Ultrasonography > Volume 34(4); 2015 > Article
Lee: Professor Chu-Wan Kim, a great name in the history of Korean radiology
Prof. Chu-Wan Kim, who passed away on April 9, 2015, was a towering tree in the history of Korean radiology and eternal supporter of the profession. He contributed enormously to the growth of Korean radiology ever since he joined the field of radiology after completing college in 1953. As his pen name JiSan means ‘grass and mountain,’ he was as tall and dignified as a mountain and was able to predict how the future would go as if he were looking down from a mountain top, while he was as tender and careful as grass when he helped others and carried out projects.
Prof. Kim founded the Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (KSUM) in 1980 and then contributed enormously to the development of the KSUM as the president from 1980 to 1988. He also contributed to the advancement of ultrasonography in Asia as a president of the Asian Federation for Societies of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (AFSUMB). In addition, he placed Korean Radiology on a stable foundation as a president of the Korean Congress of Radiology (KCR) (1973-1974) and chair of directors of the KCR (1986-1990).
He was so humble that he enjoyed wearing inexpensive clothes purchased in street markets and carried the bags distributed at academic congresses until they were too worn out to be used. He liked to eat popular Korean food such as kalguksu, handmade chopped noodle soup, and always emphasized the use of homemade products. He was such a big eater that there was a saying: “Do not sit together with Prof. Chu-Wan Kim at the party table.” In an annual congress of the Japanese Society of Ultrasound, he established a new record in a soba noodle eating contest in a famous Japanese restaurant. Although he was a very optimistic person, frequently saying, “I am a lucky guy,” he did not tread off of the righteous path. To praise Prof. Chu-Wan Kim for his virtue, I would like to review the path of his life [1,2].

Birth, Education, Family, and Work

Chu-Wan Kim was born in Jaeryeong-gun, Hwanghae-do on September 16, 1929. After finishing elementary school in Hwanghae-do, he moved to Seoul and entered the Seoul Choong Ang Middle School and graduated in 1946. He entered the premedical course of Kyoungseong Imperial University, the predecessor of the present Seoul National University, in 1946 and graduated from the College of Medicine of Seoul National University in 1953. When he was a senior medical student, he was deeply impressed by the lectures on X-rays of the then head professor, Choong Sam Cho, who is the founder of Korean radiology. This experience served as the impetus for Kim to become a radiologist. He became a teaching assistant of Seoul National University in 1953 and was sent to the University of Minnesota as a visiting professor of the Radiology Department in 1955 and came back after he passed the American Board of Radiology exam in 1957. After he became a full-time lecturer in 1958, many people let out a sigh of admiration whenever he described cases in native English with his tall and majestic physique and smart dress (Fig. 1). He became an assistant professor in 1964, associate professor in 1969, and professor in 1976. He retired in 1989 (Fig. 2).
Prof. Kim married a classmate, Joong Sook Hwang, who is a radiologist and otolaryngologist. He had two sons and one daughter. The two sons graduated from Seoul National University College of Medicine and became a radiologist and an internal physician, respectively. His daughter graduated from Ewha University (Fig. 3).
By the mid-1960s, Prof. Kim already had enough interest and knowledge in ultrasound to be able to teach medical students, well before diagnostic ultrasound devices had entered Korea, which provided important momentum to the early development of diagnostic ultrasound in Korea. In 1978, Prof. Kim opened diagnostic ultrasound rooms in Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) with the then cutting-edge grayscale ultrasound machine (Picker 80L, Picker International, Irving, TX, USA), which along with another machine at Chung-Ang University Hospital, was the first to be made available in Korea. In addition, during his term as head professor of the Radiology Department of SNUH (1982-1990), he contributed to the development of domestic medical imaging devices as well as the diagnosis of diseases by installing the first Korean-made 2-Tesla MR imaging machine (Gold Star Company, Seoul, Korea) at SNUH.

Academic Activities

Korean Society of Radiology (KCR)

Prof. Kim participated in the Reestablishment General Meeting of the KCR on October 14, 1961 and served as a director of the KCR up to 1965. He was the treasurer of the KCR from 1965 to 1969 and the secretary general of the KCR from 1970 to 1973. He served as the fifteenth president of the KCR from 1973 to 1974 and served as the fourth chair of board of directors from 1986 to 1990. During his term of office as the chair of board of directors, an amendment of the rules of the KCR was made to create the International Liaison Committee and the Chair of the Planning Committee. The Public Communication Committee was established to carry out public relations for radiology and deployed publicity campaigns through posters, a motto, and television advertisements. A Health Insurance Committee and its Chair were established. In addition, the Korea Radiation Medicine Foundation was built to help financially support the KCR in 1983 and Prof. Kim became the first chief director and served until 1990.

Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (KSUM)

KSUM establishment

With the rapidly growing popularity of grayscale ultrasound in the late 1970's, Prof. Kim was busy giving lectures in professional societies and medical centers and developing lecture handouts, which contributed to the rapid spread of ultrasound usage among Korean medical doctors. The establishment of a dedicated society for ultrasound began to be actively discussed and strongly supported by Korean radiologists. On May 10, 1980 at 2 PM, the historic inaugural meeting of the KSUM was held at SNUH (Fig. 4). He contributed enormously to the growth of the KSUM as its president in the first four terms from 1980 to 1988. In 1982, the first volume of the Journal of the Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine was issued thanks to the efforts of Prof. Kim and Dr. Byun Ihn Choi, the then Secretary of the KSUM.

