Biomedicine and public health have different meanings for different people. With South Korea's economic success and democratization after the Korean War (1950–53), labor power and infrastructure in biomedicine rapidly grew. In his book, Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, Health, and Nation-Building in South Korea since 1945, author John DiMoia provides snapshots of six different biomedicine stories to evaluate the changing culture of health and disease as a reflection of South Korean nation building since 1945.

In chapter 1, the author outlines Korean health conditions before biomedicine advanced. He argues that at the end of Japanese colonialism (1910–45), biomedicine was limited to some urban centers, and “traditional Korean medicine” (TKM) met most of the health demands of Koreans. The story of the Byun family is introduced to show how practitioners of indigenous medicine struggled to survive the transitions in polities from the Japanese colonial...

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