Haveyou ever heard of the Seodaemun prison? Not a lot of people know this place andthe tragic story behind it. It’s a place where Korean liberation activist weretortured to death during the Japanese colonial period from August 29, 1910 nearthe end of the Josun dynasty until the liberation of Korea in 1945. Seems ThisSeodaemun prison history hall was opened in November 1998, here you’ll be ableto witness the cruel and violent history of Korea. On August 29, 1910, Koreawas colonized by the Japanese where they attempted a cultural genocide forcing Koreansto learn only Japanese, pray to their gods, and making them adopt Japanesenames. Developing the Koreans to build an activist group fighting against theinjustice, provoking the Japanese, which lead them ending up in the seodaemunprison. Allthe members of the Korean liberation activist group who ended up in the prison,are to be remembered as our heroes who fought bravely for our country. Butamong them there are some well-known individuals like Yu Gwansun and Kim Gu.
Born in 1902, Yu gwansun was a student in ewha woman’s university who plannedan activist movement held on march, 1, 1919. She lead the group of 2000 peopleholding the Korean flag shouting for freedom, but tragically being captured andsent to the seodaemun prison at the age of 17. I feel ashamed and angry, that agirl my age had to fight for freedom while I am just on the couch. She had tosuffer various tortures such as having her nose and ears cut, having all hernails plucked, having a water hose inserted in her mouth where the water thenflowed out of all the 7 holes of her body, including having tortured in themudfish tank where they tied her naked and placed her in the tank of mudfishhaving them to enter her body through the holes.
Going through all this torturein the prison, she only yelled for the freedom of Korea till she died she diedat the age of 18 in the Seodaemun prison. Yu Gwansun wasn’t the only one who suffered,many Korean prisoners were tortured in ways such as the narrow verticalcoffins, where prisoners were held captive and moving even a bit was impossible.In addition to coffins, there were small boxes with spikes inside where theprisoner would be forced to crouch inside later being shaken by the Japanese.Other tortures include the water torture, where the prisoner would be hungupside down having hot water poured into their faces, unable to breath.Nevertheless their lives in the prison cells were counted as torture, prisonershad to dispose their own waste in a small hole and were unable to make contactwith the other prisoners, including the fact that they were not allowed to haveany conversations with each other, having to be watched 24/7. All the deadbodies of the prisoners would then be disposed by the Japanese in a secrettunnel to conceal their activities.This Seodaemun prison is a place of our painfuland violent history.
But still it is kept as a museum in our modern time for usto remember, and to show the world our history. To see and feel for ourselveshow it was like for our heroes, and how they chose to get tortured instead oflosing our country to the Japanese. How we got the freedom we have now thanksto all these people who have sacrificed themselves for us Thisprison which is basically now a museum is the remembrance, a part of ourhistory. A museum where you could experience and see how prisoners were treatedand you would also be able to see the little documents of the prisoners withpictures pasted all around the room. Therefore we should never forget thesacrifices and the piece of our history, because “A nation that forgets itspast has no future.”