Category : 【 THE NEW KOREA 】::┣Chapter [I] ~ [III] Tag :
Material Progress Production--
About eighty-two per cent of the total population of Korea depend directly upon agriculture for their livelihood. The area under cultivation increased from about 10,600,000 acres in 1912 to nearly 15,000,000 in 1923. (*When two or more crops are raised in one year on the same land the area is counted for each crop.) During the same period the estimated value of agricultural produce rose from 435,000,000 yen to 1,169,000,000 yen. A considerable proportion of the increases noted above was due to measures taken by the Government for improving the condition of the farmers. Among these may be named organization of various forms of agricultural credit, the reclamation of waste lands, the construction of irrigation works, the improvement of farming methods, and the introduction of new agricultural industries.
In respect of the first of these measures it may be noted that in 1912 the amount of outstanding agricultural loans was less than five million yen, and in 1923 was more than 134 million yen, a large part of the increase representing investment in agricultural improvements of one sort and another. As an instance of the introduction of new industries silk culture is an example. In 1910 the total value of Korean sericultural products was only 400,000 yen; in 1923 it had risen to nearly 26 million yen.
Closely associated with agriculture is forestry. Under native rule there had been an almost complete neglect of forest conservation, so that at the time of annexation there was a serious shortage of fire-wood and of building lumber. What was even worse was that the denuded mountain sides could no longer absorb the heavy rainfall of the wet season. This resulted in serious annual floods and in the loss of the land's natural supply of moisture. As early as 1907 the Japanese Residency-General had induced the Korean Government to undertake afforestation work; and in 1911 the Government-General issued its new forestry regulations. In the same year the Governor-General established an Arbor Day. Since annexation more than a thousand million seedlings have been planted for the purpose of re-establishing the Korean forests. The Government, further, encouraged the formation of Forestry Associations, and of these there were in 1925 three hundred and fifty, with a total membership of nearly a million.
The Government also interested itself in the development of the Korean fisheries. Measures were taken to improve the methods of fishing and of curing and packing aquatic products. Between 1912 and 1921 the value of the catch increased from eight million to forty-five million yen; the value of the exports of fresh fish from 138 thousand to over seven million yen; the value of marine products manufactured, from four million to twenty-five million yen; and the value of manufactured marine products exported, from less than two million yen to more than eleven million.
In the mining industry the total output was valued in 1912 at nearly seven million yen and in 1921 at over fifteen million yen. In the main group of metals and minerals the gold production shows a decline in value, other production a marked increase. Coal mounted from something over 500,000 yen to a little over three million, iron ore from 156,000 to nearly two million, pig iron from nothing to nearly five million, concentrates from 275,000 to nearly five million.
In regard to manufactures, commerce and industry progress was seriously hampered under native rule by the deplorable condition of the native system of currency, by the insecurity of life and property, by the lax or corrupt administration of law, and by the lack of governmental interest in the general question of development and in the advantages to be derived from scientific research in the various fields of industry. In each of these matters the Government-General has introduced wide-reaching reforms, of which the consequences can be observed in the following table:
TEN YEARS' GROWTH OF COMMERCE, MANUFACTURES, AND BANKING
(Values in thousands of yen)
|Exports by sea||20,985||207,280|
|Exports by land||* 356||10,996|
|Imports by sea||67,115||205,210|
|Imports by land||* 467||27,171|
|Total foreign trade||88,101||450,658|
|Paid-up capital of business corporations||103,720||1,083,551|
|Value of factory products.||29,362||166,414|
|Number of Koreans employed in factories||14,974||40,418|
|Number of Japanese employed in factories||2,291||6,330|
|Government expenditure for advancement of commerce and industry||2,932||8,797|
|Value of clearing house transactions||98,488||852,053|