Medical Education in East Asia: Past and Future

Medical Education in East Asia: Past and Future

Medical Education in East Asia: Past and Future

Medical Education in East Asia: Past and Future


Pivotal to Asia's future will be the robustness of its medical universities. Lessons learned in the past and the challenges facing these schools in the future are outlined in this collection, which offers valuable insights for other medical education systems as well. The populations in these rapidly growing countries rely on healthcare systems that can vigorously respond to the concerns of shifting demographics, disease, and epidemics. The collected works focus on the education of physicians and health professionals, policy debates, cooperative efforts, and medical education reform movements.


Bong-Min Yang, Keizo Takemi, and Yang Ke

Any assessment of contemporary medicine in East Asia must first recognize the extraordinary gains countries in the region—China, Japan, and South Korea—have achieved in extending life expectancy over the course of the past century. Our April 2014 conference on Medical Education in East Asia: Past and Future, celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the China Medical Board (CMB). the sixty scholars, academics, and participants rightfully took pride in markers of success: average life expectancy of eighty-four years in Japan, eighty in South Korea, and seventy-five in China. East Asia is indisputably among the healthiest societies in the world—a triumph for a region shaped by war, political upheaval, and poverty in the twentieth century.

Many factors contribute to this success. Undeniable are the roles of political stability and economic growth, especially of the past half-century. the diffusion of modern medical sciences, professional practice, and national health systems is another major driver. the growth and development of the medical education systems in each of our countries have been profound and dramatic. Today, China, Japan, and South Korea have fairly advanced medical educational systems to produce the health professionals required for sound national health systems. All three countries are engaged in global discussions on the best means to enhance the training of twenty-first-century health professionals.

Our conference certainly provided a unique opportunity for South Korea, Japan, and China to look back on each other’s medical education development during last five decades. Through the conference, all three commonly came to realize and appreciate the invaluable inputs that cmb provided in the beginning stage of development, particularly in terms of manpower training, educational materials, and even buildings for education and libraries. This conference also enabled us to look ahead, and consider what kind of contributions these three countries could offer to regional and global health.

Conference presenters took stock of conditions in the early twentieth century and then traced the evolution of medical education in Greater China, Japan, and Korea over the course of a dynamic century. the papers in this volume apply three lenses to this study: each jurisdiction’s changing domestic social structures and political regimes; the nature of East Asian relationships; and the flow of Western influences, carried through the work of medical missionaries . . .

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