Decline of a Confucian Mecca: Development of Rice Farming and Regional Development in Chosŏn Korea
- Journal of Korean Studies
- Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington
- Volume 15, Number 1, Fall 2010
- pp. 1-40
- Additional Information
The object of the analysis of this article is Sŏnsan County, the most advanced agricultural region of the Chosŏn Dynasty during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This advanced region, however, started to go downhill from the sixteenth century and declined further in the seventeenth century. The rise and fall of Sŏnsan was closely tied with its geographical and irrigation conditions. The region, located around the Naktong River, the greatest river in Kyŏngsang Province, had favorable conditions for development in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with the spread of the farming method of broadcast seeding to wet rice fields (水耕直播法) and the active development of both plains and hilly areas. But, this area faced adverse conditions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the new farming method of transplanting rice seedlings (移秧法) was widely introduced, shifting development to more mountainous regions.