Korean J Med Hist.  2013 Dec;22(3):713-758.

Anti-Tuberculosis Policy of the Government General of Korea during Japanese-Colonial Period (1910-1945): From Simple Restriction to Active Enlightenment

  • 1Institute of Medical History and Culture, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. qchoiek@gmail.com


In this paper, I tried to examine the characteristic of anti-tuberculosis policy in colonial Korea and find out internal constraint of hygienic administration by Japanese government during Japanese-Colonial Period. Despite of high prevalence of tuberculosis among Japanese in Korea, the Japanese Government General of Korea had done almost nothing until 1936. Japan's hygienic administration was highly dependent upon hygienic police, and mainly with compulsory isolation and disinfection. It was inefficient in tuberculosis problem. In 1918, Japanese Government General enacted 'Ordinance of Prevention of Tuberculosis', solely based upon naive tuberculosis etiology in sputum; consisted of simple crackdown and isolation and had no effect due to the limit of anti-tuberculosis and health budget. Also the ordinance actually set limitation upon the tuberculosis facilities, only a few health care facilities could be affordable for tuberculosis patients. Since 1936, the Japanese Government General of Korea began tuberculosis prevention measures in earnest. Due to the Second Sino- Japanese War and World War II, there was urgent need to make Korean society and population as "safe, and healthy rear area". The Government organized 'Chosen Anti-tuberculosis Association' and highly pursued enlightment campaign. It was almost temporary measures of enlightenment and publicity. Also various types of health screening and tuberculosis prevalence research were introduced to Korean people. But it was not so effective to identify tuberculosis problem in Korea. Mass tuberculin test and X-ray test was introduced, but it was not well organized and scientifically designed. Besides, tuberculosis treatment facility was extremely rare because of strict isolation and high standard policy. Japanese Governemtn set numerous tuberculosis-counseling centers and mobilized public doctor for consulting tuberculosis, but the accessibility of centers was very low. Moreover, there was no source to establish facilities like sanatorium. The Japanese Government General of Korea was constantly suffered from limit of budget and a lot of Japanese in Korea had no inherent motive for installing sanatorium and anti-tuberculosis measures. As the result, the effort made by Japanese Government General of Korea to diminish tuberculosis in Korea failed during the wartime.


tuberculosis; hygienic administration during Japanese-Colonial Period; sanatorium; tuberculosis consulting center; tuberculin test; X-ray test

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Delivery of Health Care
Mass Screening
Tuberculin Test
World War II
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