Friday, March 20, 2015
The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History
My favorite site we visited was The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, with Jenny, a graduate student and PhD candidate at Korea University. We went to three museums that day, but I l enjoyed the first much more than the others. At this site we saw a modern history of Korea, when it was still a unified nation, through the atrocities it suffered by the Japanese colonization for more than 30 years, and now as a separated Democratic state, who's economy is one of the top 20 in the world and still growing. We toured the museum and then sat down to discuss questions we had about the museum and anything we learned in class with Jenny. This was to me the best part of all of the museum tours, because learning Korean history and cultural from an American perspective with little insight to the cultural aspects doesn't allow you to fully grasp the concepts or just why some things are so important and still matter greatly to people today. I really appreciated learning Jenny's point of view, she was very passionate and involved in many aspects of what to us American students seemed like things of the past or other details, but to her and many other Korean's they are a staple part of their culture and identity. She made me realize the full significance of the Dokdo islands, and why they insist it's theirs and not Japanese territory and even that the ultimate goal of the South Korean government is to reunify North and South Korea as one. Before the museum and meeting Jenny I thought South Koreans hated North Koreans, as I had heard that defectors from the North often face discrimination, but after talking to her and hearing the ultimate goal was reunification, I believe that they truly care for their neighbors and hate the human right's violations that often occur there but have a fear of them in general. In class we briefly learned of the Japanese colonization, and talked about Dokdo, but until the visit I didn't and couldn't fully understand how they were so passionate and the full extent of it. I believe I learned a lot from Jenny and the museum and combined it with my previous knowledge about Korea and created a new perspective that I think gives me a greater understanding.