It's madness : the politics of mental health in colonial Korea / Theodore Jun Yoo.

  • Yoo, Theodore Jun, 1972-
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

It is madness


"It's Madness examines Korea's critical years under Japanese colonialism when mental health first became defined as a medical and social problem. As in most Asian countries, severe social ostracism, shame, and fear of jeopardizing marriage prospects drove most Korean families to conceal the mentally ill behind closed doors. This book explores the impact of Chinese traditional medicine and its holistic approach to treating mental disorders, the resilience of folk illnesses as explanations for inappropriate and dangerous behaviors, the emergence of clinical psychiatry as a discipline, and the competing models of care under the Japanese colonial authorities and Western missionary doctors. It also analyzes interpretations of culture-bound emotional states that Koreans have viewed as specific to their interpersonal relationships, social experiences, local contexts, and the new medical discourses that the Korean press adopted to reshape social understandings of mental illness. Drawing upon unpublished archival as well as printed sources, this is the first study to examine the ways in which "madness" has been understood, classified, and treated in traditional Korea and the role of science in pathologizing and redefining mental illness under Japanese colonial rule"--Provided by publisher.


Oakland, California : University of California Press, [2016]

Physical description

xii, 225 pages, 2 unnumbered pages of plates : black and white illustrations ; 24 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 197-212) and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780520289307
  • 0520289307