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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 22(2); 2013 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2013;22(2): 579-616.
doi: https://doi.org/10.13081/kjmh.2013.22.579
식민지시기 ‘의학’ ‘지식’과 조선의 ‘전통’: 쿠도(工藤武城)의 “婦人科學”적 지식을 중심으로
'Medical Knowledge' and 'Tradition' of Colonial Korea: Focused on Kudo's "Gynecology"-based Knowledge
Yang Hee Hong
Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, College of Humanities, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. yangheeh@gmail.com
Received: April 8, 2013;  Accepted: May 4, 2013.  Published online: August 31, 2013.
This article attempts to illuminate the ways in which Kudo's medical knowledge based on 'gynecological science' constructed the cultural 'traditions' of colonial Korea. Kudo appears to have been quite an influential figure in colonial Korea in that his writings on the relationship between women's crime, gynecological science and the Choson society granted a significant amount of intellectual authority. Here, I examine Kudo's position within colonial Korea as a producer and propagator of medical knowledge, and then see how women's bodies were understood according to his gynecological knowledge. It also traces the ways in which Kudo's gynecological knowledge represents Choson society and in turn invents the 'traditions' of Chosn. Kudo's knowledge of "gynecology" which had been formed while it traveled the states such as Japan, Germany and France served as an important reference for his representation of colonial Korean society. Kudo was a proponent of biological evolution, particularly the rules of 'atavism' put forth by the criminal anthropologist Cesare Lombroso, and argued that an unique social environment caused 'alteration of sexual urges' and primitive cruelty in Choson women. According to Kudo, The social environment was none other than the practice of 'early marriage,' which went against the physiology of women. To Kudo, 'early marriage' was an old 'tradition' of Choson and the cause of heinous crimes, as well as an unmistakable indicator of both the primitiveness and savageness of Chosn. While Lombroso considered personal factors such as stress as the cause of women's crimes, Kudo saw Choson women's crimes as a national characteristic. Moreover, he compared the occurrence rate of husband murders by provinces, based on which he categorized the northern population of Choson as barbaric Manchurian and the southern population as the superior Japanese, a combination of racism and scientific knowledge. Kudo's writings provide an insight into the appropriation of Western medical theories and criminal anthropological knowledge by a non-Western colony as well as the ambivalence and contradictions underlying Japanese empire as in the use of concepts like 'difference' and 'unity.' According to today's standards, Kudo's physiological arguments can hardly avoid being called pseudo science, which confirms that the power and authority of science standing on 'objectivity' and 'universality' are actually dependent on social contexts that are constantly being readjusted. In the end, the cultural 'traditions' of a nation/state often taken for granted are social constructions born out of transnational crossing points of knowledges, and on the basis of these constructs are the concepts of differences between nations/states. And one of the core references for these differences in colonial Korea was Western science/medical knowledge.
Key Words: Kudo, medical knowledge, Gynecology, tradition, early marriage, criminal anthropology, Cesare Lombroso, women's body, husband murder, transnational circulation of knowledge
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