Seodaemun Prison - Not a Museum for the Weak

One of the more interesting things I did over my summer vacation (and that's not saying much) was to visit Seodaemun Prison. I didn't even know it existed until a friend recommended it, and now I see it mentioned everywhere. Funny how that works, right? Anyway if you have a weak stomach, I wouldn't recommend you continue reading.

Seodaemun Prison was created in the early 1900s by the Japanese to imprison, torture, and kill Korean Patriots fighting against them. Lets just say that Japanese were not a friendly people at the time, and had some pretty gruesome tricks up their sleeves. Walking through this place made me think of how it must feel to walk through something like Auschwitz - same dark, eerie, death like feeling.

The grounds of the prison includes multiple buildings with various purposes. One of the buildings takes into its basement where you see torture rooms with specific goals. One room shows sexual torture, and another demonstrates life size and life like mannequins being flogged or having sharp rusty metal objects shoved up their finger nails. Oh, and screams can also be heard echoing through the hallways.

Another building shows the cells that look actually pretty spacious until you realize that 8-10 people were crammed into these rooms that aren't much bigger than your average studio apartment.

One of the buildings had rooms where the patriots would go up against panels of Japanese Judges - with a noose around their neck - and if they were found guilty there was a trap door under your feat where you'd be executed immediately.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things I had seen all day was the standing coffins. These closet looking contraptions were not much bigger than 5.5 feet tall, maybe 1.5 feet wide and a foot deep. They would put someone in this thing standing upright for 2-3 days and by the time they would open the door you'd be completely paralyzed. I stood in one and it was unbearable for even just a few moments.

It was a fascinating way to learn more about Korean culture and why they have such a hatred for the Japanese. It was an enlightening couple of hours to show you what lengths humans will go to in order to acquire something. I recommend it, and for only 1,500won - it's something everyone should go and experience.