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Background: Bee honey is a main ingredient in traditional food culture in different regions of the world. Honey is widely utilized as an ethnic food item. Methods: This paper analyzes the historical and present status of beekeeping and honey production in Japan and South Korea based on the relevant literature and statistical data. Results: The findings reveal that Western honeybees are dominant in the two countries for economic and physical reasons. Honey production has declined and the amount of imported honey has increased in Japan and South Korea. The domestic and global honey markets closely influence reciprocally. Furthermore, urban beekeeping has emerged in these two countries as a hobby and an industry; it contributes to producing domestic honey and enhances the quality of the environment. Conclusion: To ensure sustainable forestry and conserve biodiversity, native beekeeping is necessary. This paper provides insight into beekeeping and honey production in Japan and South Korea.
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Original article
Beekeeping and honey production in Japan and South Korea: past
and present
Ryo Kohsaka
a
,
*
, Mi Sun Park
b
, Yuta Uchiyama
a
a
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
b
Department of Forestry and Landscape Architecture, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
article info
Article history:
Received 10 March 2017
Received in revised form
28 April 2017
Accepted 1 May 2017
Available online 5 May 2017
Keywords:
bee honey
native beekeeping
pollination
sustainability
tradition
abstract
Background: Bee honey is a main ingredient in traditional food culture in different regions of the world.
Honey is widely utilized as an ethnic food item.
Methods: This paper analyzes the historical and present status of beekeeping and honey production in
Japan and South Korea based on the relevant literature and statistical data.
Results: The ndings reveal that Western honeybees are dominant in the two countries for economic and
physical reasons. Honey production has declined and the amount of imported honey has increased in
Japan and South Korea. The domestic and global honey markets closely inuence reciprocally. Further-
more, urban beekeeping has emerged in these two countries as a hobby and an industry; it contributes to
producing domestic honey and enhances the quality of the environment.
Conclusion: To ensure sustainable forestry and conserve biodiversity, native beekeeping is necessary.
This paper provides insight into beekeeping and honey production in Japan and South Korea.
©2017 Korea Food Research Institute. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the
CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
1. Introduction
Beekeeping has been historically practiced in various places as a
part of the local food culture, as well as an activity related to the
production of pollinators. For example, in countries such as Japan
[1], Korea [2], and India [3], honey is a major element of food cul-
ture. Therefore, preserving beekeeping and honey production can
greatly contribute to maintaining food culture.
Sustainable beekeeping requires overseeing the landscape. For
example, the genetic diversity of Japanese bees correlates with
landscape features such as cities and paddy elds [4]. In the case of
South Korea, the number of native bee colonies is positively linked
with the ecological soundness of forest ecosystem management [5].
In maintaining and developing local food culture, it is necessary
to operate beekeeping in such a way that it produces food culture
and helps govern the regional environment in an integrated
manner. The idea of integrated management is included in Globally
Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), a concept
created by the Food and Agriculture Organization [6]. GIAHS is
composed of components that include society, cultural activities,
the local environment, and products in social and ecological land-
scapes. GIAHS is closely related to preserving beekeeping, and
stresses traditional knowledge cultivated in a regional setting.
Regarding traditional knowledge of beekeeping, case studies are
being conducted in South Korea [5]. Passing on traditional knowl-
edge that contributes to environmental conservation, including the
protection of regional forests, is an urgent issue worldwide. Polli-
nation and its related knowledge are gaining salience, as symbol-
ized in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) thematic report on
pollination in 2016 [7].
In terms of the relationship between bees and the environment,
there is a concern that the number of bees will decline due to in-
fectious diseases and pesticides. In Japan, the inuence of recent
pesticides is decreasing the number of bee colonies [8]. In addition,
the introduction of exotic species has posed a threat to specic
species at the local level, thus threatening nectar sources.
Furthermore, diseases brought by alien species can also affect
endemic ones [9]. The rise in diseases and pesticides, and the in-
ternational trade of bee honey and other related products are
affected by beekeeping in each region. Those circumstances largely
inuence the quantity of bees in different regions of the world [10].
