Korean J Med Hist.  2010 Jun;19(1):45-68.

The Trend and Prospect of Studies in the Modern History of Medicine in Korea

  • 1Department of Medical History, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, 134 Shinchon-Dong, Seodaemun-Ku, Seoul, Korea. wowbbona@hanmail.net


The Korean Journal of Medical History published in 1992 provides spaces for publication to medical historians who have been growing increasingly since the 1990s, thereby stimulating studies in the modern history of medicine in Korea. Through research published in the Korean Journal of Medical History and other journals, the course through which medicine in Korea in the modern times has been formed and the content of medicine that composed that course are elucidated. This article concludes that the various research tend to posit the view that the modern history of medicine in Korea evolves through a process of accommodation with Western medicine rather than being a complete transplantation of Western medicine, and describes medicine as it is viewed by consumers rather than the operators of medicine. How government power or colonial power utilized medicine in order to stabilize their rule is also a common theme. Now, it is come time to interrogate the viewpoints and analytical methods of medical history studies. Given that medicine is one area that drives changes in Korea in contemporary times, the outcomes obtained through this field can be sufficiently utilized when studying other areas. For instance, agony over the modernity of missionary medicine being studied recently provides meaningful implications in understanding the modernity of Korea. However, the importance of substantiation should not be overlooked as theories not supported by thorough documentary evidence are weak.


Korean Journal of Medical History; Western Medicine; Traditional Korean Medicine; Colonial Rule; Modernity

MeSH Terms

History, 20th Century
Social Change
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