But back to the land use issue.
I’m still trying to understand how so much land had been preserved, a consistent pattern throughout southern South Korea. Dr. Duk Yi says that in 1948 the government broke up large landholdings by purchasing them from the landowners at a low price, repaid over time. This is fascinating. The United States occupied Korea from 1945 to 1948 when a conservative government headed by Syngman Rhee was elected. Rhee was supported by large landowners. Would he have taken this action? Not likely. I think the answer is the United States imposed land reform in Japan and Korea as part of the reforms it imposed by fiat.
The reason I think this is that after I first posted this I talked to a Japanese who owns a farm near Osaka. It is land his grandfather farmed as a tenant farmer before World War II. The land he farmed was made available for sale at a modest price after World War II by the U. S. administration of Japan. What happened in Japan seem to have happened in Korea. This is not widely known. The U. S. imposed land reform in the late l940's in Asia? I'm fascinated and hope to find time to investigate further.
In l946-48 Korea was extremely unstable, with riots from the left. What is today North Korea cut off electricity to the south. More than 700,000 Japanese who had been in Korea went home; however nearly twice that many Koreans flooded back into from Japan and China, settling largely in Seoul.
The south was agricultural, the north industrial. The United States had not identified Korea as important and the Secretary of State, Dean Atcheson, made clear that it was outside the umbrella of U. S. protection, which led the North to believe its 1950 invasion would not be resisted.
A little more about Chonbuk National University. It was a rice patty when Dr. Duk Yi grew up and today it has some of the characteristics of an American land grand university. This greenhouse complex is only a couple hundred yards from our dorm....so surrounded by the natural world.
However the university's strength must in the sciences and engineering, evidence of why Korea has grown so rapidly. Here's banner for one of several similar seminars this summer:
The entry sign for the building where our classes have been held....