Seodaemun Prison, Seoul

I clearly haven’t done this in a while but as I am living in a foreign country and looking for ways to keep my mind sharp I figured it would be a great idea to document my time here with the things I see and do! I moved to Seoul a couple of months ago and thus far have gotten to see and do a lot. While exploring the rest of Korea/Asia is certainly on my list of things to do, Seoul has by far been more than satisfactory with things to see and do. It is hard to quantify whether urban exploring is easier or harder here, there are certainly plenty of buildings with rooftop access but less in the form of abandoned factories/hospitals like I prefer. Anyways, for my initial entry I decided to document the Seodaemun Prison!

Seodaemun Prison

Seodaemun Prison with a dreamy view of the mountains in the background

A Brief History on the Seodaemun Prison:

Seodaemun, was established in the early 1900’s by Imperial Japan as they sought to keep down Korean patriots. Seodaemun was utilized to torture and contain individuals who actively protested the Japanese Regime that ruled Korea during the Colonial Era (1910-1945). Originally the prison was designed to hold 500 personnel, but ultimately it was overcrowded in excess of 1500 during the height of the Japanese crackdown on Korean nationalism. Following the departure of Imperial Japan at the conclusion of the Colonial Era the prison was briefly used by the Korean government but ultimately converted into the museum it is today. Some of the original buildings were destroyed; such as the factory that inmates worked in, the women’s block, and the activity yard; but have since been restored according to the original plans drawn up by Imperial Japan.

The Gate of Seodaemun Prison

The Gate of Seodaemun Prison

Exploring and Getting to Seodaemun Prison:

Seodaemun prison is easily accessed by taking line 3 of the Seoul subway system to Dongnimmun Station and then following the signs for Seodaemun prison to exit 5. The price to get into this museum is only 3000 won for adults and there are signs that lead you to all of the relevant attractions within the prison. Most exhibits have been translated to English but they aren’t necessarily as detailed as the Korean version of the narratives. Some areas are restricted with regards to photography but the experience is well worth it. Ultimately If you take a couple of hours to make your way through the exhibit it will really give you an appreciation for the Korean people and some of the things that have shaped their habits and ethics today and ultimately give you even more respect for their culture.

Seoul Flag

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