Jisan Lecture

The Jisan Lecture was launched in 1997 to honor Prof. Kim’s remarkable contributions to our profession, and since then, it has become the most significant and popular plenary session of the KSUM. Its major goal is to share up-to-date knowledge with KSUM participants through invited lectures by eminent speakers with remarkable achievements in the field of ultrasound.

One million dollar donation

Prof. Kim donated approximately one million US dollars to the KSUM Foundation (http://www.ultrasound.or.kr/foundation) without any hesitation for the purpose of advancing Korean ultrasound medicine when he witnessed the unprecedented success of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) (68 countries, 3,082 participants) that was held in Seoul in 2006.

Jisan Hall

In 2013, the KSUM named the great hall of the new office “Jisan Hall” to commemorate and honor his academic and financial contributions to the KSUM.

Asian Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (AFSUMB)

In July 1985, Prof. Kim was elected the AFSUMB acting director. He was elected vice-president of the AFSUMB in November 1985 and as the incoming president of the AFSUMB in June 1987 when the 1st AFSUMB Congress was held in Japan. Finally, he became the AFSUMB president in 1989 at the 2nd AFSUMB Congress held in Bali. At the 3rd AFSUMB Congress that was held in Seoul, he contributed to its great success (15 countries, 1,600 participants) as the organizing committee chair (Fig. 5). He made enormous contributions to the development of the AFSUMB.


Prof. Kim published Radiation Fluoroscopy Science (Dong Woon Choo, Chu-Wan Kim, Man Chung Han, Ilchokak, 1970) [3], Up-to-date Radiology (Dong Woon Choo, Chu-Wan Kim, Ilchokak, 1977) [4], Principles of Ultrasound Diagnosis (Chu-Wan Kim and Soo-Soung Park, Ilchokak, 1982) [5], and Sectional Human Anatomy (Man Chung Han, Chu-Wan Kim, Ilchokak, 1985) [6]. Principles of Ultrasound Diagnosis [5] was a translated version of Diagnostic Ultrasound written by F.W. Kremkau and greatly contributed to popularizing knowledge in ultrasound in the 1980s. Sectional Human Anatomy [6] was the first anatomic book written by radiologists. It was so highly spoken of by eminent American journals that it became the first book exported to America among Korean-written scientific books and provided an important opportunity to demonstrate the level of Korean radiology to the West.
Prof. Kim wrote 185 papers from 1962 to 1989, including the first clinical ultrasound paper in Korean history, entitled “An analysis of 1018 cases of ultrasonography” published in the Journal of the Korean Society of Radiology in 1979 [7].


As described above, Prof. Chu-Wan Kim was a giant in the development of Korean radiology and Korean and Asian ultrasound medicine. On March 24, 2015, he was inducted into the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences Hall of Fame in recognition of his distinguished services in terms of progress in knowledge, communication of academic achievement, and training of the next generation.
Ever since completing his professorate, he always called himself an old solder and did not lose the virtue of contemplation and modesty with his disciples. On the other hand, he always emphasized that Korean radiology still had much greater advancement to achieve and supported Korean radiology unsparingly. He was delighted to remain a radiologist all his life, always expecting the best out of Korean radiology, and was a great name in the history of Korean radiology. His work is due our utmost respect.

Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


The following individuals contributed their recollections to the content of this eulogy:
- Man Chung Han, Professor Emeritus, Radiology Department, Seoul National University College of Medicine
- Byung Ihn Choi, Professor Emeritus, Radiology Department, Seoul National University College of Medicine; Clinical Chair-Professor, Chung-Ang University Hospital
- Kun-Sang Kim, Past President of Chung-Ang University Hospital; President of Korea Institute for Healthcare Accreditation
- Joon Koo Han, Head Professor, Radiology Department, Seoul National University College of Medicine
- Young-Goo Kim, Eldest son of Prof. Chu-Wan Kim; President of Homeopathy Institute of Korea


1. Jisan Prof. Chu-Wan Kim 60th birthday anniversary collection of thesis. Seoul: Seoul Alumni Association of Department of Radiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 1989.

2. The 20-year history of Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine. Seoul: Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine, 2000.

3. Choo DW, Kim CW, Han MC. Radiation fluoroscopy science. Seoul: Ilchokak, 1970.

4. Choo DW, Kim CW. Up-to-date radiology. Seoul: Ilchokak, 1977.

5. Kim CW, Park SS. Principles of ultrasound diagnosis (translated version of Diagnostic Ultrasound written by F.W. Kremkau). Seoul: Ilchokak, 1982.

6. Han MC, Kim CW. Sectional human anatomy. Seoul: Ilchokak, 1985.

7. Kim CW, Suh JS, Lee KS, Kim KH, Im CG, Chang KH, et al. An analysis of 1018 cases of ultrasonography. J Korean Radiol Soc 1979;15:493–504.

Professor Chu-Wan ‘Jisan’ Kim in his youth.
Fig. 1.
Professor Chu-Wan ‘Jisan’ Kim (1989).
Fig. 2.
Prof. Chu-Wan Kim and his extended family (1989).
Fig. 3.
Prof. Chu-Wan Kim, giving an opening speech in the inaugural meeting of the Korean Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (1980).
Fig. 4.
Organizing committee members and staff of the 3rd Asian Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (AFSUMB) Congress held in Seoul (1992).
Fig. 5.
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