Korean J Med Hist.  1994 Dec;3(2):170-192.

The Korean Doctors Who Studied Medicine Abroad

Affiliations
  • 1Catholic University Medical College, Kee's Dental Clinic, Korea.

Abstract

Chi Seok-Young was the first Korean to go abroad to study the western medicine. In Japan, he studied it for approximately 4 months from May to September 1880. He did not go through the curriculum in its entirity but was able to bring back knowledge in the western medicine nevertheless. Seo Jae-Pil, who exiled to the United States as the result of Kapsin coup failure in December 1884, was the next to study the medicine abroad. He enrolled at the Columbian University School of Medicine in 1889 and completed requirements in March 1892, becoming the first Korean doctor in the western medicine. In 1896, Kim Ik-Nam enrolled Jikeikai Hospital Medical School in Japan after passing 1895 government-sponsored qualification examination to study abroad in Japan. He graduated in November 1899 and received a license to practice medicine from the Ministry of Education in Japan. And in 1902, Ahn Sang-Ho also graduated from Jikeikai Hospital Medical School. In 1896, Kim Jum-Dong(Esther Park) accompanied Dr RS Hall, who was an American woman doctor serving as a missionary for Methodist Church, to the United States and enrolled Baltimore Women's Medical College in October 1st of the same year. She graduated in 1900 and became the first Korean woman to a Doctorate of Medicine. Thereafter in 1902, an American Southern Presbyterian Church missionary Dr Alexander who was assigned to Kunsan, recommended on O Geung-Sun to travel to the United States and he subsequently enrolled at Louisville University School of Medicine in March 1904. He returned after graduation in 1907 and became the third Korean to receive a Doctorate of Medicine in the United States. In 1899, the first Western Medical School(Eui-hak-kyo) was established in Korea. Its curricula were essentially an abbreviated version of the Japanese. Therefore, as a medical educational entity, a significant difference from the Japanese system was inevitable. Because of this shortcoming, its graduates were not given much credibility. Therefore, some of the more ambitious graduates went abroad to study in Japan or Germany. There were instances where some went abroad to Britain. Similarly, total of 11 students went to the United States either through the recommendation of Christian missionary doctors or as teaching faculties of the Severance Medical College. The first Korean to travel to Germany to study pathological microbiology was Yu Il-Jun in July 1921. And Lee Suk-Shin followed Yu's course in August of the same year, Lee Sung-yong in September 1921, Yun Chi-Hyung in 1922, Park Ju-Byung in 1923, Jeong Suk-Tae in 1924, and Ahn Nam-Gyu in 1925, etc. And in Britain, Yun Chi-Wang earned a Doctorate of Medicine from Glasgow university. In Japan, prior to 1910, some students such as Kim Ik-Nam, Ahn Sang-Ho, Park Jong-Sun and Kang Dong-Ok studied the western medicine. Since 1910 until 1945, total of 369 Korean students, including 268 men and 101 women received their degrees in Medicine, and 166 doctors were granted Doctor of Medical Science degree in Japan. The table below shows the numbers of Korean who got degrees in Medicine(M.D) and degrees in Doctor of Medical Science(D.M.Sc) from some medical colleges in Japan.

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