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Kim Bong-han (Korean김봉한; born 1916) is a North Korean medical surgeon at Pyongyang Medical University and Kyung-Rak institute (KRI). He is primarily known for his research on a proposed mechanism for acupuncture that was not accepted by the mainstream medical community[1] that has come to be called the "primo-vascular system". He received the People's Prize for his research. The primo vascular system was claimed to be scientifically confirmed in 2002,[2] but the matter remains controversial.[3]

Kim Bong-han
1964 stamp of Kim Bong-han
NationalityNorth Korea
Alma materSeoul National University
Years active1946-1966
Political partyKorea Democratic Party (former)
AwardsPeople's Prize
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Bonghan
McCune–ReischauerKim Bong-han
Disappeared1966 (aged about 50)
StatusMissing for 53 years, 5 months and 18 days

In 1966 the Kyung-Rak institute was closed, and Kim disappeared.


Early life and educationEdit

Kim Bong-han was born in 1916.[4] He obtained his medical degree from Seoul National University in 1946.[4] After the Korean War broke out, Kim, who was a physiologist based in South Korea, crossed over to North Korea,[5] leaving his family behind.[6]

Prior to his arrival in North Korea, Kim was affiliated with the Korea Democratic Party.[6]

Primo-vascular systemEdit

Kim has claimed the existence of what he calls the Chin-Lo or Kyungrak system, a system of pathways which he proposes form a basis for acupuncture points and meridians, which is also called primo-vascular system.[7][8]

While working as director of North Korea's Kyung-Rak institute (KRI) from 1962 to 1965, Kim published five articles in the Journal of Jo Sun Medicine, about acupuncture, the Kyungrak system, and the "Sanal" theory. These articles form the basis of the proposed primo-vascular system, which attracted some interest as late as in the early 2010s.[4][9] Kim's work gained interest abroad and has been later on researched further in Japan, and in South Korea's Seoul National University.[citation needed]

The North Korean government supported Kim's research by supplying his team with various analytical instruments such as microscopes and radioactive tracers, most of which were imported from Eastern Europe.[6] He was awarded the People's Prize for his work on 2 February 1962.[10] Kim's book On the Kyungrak system was originally simultaneously published in Korean and Chinese languages in 1963.[7]


In 1966, the Kyung-Rak research institute was shut down. As of 2011, Kim has not been found.[4]


  • Kim, Bong-han (1962). Great discovery in biology and medicine : substance of Kyungrak. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. OCLC 500017964.
  • — (1964). On the Kyungrak system. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. OCLC 299812660.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Li, Q. (March 2011). "Vicissitude and enlightenment of Bonghan theory". Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 31 (3): 263–8. PMID 21644320.
  2. ^ Chikly, Bruno; Roberts, Paul; Quaghebeur, Jörgen (1 January 2016). "Primo Vascular System: A Unique Biological System Shifting a Medical Paradigm". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 116 (1): 12–21. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.002. ISSN 0098-6151. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ The Primo Vascular System: The N-rays of Acupuncture?
  4. ^ a b c d Kwang-Sup Soh; Kyung A. Kang; David K. Harrison (4 November 2011). The Primo Vascular System: Its Role in Cancer and Regeneration. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-1-4614-0601-3.
  5. ^ Kim, Hoon-Gi (2013). "Formative Research on the Primo Vascular System and Acceptance by the Korean Scientific Community: The Gap Between Creative Basic Science and Practical Convergence Technology". Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. 6 (6): 319–30. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2013.04.001. PMID 24290796.
  6. ^ a b c Kang, Kyung Aih (2013). "Historical Observations on the Half-Century Freeze in Research between the Bonghan System and the Primo Vascular System". Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. 6 (6): 285–92. doi:10.1016/j.jams.2013.07.004. PMID 24290792.
  7. ^ a b Gwei-Djen Lu; Joseph Needham (12 November 2012). Celestial Lancets: A History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa. Routledge. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-136-61255-8.
  8. ^ Johannes Bischko (1 January 1978). An introduction to acupuncture. Haug. p. 24. ISBN 978-3-7760-0506-6.
  9. ^ Kwang-Sup Soh; Kyung A. Kang; David K. Harrison (4 November 2011). The Primo Vascular System: Its Role in Cancer and Regeneration: proceedings from the first International Symposium on Primo Vascular System 2010 (ISPS 2010), with special topics on cancer and regeneration, which was held in Jecheon, Korea during September 17-18, 2010. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 7–17. ISBN 978-1-4614-0601-3.
  10. ^ Kim, Bong-han (1962). "Editor's Note". Great Discovery in Biology and Medicine: Substance of Kyungrak. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. p. 4.