Seodaemun Prison: From Symbol of Fear and Violence to Symbol of Freedom and Victory

  • Hyun Kyung Lee
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict book series (PSCHC)


Established by the Japanese authorities during the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea, Seodaemun Prison was the first modern system of formal control in Korea. Lee uses place biography to trace the changing roles of Seodaemun Prison from the pre-colonial period, throughout the colonial period, and to the post-colonial period, focusing on its changing meanings and visual representation. She questions the extent to which Seodaemun Prison changed from a symbol of fear and violence to one of freedom and victory. To this end, Lee pays particular attention to how power struggles and memory conflicts in the post-colonial period led to the transformation of the original prison to its current incarnation as the Seodaemun Prison History Hall and Independence Park.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hyun Kyung Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH)University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.The Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS)Seoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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