Books Related to Acupuncture Published in North Korea

북한의 침구학 서적에 대한 개괄적 연구

  • Kim, Jong-hyun (Department of Medical Classics and History, College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University) ;
  • Kim, Song-Yi (Department of Anatomy and Acupoint, College of Korean Medicine, Gachon University)
  • 김종현 (가천대학교 한의과대학 원전의사학교실) ;
  • 김송이 (가천대학교 한의과대학 해부경혈학교실)
  • Received : 2020.11.20
  • Accepted : 2020.12.08
  • Published : 2020.12.27


Objectives : This study was conducted to introduce the types and contents of books related to acupuncture published in North Korea that can be identified in South Korea, and to understand the general characteristics of North Korean acupuncture. Methods : Firstly, we identified books related to acupuncture in the Information Center on North Korea of the National Library of Korea. Specialized books on treatment interventions such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, electrotherapy, and manual therapy including acupressure which stimulate acupoints were included in the study. Two authors reviewed the title, table of contents, and contents of each book in the order of publication year for the searched books. Based on this, the characteristics and trends of North Korean acupuncture were comprehensively examined. Results : The included 18 books were published between 1964 and 2018. One of them was considered a Chinese book translated into Korean and published in China, and another was a North Korean book republished by a South Korean publisher. Except for these, all were published in North Korea, two of which were translations of Chinese books. Most of them were books on the theory and clinical applications of acupuncture, but some of them focused on specific treatment interventions such as auricular acupuncture, fire needling, manual therapy, cupping, or electrotherapy. Also, there was a book about the mechanism of acupuncture analgesia in a neurophysiological way. Conclusions : Since the mid-1960s, North Korea has been steadily attempting to combine acupuncture and Western medicine by applying the disease name and classification system of Western medicine, using modern diagnostic technique, and explaining the mechanism of acupuncture based on the latest research. After the 2000s, the standard international acupuncture nomenclature by World Health Organization was used. In recent years, there has been a tendency to publish and widely disseminate specialized books on non-pharmacological treatment such as cupping, electrotherapy, and fire needling.


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