Japan vigorously enforced wide-ranging developmental policies in colonial Korea, including a “green revolution” and an industrialization drive. Why did then colonial per capita food availability decline? Simulations using a dynamic general equilibrium model indicate that tax raises, which financed expanding public investment, did not lower, but raised consumption levels over time by accelerating accumulation. Food consumption fell because these policy efforts were inadequate to defeat population explosion initiated by a health campaign. The interwar agricultural depression exacerbated this Malthusian situation. Nevertheless, interwar Korean consumption trend compares favorably with most other rice producers, where the level of government intervention appeared suboptimal.