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Uisahak. 2012 Dec;21(3):551-92.

[Jeong Jongmyung, a Korean feminist and midwife of Japanese colonial period].

[Article in Korean]

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  • 1Department of Nursing Science, Sang ji University, Wonju, Gangwon-do, Korea.


Jeong Jongmyung (1896-?) was born in Seoul and could have 4 years of formal education in a missionary girls' school. She learned Chinese writing, English, Korean, Japanese, History, Geography, and Science there, which was very rare and high education for Korean girls. But she had to quit it for poverty, and married when she was 17. Her marriage was unhappy and her husband died after 3 years. Jeong entered Severance Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1917 to have economic independence. During her training for 3 years, she studied western science and medicine and learned how to cooperate with other working girls. In 1919, Korean launched Samil Independence Movement. Jeong helped other independence activists as a nursing student and her mother had to be in prison for 3 years. After graduation, she entered the Midwifery School of General Hospital of Government General of Korea to have better position than nurse. As soon as she got midwifery license, she opened her own clinic which gave her social respect income, because there were only 25 Korean midwives in Korea. In 1922 Jeong established and became the leader of the Support Group for Working Girl Students. She continuously established and leaded social movement organizations, in 1924, the Korean Association of Nurses and the Women Comrades Society, in 1926 Jeongwoohoe, in 1927 Geunwoohoe and Shinganghoi. From 1923 Jeong got more fame by public speeches. The main contents of them were the women's problem in Korea. As the first Korean woman communist, she analyzed the Korean society and women's problem as a communist and insisted that the women's liberation movement should be gained in class struggle in cooperation with the proletariat. She was very active and aggressive in public lecture, and in everyday lives, Jeong was so warm hearted and eager to help other activists with her energy and income, so others called her their "sister, housemaid, lover, and mother". The Japanese rulers oppressed her by stopping or forbidding her lectures. In 1931 Jeong was prosecuted for the trial of reconstruction of communist party in Korea. She was sentenced to be guilty and had to be in prison until 1935. Even in prison, she helped other prisoners in labor and continued her job as a midwife after discharge. Jeong could not be active as before because of the worse ruling policy than before, but after the liberation in 1945 she went to North Korea and participated in the women's movement.

The Korean Society for the History of Medicine.

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