To explore the idea of sustainable beekeeping with international
cooperation, as beekeeping in each country has cross-border in-
uence, it is necessary to understand the past processes that
*Corresponding author. Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku
University, Aoba, 468-1, Aramaki, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-0845, Japan.
E-mail address: kohsaka@hotmail.com (R. Kohsaka).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Ethnic Foods
journal homepage: http://journalofethnicfoods.net
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jef.2017.05.002
2352-6181/©2017 Korea Food Research Institute. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
J Ethn Foods 4 (2017) 72e79
regulate current beekeeping, and to share international informa-
tion. In this paper, we focus on beekeeping in two Asian countries:
Japan and South Korea. After reviewing historical developments of
beekeeping in each country, we analyze the contemporary situation.
The meaning of beekeeping and the demand for honey have
changed over time, which reects a shifting food culture. This paper
examines future challenges and the potential for beekeeping in
each country, and aims to contribute to the sustainable develop-
ment of beekeeping by promoting international partnership. In the
next section, we will present the historical background of
beekeeping in each nation.
2. Traditional beekeeping and honey production
2.1. Japan
In Japan, the oldest record of beekeeping and honey production
can be traced back to the 7th century in Nihon Shoki. At that time,
beekeeping is thought to have been regarded as a magical activity.
There is a record that a historically important person released bees
on Miwa Mountain, which is viewed as a mountain with anthro-
pomorphic qualities [11]. Even today, Miwa Mountain is still a
religiously important site.
Records of beekeeping have been scattered throughout the Mid-
dle Ages, and warfare caused many records to be lost. This is because
during eras when the demand for luxury goods was low, honey from
Japanese bees was abundant in terms of nutrition, but was produced
on a small scale. Thus, production considered necessary for calorie
intake and the cultivation of rice and other cereals were given pri-
ority.Starting in the Edo period, several manuals on beekeeping were
published. These books include knowledge on how to harvest honey
without killing bees and knowledge related to parting honey bee
colonies (Fig. 1).
Japanese bees are characterized by low aggression, and they do
not sting people even if they are touched by hand. A method of
harvesting honey without killing bees was employed due to the low
aggression of Japanese bees. It was a relatively rare way of
beekeeping at the time, when old-style xed nest boxes were
commonly used. Just before the Western honeybee was introduced,
information on traditional Japanese beekeeping, including the
abovementioned technique of honeying, was presented in books
edited for the Expo in Austria in 1873 [11].
The Western honeybee transformed Japanese beekeeping at the
end of the 19th century; beekeeping techniques were also intro-
duced from the United States to Japan at the same time. Because of
the difference in species, Western honeybees, which generate a
high amount of honey, were more actively introduced than Japa-
nese honeybees, which have low production. In the mid-20th
century, after World War II, the demand for honey in the country
increased, and production rapidly expanded by using Western
honeybees [12].
Afterward, domestic honey production fell quickly due to the rise
in imported honey. In recent years, honey production has remained
at the same level against the background of the promotion policies
surrounding beekeeping and the demand for domestic production.
2.2. South Korea
Beekeeping began around 2,000 years ago during the reign of
King Dongmyeonseng of the Kokuryo Kingdom (
BC
37e19) in Korea
[13]. During the Chosun Dynasty (1392e1910), around half of the
counties on the Korean Peninsula engaged in beekeeping [14].
Korean beekeepers have reared two species: (1) the oriental hon-
eybee (Apis cerana), which includes native Korean bees; and (2) the
Western honeybee (Apis mellifera L.), which is exotic and was rst
imported to Korea in the early 1900s [13]. By 2002, exotic bees
accounted for 83% of beehives in South Korea [15]; currently, exotic
bees are dominant there. Native species are usually kept deep in the
mountains, whereas exotic species are kept on the outskirts of
mountainous regions, including agricultural areas [16].
Honey is a valuable product for forest communities as food and
medicine. According to Nongjeonhoiyo (who wrote about the
subject in the 1830s), beekeeping contributes to the livelihood of
forest communities [5]. In the 19th century, a beekeeper with 100
beehives could live comfortably and be rich, even if he did not have
another job [5,17].
