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醫    史    學    2012년 12월 (제21권 제3호)


Korean J Med Hist.    2012 Dec; 21(3): 377-402



조선총독부의 우두정책과 두창의 지속
A Study on the Anti-smallpox Policy of Joseon Government-General


PARK Yunjae

언어 Language



Departmemt of History, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, KOREA. Tel: 82-2-961-9271/ E-mail:


In the beginning of the colonial era, the Joseon Government-General's most important medical policy was related to the disease of smallpox. The Government-General reused some of policies established by the Great Han Empire. They also made an effort to improve the shortcomings in that anti-smallpox policy by phasing out technically insufficient vaccinators and by incubating female vaccinators. However, compulsory vaccination was the major component of the Government-General’s anti-smallpox policy. The vaccination effort was lead by police officers and the frequency of vaccinations was increased two-fold. When the anti-smallpox policy became effective in 1910, the incidence of smallpox decreased. However, after 1919, the incidence of smallpox began to increase once more. According to the Government-General, this increase was the result of a decrease in the frequency of vaccinations. Therefore, in 1923, the Government-General increased the frequency of vaccinations from twice to three times by implementing the Joseon Cowpox Ordinance. Under this policy adults were also vaccinated. Interventions by local organizations were also expanded. However, through the end of the colonial era, smallpox never fully disappeared in Joseon. The lower-than-expected rate of vaccination has been identified as one of important reasons for the constant presence of this pathogenesis. Incomplete census registration was identified as the major reason for the decrease in the vaccination rate. Insufficient technologies for disseminating the smallpox vaccine and ambiguity with regard to the vaccine’s effectiveness also prevented the people of Joseon from voluntarily obtaining their vaccinations. To increase the rate of vaccination, it was necessary to secure the cooperation of Koreans. However, that cooperation has never been harmonious. No records exist of any discussions related to the problem of smallpox or the effect of the anti-smallpox vaccination, which was a reasonable expectation for the citizens of Joseon. Moreover, the Government-General kept insisting that the Joseon citizens’ ideas about the need for sanitary and effective vaccinations were insufficient. The sought-after cooperation was never easy, and this resulted in the extensive duration of outbreaks of smallpox.


Anti-smallpox Vaccination, Smallpox, Joseon Government-General, Census Registration, Sanitary Thought


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