Conclusion: The Role of Difficult Heritage in Nation Building in South Korea

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


In this concluding chapter, Lee reflects on the relationship between Japanese colonial occupation architecture and Korean national identity, considering how the stories associated with architectural heritage sites strengthen national myth and collective memory. Lee concludes that Japanese colonial occupation architecture has become ‘difficult heritage’ in Korea, not only because of the painful and traumatic period in which it was built, but because of the way in which collective memories of the Japanese colonial occupation have diversely affected the narratives attached to individual architectural sites. Finally, by identifying the dynamics and nature of the collective memories that have been ceaselessly constructed and reformulated, Lee outlines the future challenges for the formation of collective memories of Japanese colonial occupation architecture, and discusses the future role of difficult heritage in the Korean and East Asian context.


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Copyright information

© 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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