled vegetables whose consumption can be documented and traced back to Antiquity. It has known many profound transformations concerning its raw materials, the spices utilized, and the preparation method.
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Most Koreans eat kimchi everyday, even at every meal. Rice is the main staple, but can be occasionally replaced by noodles: Whatever the main staple, kimchi is the sine qua non of Korean meal. As for many national myths and symbols, the pseudo-scientific studies tracing their origins back in history abound but serious historical studies about their actual evolution are rare or absent.
It includes white napa cabbage kimchi and other varieties such as white radish kimchi dongchimi. The language structure, grammar and vocabulary are similar to Japanese. Especially for the wives of Korean men, it's important to know how to make kimchi. There are guard dogs and farm dogs, but you'd have to be pretty middle class to own a pet one. Ignoring the standards of Kimchi outlined by the Codex Alimentarius, China defined kimchi as a derivative of one of its own cuisines, called pao cai.
International migration of Koreans was followed by their indispensable side-dish. The equation reproduces itself in the United-States among Korean migrants. Kimchi presents several intrinsic characteristics which perhaps explain the degree to which Koreans are so much attached to the consumption of that side-dish, and the extent to which Koreans adhere to it as a national symbol.
Naturally, in a multi-ethnic environment, kimchi with its odor and particular taste becomes the ethnic identity marker of Koreans. This richness and variety are supposed to represent those of Korean culture, just like hundreds sorts of wine or cheese in Western countries. Koreans admitted that kimchi smells awful. Although Koreans could not stop eating kimchi, they dared not publicly urge foreigners to learn to enjoy kimchi. Actually, at this time, kimchi was no more a stinking dish to eat by hiding from foreigners, but a healthy traditional food to be presented and promoted among foreigners.
The venue of this world event surely represented an opportunity for Korean people to exhibit their proud of economic success and, at the same time, to be recognized by foreigners as a nation possessing a cultural heritage worth the world respect. This thirst for international recognition is very representative of social processes involving identity, and it is in this sense that the Olympic Games can be symbolically considered the turning point of the status of kimchi.
Korean people were proud of the economic miracle they had achieved and expected for international recognition of the value and superiority - or at least equality - of their cultural tradition. These were reactions against the military dictatorship during more than two decades and against a society ruled by cosmopolitanelites. Industrialization, urbanization, the generalization of nuclear family, the increased participation of women in labor market, these socioeconomic changes promoted large scale food industry.
The first Kimchi Museum opened its door in established by a small food manufacturer Myeongga. The next year, it is another food manufacturer Pulmuone who bought the Museum and still owns and manages it in The opening of this private museum is another event helping us to date the coronation of kimchi and also another fact showing the interrelation between cultural nationalism and economic interests. This Museum contributed greatly to elevate the status of kimchi by providing an institutional base camp for its promotion and prestige.
In , a Kimchi Museum University was organized and it was officially registered as a Museum at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in achieving the process of institutionalization. Its particular taste and strong odor made it a very suitable candidate as a symbol of Koreanness. The establishment of the Kimchi Museum in by food industry is another step in its institutionalization as the national dish.
These trends form the historic context of the consolidation of kimchi as a symbol of national identity. For every Olympic Games since , kimchi entered the official menu for athletes and Korean food manufacturers supplied it. This internationalization of the national food is considered and presented as a triumph of Korean culture by the media.
Each time, the demand for kimchi supply by the Organizing Committee was news for Korean media, reflecting the psychological need for international recognition. We can expect for similar media coverage for the Beijing Olympics. Rather, by quoting the analysis or the perception of foreign media, Korean media seek the appearances of objectivity.
Kimchi has also been praised for its beneficial effects on health. Several research teams underlined the positive impact of kimchi in preventing cancer, constipation, high blood pressure and diabetes As the title of the first article indicates, foreign media are considered as more efficient in elevating the objectivity of the claim. Thus, the citation forms a circle with Korean media quoting foreign media, quoting Korean researcher.
This large, frequent, and repetitive media coverage on the beneficial effects of kimchi contributes to its consolidation as a national symbol: It is not only recognized by international society, but receives also the affection of foreigners. Kimchi is not only tasty, but also good for health and prevents traditional as well as new diseases like deus ex machina medicine.
The pseudo-scientific discourses often traces the origin of kimchi back to the Three Kingdoms period 4th to 7th century A. But more serious historical studies show that the most popular and generalized form of kimchi - hot and spicy, with a lot of red-pepper and prepared with Chinese cabbage - is a rather recent invention.
The red-pepper was introduced to Korea by Japanese during the Korea-Japan War of , but its utilization was generalized only around Furthermore, the Chinese cabbage was introduced only at the end of the 19th century From this perspective, kimchi can also be considered a representative fusion food generalized in modern Korea rather than an invariable form of food representing Korean long-term tradition and wisdom.
But as scholars of nationalism know, time is an important legitimating power elevating the status of national symbols. The mobilization of the scientific community was much stronger in natural sciences. The period is characterized by a sudden upsurge in the number of studies reflecting perhaps the heightened status of kimchi as national symbol.
With a growing number of scientists studying kimchi, the institutional basis for research was created in by the establishment of the Kimchi Research Institute in Pusan National University For a part of scientific community, especially that of food and nutrition science, the emergence of kimchi as national symbol was an excellent opportunity to develop a subfield of study. Research on kimchi could be considered an act of patriotism as well as a professional activity. At the same time, the need for industrialization of kimchi production reflected a more profound change in Korean society with a growing number of people eating outside or consuming manufactured food even at home.