Fig. 1. Beekeeping in the Edo period using Japanese honeybees (Apis cerana japonica).
Note: From Nihon Sankai Meibutsu Zue (). Kochi Castle Museum of History (知県史博). Japanese bees are characterized by low aggression, and
they do not attack people even if they are touched. Because of their characteristics, distance between people and the bees are relatively close as described in the gure.
R. Kohsaka et al / Beekeeping and honey production 73
3. The present trend of beekeeping and honey production
3.1. Japan
Japanese honey today depends on Western honeybees. Japanese
and Western bees differ greatly in several respects. Japanese hon-
eybees are less likely to be used by those who make their living
from beekeeping because they do not yield a lot of honey, and it is
difcult to expand production due to Japanese bees' tendency to
escape. However, the Japanese honeybee has characteristics not
found in the Western one, such as resistance to disease, a response
to hornets (heat-killing by enclosing) [18,19], and low aggression.
Western honeybees make several times the amount of honey
that Japanese honeybees do; honey production in Japan was on a
downward trend until 2005. Presently, the production of honey is
relatively stable (Fig. 2).
However, currentlevel is less than half of the level in1985. Since
1985, Japan's honey consumption has depended on imported
goods, and imports nowadays exceed 10 times the quantity of do-
mestic production. Among the countries that import honey, China
imports a relatively high amount (Fig. 2).
The output of beeswax and royal jelly has continued to fall
compared with the production volumes of 1985 and 2005 (Fig. 3);
furthermore, the amount of beeswax generated today is about half
that of 2005. The rapid decline of these two products compared
with honey shows that beekeepers are focusing on making honey,
taking socioeconomic conditions (including domestic demand) into
account.
With the downward trend of beekeeping products (including
honey), the number of households with beekeepers in 2016 is about
the same as it was in 1985, and the number of groups is smaller
than in 1985, but higher than in 2005 (Fig. 4).
There is a limitation in that the denition of statistical data is
not exactly comparable among different periods. However,
although the quantity of beekeeping products is declining, people
who work in the industry might remain stable for the next
30 years.
The fact that production is falling is considered given that the
number of households with beekeepers who are capable of large-
scale production is decreasing. As of 2016, the number of groups
per beekeeper household was about 65% that of 2005.
Like beekeeping products, nectar sources have also tended to
fall, especially oranges, which are decreasing sharply. Among the
main sources of nectar, the reduction speed of acacia is relatively
slow compared with other sources (Fig. 5). As of 2015, oranges were
not necessarily the most productive source of nectar because the
ratio of the honey farm lands and the amount of honeybees that can
access each honey source depend on the types of nectar sources.
Honey from Nagano Prefecture, which yields the most honey,
mainly uses acacia as a nectar source.
The aforementioned statistical data on beekeeping in Japan
show that while beekeeping products and honey sources are falling
in Japan, the number of small-scale beekeepers is rising. In addi-
tion, the historical overview in the Traditional Beekeeping and
Honey Productionsection claried the starting point of the
Fig. 2. Honey production, consumption, imports, and exports in Japan.
Note. From Current trend of beekeeping [Internet],by Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), 2016. Tokyo (Japan): MAFF [cited 2017 March 3].
Available from: http://www.maff.go.jp/j/chikusan/kikaku/lin/sonota/attach/pdf/bee-3.
pdf. [In Japanese] [20]. As a recent trend, the amount imported gradually decrease
and amount of production is stable from the year 1995.
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
140,000
160,000
180,000
1985 1995 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Quantity of beeswax
(unit: kg)
Year
0
2,000
4,000
6,000
8,000
10,000
12,000
14,000
1985 1995 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Quantity of royal jelly
(unit: kg)
Year
Fig. 3. Beeswax and royal jelly production in Japan.
Note. From Current trend of beekeeping [Internet],by Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry an d Fisheries (MAF F), 2016. Tokyo (Japan): MAF F [cited 2017 March 3].
Available from: http://www.maff.go.jp/j/chikusan/kikaku/lin/sonota/attach/pdf/
bee-3.pdf. [In Japanese] [20]. The amount of beeswax and royal jelly production
is decreasing continuously, as compared with the amount of production of bee
honey.
