Seodaemun Prison was used, in the early 1900’s, by the Japanese to imprison Korean citizens who were against Japan’s annexation of Korea. The prisoners were part of Korea’s independent movement and they were brutally tortured during their time in the prison.
There were many manikins that demonstrated some of the types of tortures used against the Korean prisoners. I already knew how cruel the Japanese could be, even before I saw this prison. No one did torture like the Japanese during and before World War II.
Make no mistake, there were all sorts of atrocities committed by the Japanese towards the Koreans. It was probably even more horrendous than can be imagined. The written explanations on the wall however were so over the top anti-Japanese that it was a bit comical. The Japanese were always called, “the Japanese aggressors” and the Korean’s were all but painted with halos hanging over their heads.
It reminded me of communist propaganda from China or North Korea.
Seodaemun Prison is a very educational experience. A trip here helps one to understand the ill feeling the Koreans have towards the Japanese.
How to get there:
- You can enter by plane, boat, or train, though entry by train is rare if not damn impossible for most non-presidents of North or South Korea.
- Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to South Korea.
- People of most nationalities will get a 90-day visa at the airport or ferry port.
- To be completely sure, check with the Korean embassy in your country.
- Useful Phone Numbers when in South Korea
- Tourist Complaint Center 02-735-0101
- Police 112
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Eat Your Kim Chi – Life in Korea as lived by 2 Canadians
- Korea is a generally safe country. You don’t really have to watch out for pickpockets, muggers, or scam artists.
- You should watch out when crossing the streets, beware of scooters on the sidewalk, and the little old ladies that will push you to get that last seat on the bus or subway.
- Use common sense and you will be okay.
- Things are generally inexpensive and there are many wonderful things to buy.
Enjoy Korea! I live there for 2 years and had a fantastic time.
- 37°34’27.6″N 126°57’21.3″E
- List of buses that will take you there
- Adult 1,500KRW
- Child 500KRW
- Mar—Oct 9:30 – 18:00
- Nov—Feb 9:30 – 17:00
Closed: Jan 1, Lunar New Year, Chuseok, Mondays , Tuesdays after Mondays that are holidays
- After the Japanese were driven out of Korea, this prison was used by the Korean government. After that, it was turned into a museum.