Homes ranging from one-room dwellings to forty-five-room mansions were constructed in the Kaesŏng area around 1900. Analysis indicates that 23 percent were small, 57 percent were medium, and 20 percent were large. Medium-sized dwellings constituted 80 percent of the total number of habitations, indicating that the middle class constituted approximately four-fifths of the area population. The large middle class is unusual compared to other urban areas of the period and is related to commercial activity. More than 8ŏ percent of the citizenry of Kaesŏng engaged directly in merchant activities or in something related. The merchants of Kaesŏng had outstanding financial skills that transformed their commercial capital into industrial capital via the ginseng trade. The people of Kaesŏng did not aspire to high government positions, but rather for commercial success. For this reason, Japanese businessmen could not penetrate the Kaesŏng market during the colonial period.