Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seodaemun Prison Museum

Two Sundays ago, I headed to the Seodaemun Prison museum, which I was going to include in a post about several things that I did, but it seemed weird to include it in a post with funny things that happened, so I'm giving it it's own post.

I wandered over there by myself to explore before meeting up with Carrie. It was fascinating, enlightening and horrifying.

The museum was used to house prisoners during the Japanese occupation and was open as a prison until 1987. It housed political prisoners, who were tortured while there. They actually had rooms that were used specifically as torture rooms. It was also used as a place for "ideological persuasion." It originally only held 500 people, but after the March 1st Independence movement in 1919, they placed 3000 people there and expanded it. It was still very small for 3000 people.

A prisoners headdress.

Prisoner shoes and a laundry bat

Annexation treaty.

A lot of people died there. I believe that this room was pictures of prisoners who were killed, but I could be being over-dramatic about that since there wasn't a sign explaining the room.

Some of them were very young too.

They had a dead body pick up room and tunnel, which was a bit shocking.

They explained the different torture rooms as well. They had a water torture room, where they put people's heads into buckets to make them believe they were being drowned. They had fingernail torture, which was horrifying and I will not explain because I think you can guess. Box torture, which involved putting them in a small box pierce with nails and then shaking the box.

And they had the narrow torture room, which the sign said was too narrow to sit down but also too short for the person to stand properly.

It talked about how prisoners were usually not given all of their very small portion of food and their portions were determined by their sentence and reason for imprisonment. The cells were small and overcrowded (remember it was made for 500 people but had up to 3000)

They had cells that were called the "ink cells" because they were so small that no one could lie down and they were as dark as Chinese ink.
Here it is with a flash.
The prison didn't have any toilets.

It was also a forced labor camp.

They designed and built a building specifically for the torture of women involved in the national independence movement.

This was a building for inmates with leprosy.

Here is a memorial built for the prisoners that died at the prison:

And here is the Independence Arch just outside the gates of the prison:

And that is where I will end.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting. Sadly, this type of treatment is still happening in many parts of the world.