“It all started from worms”: Korea-Japan parasite control cooperation and Asian network, 1960s - 1980s*

Junho Jung, Ock Joo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Korea Association of Health Promotion and Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), and Taiwan's Chinese Foundation of Health all originated from parasite control organizations. Currently these organizations hold no apparent relations to parasite control activities. However, many of the senior leaderships of these organizations including presidents, have parasitology as their background. Kunii Chojiro (the founder of Japan Association of Parasite Control (JAPC) and JOICFP) explained it as “it all started from worms.” In 1949, Kunii Chojiro established JAPC after personally experienced 1) intestinal parasite infection. The JAPC people conducted mass examination and mass chemotherapy focusing on school children, which allowed them to have sustainable income. In 1965, the Korea Association of Parasite Eradication (KAPE) requested JAPC to assist Korea's parasite control activity. In 1968, when Korea-Japan cooperation for parasite control activity established, Japan's operating procedures were directly absorbed by KAPE. With support from JAPC and official development aid through Overseas Technical Cooperation Agency in Japan (now Japan International Cooperation Agency), Korea successfully controlled parasite infection. Post-war and cold-war geopolitics had a significant impact on Korea-Japan cooperation. In 1960s the president of KAPE, Chong-Chin Lee and Kunii Chojiro were well known figures in population control network. They did understand the importance of population control, but did not agree with the approaches taken by western population control experts. From their point of view, it had to be self-initiated, economically self sustainable grass-root activities rather than top-down activities, as experienced in their parasite control in Japan and Korea. This lead to a new Asian model named “Integrated Program”. Together with their influence in population control network, Kunii and Lee manage to secure the fund from IPPF. Emergence of Integrated Program showed how collective experience of Asia, as well as overlap of networking formed 'Asian Model' of public health activities. Kunii and Lee shared the same agenda to enable people to have better life through public health measures. While they funneled money from global population control network, they were more interested in securing sustainability of the parasite control activities. This paper focuses on activities and experiences of Kunii Chojiro and Chong-Chin Lee to show interplay of Cold War geopolitics in Asia led to emergence of Asian network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-87
Number of pages39
JournalKorean Journal of Medical History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Chong-Chin Lee
  • Cold War Geopolitics
  • Integrated Program
  • Korea-Japan Cooperation
  • Kunii Chojiro
  • Parasite Control


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