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 72e7974
structural changes in Japanese beekeeping. Since the end of the
19th century, when the Western honeybees were introduced, Jap-
anese beekeeping has shifted dramatically.
3.2. South Korea
Like Japan, in South Korea, current honey production depends
on Western honeybees. There are some reasons for the dominance
of Western bees [5]. Native beekeeping is a stationary practice,
while exotic beehives can be relocated each season in search of a
wide variety of nectar sources. Native bee honey is typically har-
vested once a year, whereas exotic bee honey is harvested several
times a year. Native bees are smaller than exotic ones, which tend to
attack the former.
Domestic honey production has risen and fallen repeatedly. The
quantity of honey production has gradually increased, peaking at
30 million kg in 2003 (Fig. 6). However, it fell sharply due to the
crop failure of black locust-based honey [21], which accounts for
70% of honey production in South Korea; after overcoming crop
failure, it rose again and peaked at 38.5 million kg in 2010. Between
2011 and 2013, it declined by 24.6 million kg.
The value of honey production was around US $100 million in
the early 1990s. In 1998, it declined to US $54 million, and in 2007,
it rose to US $535 million (Fig. 7).
South Korea has been exporting honey since 1982. Until 2006,
the annual amount of exported honey was under 10,000 kg. In
2013, it peaked at 77,000 kg (Fig. 8). Considering the quantity of
honey production and the amount of exported honey in 2013, 99%
of all honey produced in South Korea is consumed domestically.
Honey has been imported since 1963. Until 1994, the annual
amount of imported honey was under 50,000 kg. Since 1995, the
imported quantity of honey has grown and peaked at around 1.2
million kg in 2005. The sharp increase in imported honey may have
been caused by the failure to harvest it in 2004.
Since 1961, the total number of beehives has gradually risen
(Fig. 9). Starting in the late 1990s, this gure increased rapidly and
peaked at 2,089,762 in 2005. However, it declined to 1,531,609 by
2011. The number of beehives of A. cerana has continuously fallen
0
2,000
4,000
6,000
8,000
10,000
12,000
1985 1995 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
No. of households with
beekeepers
Year
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
1985 1995 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
No. of bee colonies
(000')
Year
Fig. 4. Number of households with beekeepers and bee colonies in Japan.
Note. From Current trend of beekeeping [Internet],by Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), 2016. Tokyo (Japan): MAFF [cited 2017 March 3].
Available from: http://www.maff.go.jp/j/chikusan/kikaku/lin/sonota/attach/pdf/bee-3.
pdf. [In Japanese] [20]. The number of households with beekeepers and bee colonies
is gradually increasing, and this trend is in contrast to the trend of the production of
bee honey and other related products.
Fig. 5. Areas of individual nectar sources in Japan.
Note. From Current trend of beekeeping [Internet],by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), 2016. Tokyo (Japan): MAFF [cited 2017 March 3]. Available from:
http://www.maff.go.jp/j/chikusan/kikaku/lin/sonota/attach/pdf/bee-3.pdf. [In Japanese] [20]. Beekeeping in Japan depends on diverse nectar sources, and areas of othersources
are stable from the year 2010, although orange as nectar source is decreasing.
R. Kohsaka et al / Beekeeping and honey production 75
(Fig. 10). The number of beehives of A. mellifera grew from 1996 to
2005, then declined and slightly increased in both 2006 and 2015.
Since 1996, the number of total beekeepers (beekeeping
households) has gradually fallen (Fig. 11). The number of total
beekeepers peaked at 45,131 in 2002 and declined to 19,387 in 2011.
The overall number of total beekeepers rearing more than 300
beehives was 93 in 1996, and rose to 2,788 in 2015 [24]. The number
of beekeepers of A. cerana (native species) has continuously
decreased. The number of beekeepers of A. mellifera (exotic species)
grew from 1996 to 2002, declined starting in 2003, and rose once
again starting in 2011. Between 2010 and 2011, the numbers of both
total beekeepers and beekeepers of native bees fell rapidly.