Large conglomerates such as Lotte, Doosan, or Cheiljedang were among the kimchi producers as well as companies specialized in food industry such as Dongwon and Pulmuone, the latter being the owner of the Kimchi Museum Kimchi produced by relatively large industrial corporations with high level of quality control was destined to be sold to and consumed by households, while a large number of small and medium sized companies produced low quality and competitive price kimchi to be sold to collective meals providers or restaurants.
In , a big kimchi-related industrial market was created with the launch of kimchi refrigerator: Traditionally, a large quantity of kimchi was made in autumn for winter consumption, and it was conserved in jars buried in soil. With urbanization, a majority of Koreans lived in apartment and did not possess the soil where to bury and conserve their kimchi. Refrigerator was a good functional substitute but presented some problems: It was too small to conserve large quantity of kimchi, and the strong odor of kimchi was imbibed into other cohabitants.
Samsung and Golstar later LG , two leaders in Korean electronics industries quasi-simultaneously launched their kimchi refrigerator in Two years later, Winia Mando launched a very popular model of kimchi refrigerator called Dimchae, which is the ancient name for kimchi: This model became the leader of the market with its cumulated production reaching , in , one million in , and two million in In , only 0.
It was thus proved that kimchi and its derivative products had an enormous industrial and commercial potential. The scientific and technological approach of kimchi was emphasized with proliferation of kimchi research centers and teams: Hanyang Yutong, a chain of supermarkets, opened a research center in in Seoul 45 ; LG founded the Kimchi Research Center in their home electronics industrial complex of Changwon in ; The same year, Samsung, kimchi refrigerator manufacturer, made alliance with kimchi producer Pulmuone, which had already organized its own kimchi research team since ; Winia Mando created its research team in , and experimented different kimchi making and conserving technology with one million Chinese cabbages in ten years time This association is located in the Kimchi Research Institute in Pusan National University and represents an effort to mobilize both scientific and industrial actors of kimchi and derivatives.
So far, the promotion of kimchi has been exclusively the fact of civil society: Journalists bragging the mysterious strength of Korean traditional food, food scientists creating the subfield of kimchi studies, and industrials catching the opportunity of Korean societal change to create a market for industrially processed kimchi as well as for kimchi special refrigerator. The role of the state began with the symbolic manipulation: In , the Ministry of Culture and Sports proclaimed the best five Korean cultural symbols. Kimchi and bulgogi 48 couple was among the five along with hanbog traditional dress , hangeul Korean alphabet , Bulgug Bouddhist Temple and Seoggul-am, and taekwondo national martial arts Ironically, these symbols were called the Corporate Identity of Korean Culture reflecting the mixed-influence of mercantilism exports rather than imports even in cultural matters and neoliberalism commodification of everything, including culture.
Ten years later in , the Ministry of Culture and Tourism publicized the ambitious list of One Hundred Symbols of National Culture 50 , with, of course, kimchi. Kimchi figures among eleven symbols related to eating and drinking: Others are ddug rice cake , jeonju bibimbab Jeonju style rice with assorted mixtures , gochujang red-pepper paste , doenjang bean paste , samgyetang chicken broth , onggi Korean pottery , bulgogi, soju and maggeolli traditional alcohol , naengmyeon cold noodles , and jjajangmyeon Chinese style noodles Cooked rice served with fresh and seasoned vegetables, minced beef and chili paste.
Stripped or shredded beef marinated with soy sauce-based condiments and grilled.
Gyeongdan is a type of small rice cake made by kneading glutinous rice powder with hot water, shaping the dough into balls, boiling them in hot water, and coating them with a powder such as bean or sesame seed powder. These days, sponge cake crumbs are also used to coat gyeongdan. Hanjeongsik Korean Set Menu. This traditional Korean set meal typically consisted of rice and soup and an assortment of side dishes. The meal is often divided into subgroups according to the number of side dishes, i. This rustic alcoholic beverage, which is widely popular in Korea, is made by fermenting steamed rice, barley, or wheat mixed with malt.
About Korea. Since ancient times, the Korean people have maintained a belief that food and medicine have the same origin and hence perform the same function, following the adage that 'food is the best medicine'. They believe that health and illness alike come from the food they consume and how they eat it, and this idea has played a crucial role in the development of traditional Korean medicine whose basic principle is that we should use medicine only after food has failed. Fermentation of Food One of the key words to understanding traditional Korean food is fermentation, a metabolic process that helps food to 'mature' so that it has improved taste and nutritional properties and can be stored for a longer period.
The Korean foods that best represent the tradition of fermentation developed in Korea include doenjang soybean paste , ganjang soy sauce , Gochujang chili paste and jeotgal salted seafood , whose fermentation can take anywhere from several months to several years. The degree of fermentation is a key factor in the taste and flavor of food cooked at home and in restaurants Doenjang Soybean Paste and Ganjang Soy Sauce Two of the most important items of traditional fermented food in Korea are doenjang and ganjang. To make them, it is necessary to soak soybeans in water and boil them until fully cooked.
Then, they must be pounded and ormed into brick-shaped lumps, and left to dry and ferment.