Korean J Med Hist.  2006 Dec;15(2):227-236.

A Study on the General Public Understanding and Utilization of Korean Traditional Medicine in Colonial Period

  • 1Department of Nursing, Sangji University College of Health Sciences, Korea.


During Colonial Period, Western Medicine was introduced, and due to the lean-to-one-side policy by the Japanese, Western Medicine became the mainstream medical science while Oriental Medicine was pushed to the outskirts. The general public in colonial period got help from medical profession after they tried something they could do at home when they got sick or injured. There were differences to get help from western or traditional medicine according to their economic status, living area, and educational status, the character of disease or injury, etc. In general, public made more use of traditional medicine than western medicine. Although the traditional medicine had better regional and economic approach, there was another important factor that made the general public prefer traditional medicine to western medicine. The general public had strong belief in the treatment of traditional medicine. There was no strong belief that western medicine was better in scientific ground and modern than oriental medicine. In spite of their general preference for traditional medicine, the general public had some conflict in everyday choice on medicine. The belief of relatives, personal experience, economic status, the character of the disease made the conflict possible. Sometime the general public chose both traditional and western medicine altogether.


Traditional Medicine; Western Medicine; Colonial Period; General Public

MeSH Terms

Western World/history
Medicine, Oriental Traditional/*history
History, 20th Century
*Attitude to Health
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