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The Study of Vietnamese Tea Culture: Focus on Cultural Subjectivity and Tea Industry
Yang, Tsung-Rong Edwin
Since both the Qin and Han dynasties, Vietnam has served an integral part of the Chinese field due to its long-standing cultural history of tea. Based on this perspective, the development of Zen Buddhism, ceramic trade and literature has caused the development of East-Asian cultural circles consisting of countries such as Japan and South Korea. These developments depended on trade, transportation, and navigation in order to promulgate Vietnam’s development. However, due to the lack of physical properties, Vietnamese tea lacks the proper discussion involving cultural subjectivity. The frequent wars that occurred throughout Vietnam’s history have led to lesser historical analysis and research of Vietnamese tea. Contemporary discussion is more geared towards the tea industry in Vietnam. During the late 19th-century, Vietnam became a French colony, subsequently transforming Vietnam’s modern history into one that was gradually separating itself from northern China. During the French colonial period, the Vietnamese tea industry was able to grow, and tea exports became more prosperous, leading to Vietnamese tea farmers becoming landlords due to the widespread panic of the international economy during the 1930s. The frequent domestic wars throughout Vietnam during the 20th century initiated the corruption of the tea industry. Contemporary Vietnamese tea is considered being that of the lower bargaining power position in the global tea market. The contemporary Vietnamese tea industry currently faces many obstacles, yet the Vietnamese tea industry is striving to improve its status through the efforts exerted by both the government and the private sector of Vietnam. Regarding the discussion of cultural subjectivity of the history and industry of Vietnamese tea, this study indicates that Vietnam plays an important role in East Asia, and continues to attract foreigners. In this world’s current society, the establishment of the main body of the Vietnamese tea culture must be grounded in Vietnam. Through the awakening of cultural awareness and the improvement of the tea industry, the construction of cultural subjectivity concerning its tea will be able to get rid the pain of the Vietnam War’s history, therefore lead Vietnam to establish a fascinating culture for the Vietnamese during the 21st century.
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