Travel into the Dark
Travel into the Dark
  • Park Jun-young
  • 승인 2019.06.11 15:45
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Dark tourism is a popular travel content these days. What does it mean to travel into the dark? ST introduces
dark tourism......................................................................................................................................................................................................Ed

The Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, Chernobyl in Ukraine, and the Seodaemun Prison in
South Korea: Do you know what these three places have in common? Terrible historical events took place
there. Public interest in “History” has been growing with the recent emergence of programs like “Cross Line.”
Moreover, interest in “Dark Tourism” has increased. Dark tourism is literally a tour of a historical place of disaster
sites where brutal devastation occurred. Therefore, ST is planning to embark on dark tourism this year to recognize
the painful history of the Korean people, and regain the right view of history.
 First, if you think dark tourism is simply a trip to enjoy, you are mistaken. Dark tourism is a journey that brings about
inner change and self-reflection rather than external flavor. Thus, without “reflective thinking,” the existence of dark
tourism spots would not only inflict more wounds on the bereaved family, but, rather, it would be a dull history trip.
Now, if you’re ready, let’s explore the “darkness” of history.

● Go to Seodaemun Prison History Hall in Seoul


Despite the rain, the entrance to the historical museum is crowded with people who have come to experience prison life.
Seodaemun prison was built during the Japanese occupation. There are pieces of evidence of Japanese suppression, including
“the pro-democratic resistance movement in June” and “several places where historical events occurred.” The exhibition hall
is composed of different materials and relics of independence fighters who spent time in Seodaemun Prison. Moreover, under the building,
you can see the “Basement Torture Chamber,” the “Temporary Detention Room,” and the “Interrogation Room,” which displays
a reproduction of torture scenes. In particular, the sound of “Long Live Korea Independence” resonates through the speakers,
adding vividness for the audience. Visitors can enter the original preservation site and experience the facilities of the narrow
prison. However, many people did not read the explanation carefully. On the other hand, when people hear the explanations
from guides or their companions, they seemed to have been moved by the harrowing historical scene. This reflects the need
for greater social consensus in dark tourism.
Furthermore, there are many dark tourist spots in Korea, including the “Jeju 4·3 Memorial Hall” and “Geojedo
Concentration Camps.” However, they are not as wellmaintained and widely known as similar sites in other
countries. There are even cases of neglect. Unfortunately, Korea is a society where similar tragedies are repeated.
Accidents are occurring repeatedly by systems that do not follow principles and operate independently. From
“the collapse of the Sampoong Department Store” in 1995 to “the sinking of the Sewol ferry” in 2014, only the
details are different. The Korean society is perceived to have a “hurry-hurry culture,” and encourages “collective
selfishness.” Textbooks teach students how to criticize such practices in society, but they have not made sufficient
progress. If learning does not work, it is necessary to consider ways that elicit sympathy from experience. This
is why we should pay attention to dark tourism. Summer is just around the corner. There will be many
Soongsilians who will be planning a trip on which they can spend their vacation. If you want to experience something
exotic yet fruitful, how about a “Dark tourism”?

Park Jun-young (ST Cub-Reporter)

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