As shown in the gures, there is a trend in which the number of
beehives rises and the number of beekeepers falls over time in
South Korea. The ratio of beekeepers with small-scale businesses
(under 50 hives) decreased from 94.9% in 1990 to 45.9% by 2015,
whereas the ratio of beekeepers with large-scale operations (over
300 hives) expanded from 0.024% in 1990 to 12.4% by 2015
(Table 1). The ratio of beehives with small-scale businesses
declined from 66.1% in 1990 to 8.5% by 2015, whereas the ratio of
beehives with large-scale operations rose from 1.1% in 1990 to
34.7% by 2015. This change indicates that since 1990, the size of
beekeeping enterprises has grown in South Korea.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) was a major honey plant in
the 1960s. However, in the 1970s, agricultural elds for buckwheat
decreased due to reforestation activities and the expansion of irri-
gation facilities [21].Theowers of buckwheat and bush clover fell
sharply. Currently, four speciesdchestnut (Castanea crenata), the
Korean cherry (Prunus tomentasa), bicolor bush clover (Lespedeza
bicolor), and black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)dare pollen plants
[26]. Black locust has been a major honey plant since the 1950s.
4. Current issues and possibilities for sustainable beekeeping
and honey production
4.1. Japan
The decline in the number of beekeepers and bee colonies has
created a high dependency on imported honey while also leading
to a shortage of pollinators in agriculture. The self-sufciency rate
of agricultural products in Japan is relatively low. The seriousness of
issues related to beekeeping (including the lack of pollinators) has
reduced agriculture's resilience in Japan.
The number of large-scale beekeeping enterprises is shrinking,
but the quantity of small-scale beekeeping companiesand individual
beekeepers who pursue beekeeping as a hobby remains relatively
stable. As the people involved in beekeeping become diversied,
pollinators can be supplied even in areas where beekeeping has not
been done so far. Consequently,the diversication of beekeeping can
contribute to a widerrange of pollination. As the total number of bees
continues to fall, placing beekeeping in appropriate areas can
contribute to solving the shortage of pollinators.
There are few beekeepers in urban areas. However, cities pro-
vide environments that correlate with the genetic diversity of bees
[4], as activities like Ginza beein the heart of Tokyo have spread
to cities across the country. By conducting beekeeping in urban
areas, consumers' attention is drawn to the activity and products
are also brand named. As for Japanese bees, because they do not
Fig. 6. The quantity of honey production in South Korea.
Note. From 2013 Food balance sheet [Internet],by Korea Rural Economic Institute, 2014 [cited 2017 May 8]. Available from: http://library.krei.re.kr/dl_images/001/038/E05-2014.
pdf. [In Korean] [22].
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004*
2005*
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Value of honey production
(unit: millions of US dollars)
Year
Fig. 7. The value of honey production in South Korea.* The estimated value by the FAO.
Note. From FAOSTAT [Internet],by FAO. Geneva (Switzerland): FAO [cited 2017 May
8]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/ [23].
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 72e7976
produce large amounts of honey, branding is carried out based on
their rarity and characteristics as a native species. Because Japanese
bees are easy to touch directly with the hands, theyare also used in
environmental education.
Nagano Prefecture, which has expanded production to meet the
needs of Japanese honey, has diverse ecosystems ranging from
plains to mountains. The prefecture is geographically long,
stretching from north to south. Nagano provides relatively diverse
honey sources, and produces the most honey in the whole country.
Beekeeping techniques are mainly passed from parent to child
and among different generations. However, policies such as the
hybridization of bees and ways of feeding them differ in each
generation, so updating is simultaneously carried out while tech-
niques are taught.
4.2. South Korea
In the 2010s, the quantity of honey production gradually
declined. In the 2000s, the harvesting of honey failed several times.
Because of a strange climate including unseasonably cool temper-
atures and early owering, nectar volume fell [21]. The decrease in
black locusts as a major honey plant caused honey production to
shrink [27]. However, the self-sufciency rate of honey has been
over 95% since 2005 [28]. In 2010, the number of beehives and
beekeepers rose slightly. In contrast to the situation in Japan, the
number of large-scale beekeeping businesses expanded from 1990
to 2015.
