Korean J Med Hist.  2019 Aug;28(2):509-550. 10.13081/kjmh.2019.28.509.

Statistics and Colonial Medicine: A Doubt and Controversy on Tuberculosis Statistics in Colonial Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of History of Medicine, Yonsei University, Korea. crimsonpeony@hanmail.net

Abstract

This paper focuses on the criticism of tuberculosis statistics published by the Japanese Government-general in colonial Korea and a research on the reality of tuberculosis prevalence by medical doctors from the Department of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at Keijo Imperial University (DHPMK). Recent studies have shown that colonial statistics shape the image of colonial subjects and justify the control to them. Following this perspective, this paper explores the process of producing the statistical knowledge of tuberculosis by medical scientists from DHPMK. Their goal was to find out the resistance to tuberculosis as biological characteristics of Korean race/ethnicity. In order to do so, they demonstrated the existence of errors in tuberculosis statistics by the Korean colonial government and devised a statistical method to correct them based on the conviction that the Western modern medicine was superior than Korean traditional medicine as well as the racist bias against Korean. By analyzing how the statistical concepts reflected these prejudices, this paper argues that the statistical knowledge of tuberculosis created images that Japanese people was healthier and stronger than the Korean people and justified the colonial government's control over Korean.

Keyword

Tuberculosis; colonial statistics; Keijo Imperial University; colonial Korea; hygiene; vitality; disease resistance; antituberculosis movement
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