On Friday Nov. 5th, I went to Seodaemun Prison which was built by the Japanese during their colonization of Korea. It opened in 1908 and was used to imprison activist who fought for Korea’s independence. After the occupation ended, the Korean government took over the prison and used it to imprison Korean nationalists. The building was finally closed and turned into a museum in the 1990s to educate the public and commemorate the prisoners who suffered for their freedom. Korean citizens were imprisoned and tortured, for variety of reasons. Moon Ik-Hwan was imprisoned here when the Korean government was in charge of the prison. The prison is disturbing on so many levels. The gruesome details of the relentless torture inflicted upon prisoners were horrible. I can’t imagine how one human being can be so cruel towards another human being. Today was so emotionally draining I had to decompress afterwards.
I found it interesting that the museum placards discussing the Japanese occupation were written in Korean, English, Japanese, and German. However, when you get to the prison wing from the Korean rule, all placards were written in Korean only. If not for my friend Yuki, who translated the Korean signs for us, I would not have understood what occurred while the Korean government ran the prison.
To learn more you can visit the prisons website at: https://sphh.sscmc.or.kr/_eng/#firstPage