Fig. 8. Imported and exported quantities of honey in South Korea.
Note. From FAOSTAT [Internet],by FAO. Geneva (Switzerland): FAO [cited 2017 May 8]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/ [23].
0
500,000
1,000,000
1,500,000
2,000,000
2,500,000
1961
1964
1967
1970
1973
1976
1979
1982
1985
1988
1991
1994
1997
2000
2003
2006
2009
2012
No. of beehives
Year
Fig. 9. The number of beehives in South Korea.
Note. From FAOSTAT [Internet],by FAO. Geneva (Switzerland): FAO [cited 2017 May
8]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/ [23].
0
500,000
1,000,000
1,500,000
2,000,000
2,500,000
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
No. of beehives
Year
Total Apis cerana Apis mellifera
Fig. 10. The number of beehives in South Korea.
Note. From Major statistics of agriculture,by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs, 2015. Sejong (Republic of Korea): Ministry of Agriculture, Food and RuralAffairs
[24].
0
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
25,000
30,000
35,000
40,000
45,000
50,000
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
No. of beekeepers
Year
Total Apis cerana Apis mellifera
Fig. 11. The number of beekeepers in South Korea.
Note. From Major statistics of agriculture,by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs, 2015. Sejong (Republic of Korea): Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
[24].
R. Kohsaka et al / Beekeeping and honey production 77
Like in Japan, urban beekeeping has emerged in South Korea.
The number of beekeepers and beehives in seven metropolitan
cities (Seoul, Incheon, Daegu, Busan, Ulsan, Daejeon, and Gwangju)
was slightly increased between 2009 (1,650 beekeepers and
192,672 beehives) and 2015 (1,896 beekeepers and 198,383 bee-
hives) [29,30]. Urban beekeeping enterprises have been recently
established. Urban Bees Seoul, an urban beekeeping corporation,
was founded in 2012; this corporation harvested honey and pro-
vided training programs on beekeeping [31]. The city of Seoul
carried out a project titled Urban Beekeeping for Disabled People
in 2013 and 2014. The project provided jobs related to beekeeping
and contributed to enhancing social welfare [31].
Native beekeeping techniques are transferred mainly from older
generations to younger ones in South Korea [5]. Recently, the South
Korean government has introduced policies to strategically revi-
talize beekeeping. In 2010, the government launched comprehen-
sive policies to facilitate the beekeeping industry as a life industry
for sustainable and green growth [27]. These policies include
planting honey plants and developing honeybee species, support-
ing beekeeping associations, as well as modernizing beekeeping
methods and equipment.
5. Discussion and conclusion
Honey is a signicant ethnic food in Japan and South Korea.
Currently, multiple functions of beekeeping are emphasized such as
pollination, environmental education, and community develop-
ment [31]. The two countries share some similarities (and also have
differences) regarding the status of beekeeping. In this paper, we
summarized three characteristics of beekeeping in Japan and South
Korea, as described in the following sections.
5.1. The dominance of Western honeybees
The introduction of Western honeybees signicantly changed
the structure of beekeeping in Japan and South Korea. For economic
and physical reasons, Western honeybees are dominant in the two
countries. Compared with Western honeybees, native ones are
more sensitive to the environment, including forest resources and
chemical pesticides. Therefore, protecting native bees contributes
to ecologically sound, sustainable forestry [5].
5.2. Producing and trading honey
Honey production in Japan fell by half between 1985 and 1995.
Since that time, the quantity of imported honey has increased two
times. Honey production grew between 1995 and 2010, except for
two years (2001 and 2009, respectively) when the harvesting of
honey failed. In South Korea, production has declined since 2011.
The quantity of imported honey has risen since 1995. In 2004 and
2005, the amount of imported honey increased two times. This may
have been caused by the domestic failure to harvest honey due to
the strange climate. The changes in domestic honey production and
imported honey indicate that the domestic and global markets are
closely linked in Japan and South Korea.
