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The Effect Of Japanese Colonial Brutality On Shaping Korean Identity: An Analysis Of A Prison Turned Memorial Site In Seoul

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights the act of objectifying memory by focusing on one historical and memorial site in the Republic of Korea (South Korea; hereafter ROK). It points out that Sŏdaemun Prison History Hall encapsulates the central elements constituting the mainstream ROK notion of post-colonial national identity. The chapter seeks to illuminate the post-war repercussions of Japan's militarism overseas rather than in Japan itself. To understand Sŏdaemun Prison History Hall is to understand the essential effect that Japan's aggression towards Korea has had on the shaping and the features of national identity in the ROK. The chapter particularly emphasizes the role of the extreme Japanese brutality as it is conveyed at and by the site, in constructing the interrelated fundamental identity factors of bravery, legitimacy and the 'we'-'other' dichotomy. Only time will tell how sites of memory and identity such as Sŏdaemun Prison History Hall adapt to the changing circumstances.

Keywords: Japan's aggression; memorial site; post-colonial national identity; Republic of Korea (ROK); Sŏdaemun Prison History Hall



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