A study on the name of "Po Goo Nyo Goan" and its marking

Heejae Lee, Moonseok Kang, Ivo Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to correct the Chinese characters of (Greek Passage) (Po Goo Nyo Goan) and its Korean pronunciation by re-examining the circumstances around the establishment of this hospital, and to discover its naming principle which is associated with the Confucian political philosophy of the Joseon Dynasty. Although (Greek Passage) is the first modern women's hospital in Korea, most historical studies of this institute have been conducted on limited documents and records. Many published studies use the incorrect names in many ways, so the correct name of the hospital is still in confusion. (Greek Passage) however, was named with four or five of the Chinese characters given by the Joseon government (King Gojong (Greek Passage)) at the time of its establishment. The Joseon government gave the name of Seonnyeoboguwon (Greek Passage) to the first modern women's hospital established by Mary Scranton, the name of which was changed to (Greek Passage). Some records left by the female missionary doctors who worked in (Greek Passage) show the romanization and meaning of the name of the hospital. (Greek Passage) The romanization of "(Greek Passage) (nyeo )" at that time. English translation name of the hospital has always shown that the place provided "extensive" medical treatment to women. It proves the fact that the first Chinese character of the name is (Greek Passage), not (Greek Passage) which is expressed in many documents today. The hospital was named according to Confucian ideals just like the other modern hospitals established around the same time, such as Jejungwon (Greek Passage), Gwangjewon (Greek Passage) Gwanghyeyeowon (Greek Passage). The Joseon government commonly used similar Chinese characters during the naming of these hospitals, characters that imply the ideal of the good Confucian king's favor for many people of Joseon. (Greek Passage) was unique in having the character "(Greek Passage) (gwan )" in its name, not " (Greek Passage) (won )" as in other hospitals. It seems to stem from the characteristic of "women's hospital." Po Gu Nyo Goan, the unprecedented women's hospital, was probably imagined as a hospitable accommodation where women provided kindness to people in need. This may have been the reason why "(Greek Passage)", which has the meaning of accommodation, was chosen instead of "(Greek Passage)" that primarily meant medical facilities. Correcting the name of (Greek Passage) helps to eliminate the confusion in current historiography and to promote the understanding of the historical significance of this hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-720
Number of pages36
JournalKorean Journal of Medical History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Korean Society for the History of Medicine.


  • Gwanghyeyeowon (Greek Passage)
  • Gwangjewon (Greek Passage)
  • Jejungwon (Greek Passage)
  • Marking
  • Modern hospital
  • Name
  • Po Goo Nyo Goan (Greek Passage)
  • Seonnyeoboguwon (Greek Passage)
  • W.F.M.S.
  • Women's hospital


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