5.3. Diversity and sustainability of beekeeping
As part of a new trend, people have carried out beekeeping as a
hobby and an environmental educational activity in urban areas of
Japan and South Korea. To develop beekeeping as an industry,
beekeepers are becoming entrepreneurs and practicing new ac-
tivities such as education and spreading regional brands, as well as
traditional methods. The diversity of people involved in beekeeping
as well as the methods should be considered as a basis to support
the sustainability of beekeeping and agriculture. In terms of
regional brands, hobbies, and education, there are efforts to
reevaluate the storyline of beekeeping in the history of the regions.
Beekeeping products including honey, which are traded across re-
gions, share a story that involves several regions. Sharing this story
with stakeholders, including producers and consumers, is the
starting point of their regional brand debates. The history cultivated
by local ecosystems and social/economic factors provides the po-
tential for future growth while prescribing the development path of
diverse beekeeping. If we can develop beekeeping using diverse
approaches, it can help form the foundation that supports the di-
versity of agriculture and food culture. In such trajectory, sustain-
ability of agriculture and food system based on regional culture can
be enhanced, and traditional beekeeping and honey production in
Japan and South Korea can be retained in diverse approach of
beekeeping.
Conicts of interest
The authors declare no conicts of interest.
Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers
JP26360062; JP16KK0053; JP17K02105; Environment Research and
Technology Development Fund [S-15-2(3) Predicting and Assessing
Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services (PANCES)] of the Ministry of
the Environment, Japan; Research Institute for Humanity and Na-
ture [No. 14200126]; Heiwa Nakajima Foundation [2016]; Asahi
Group Foundation [A17B-031]; Kurita Water and Environment
Foundation [16C003]; the KU Research Professor Program of Kon-
kuk University, Republic of Korea.
Table 1
The percentage of beekeepers and hives in apicultural management.
Hive 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
BHBHBHBHBHBH
1e9 69.4 22.6 62.4 13.5 51.8 7.0 39.8 3.2 33.0 2.0 17.4 0.8
10e49 25.5 43.5 27.8 31.5 30.8 20.6 32.7 13.4 29.3 9.4 28.5 7.7
50e99 4.0 21.6 6.0 22.2 8.4 17.7 10.9 13.6 14.4 13.6 17.9 13.3
100e199 0.9 9.8 3.0 21.3 5.9 26.3 8.9 22.0 12.5 23.0 16.8 24.8
200e299 0.1 1.3 0.6 7.4 2.0 15.0 4.0 17.8 5.4 17.7 7.1 18.6
300e499 0.02 0.5 0.2 2.9 1.0 10.6 2.8 19.6 4.0 20.6 5.1 20.4
500e999 0.002 0.4 0.012 0.5 0.1 2.6 0.7 8.0 1.3 11.0 1.8 11.8
>1,000 0.002 0.2 0.007 0.8 0.012 0.3 0.058 2.5 0.1 2.6 5.5 2.5
Note. B: Beekeepers, H: Beehives. From Present status of Korean beekeeping industry,by M.Y. Lee, I.P. Hong, Y.S. Choi, N.S. Kim, H.K. Kim, K.G. Lee and M.L. Lee, 2010, Korean J
Apic, 25, p. 137e44 [25] and Major statistics of agriculture,by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 2015. Sejong (Republic of Korea): Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs [24].
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 72e7978
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R. Kohsaka et al / Beekeeping and honey production 79
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... There was a significant decline in the prevalence of native beekeeping in Japan until 2005, determined by an increasing reliance on imported honey (more than ten times greater than domestic supplies) [26]. This was not only due to a decline in beekeeping as a profession, but also a decline in nectar sources, especially orange trees [26]. This reduction in pollinators has reduced the pollination services provided to cultivated crops, thus negatively affecting yield and quality of produce [26]. ...
... This was not only due to a decline in beekeeping as a profession, but also a decline in nectar sources, especially orange trees [26]. This reduction in pollinators has reduced the pollination services provided to cultivated crops, thus negatively affecting yield and quality of produce [26]. ...
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As an effective counterattack strategy against predacious hornets, especiallyVespa simillima xanthoptera, workers ofApis cerana japonica showed a distinct balling reaction, usually involving 180–300 bees. This produced heat for as long as 20 min, giving rise to temperatures inside the ball higher than 46C, which is lethal to the hornet but not to the bees.
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