Posted by: rbbadger | April 26, 2009

War Memorial of Korea

I’ve visited quite a few museums in Korea now.  Today, I decided to visit the War Memorial of Korea (전쟁기념관), a museum commemorating the various wars that Korea has been involved in, especially the Korean War.  I will be posting some interesting pictures in the next day or so.  They have a couple of very interesting replicas that I’ve wanted to see.

One of them is a replica of one of the turtle ships.  Admiral Yi Sun Shin designed armoured war ships, something which did much to rout the Japanese during the Hideyoshi invasion of the late 16th century.  The other is of the hwacha, a truly terrifying Korean invention capable of launching large quantities of arrows which explode upon hitting their targets.  Not bad for the 15th century!  Not at all.  King Sejong the Great encouraged its development and towards the end of his life, hwachas were constructed capable of launching two hundred explosive arrows at a time.

A movie, entitled Singijeon (신기전) was made last year about it.  I watched it and enjoyed it very much.  You can see the hwacha in action on the trailer.  The Mythbusters made their own hwacha, tested it, and yes, it does work. 

This museum was less heavily nationalistic than some other museums I’ve visited.  The Independence Hall of Korea, located in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province can leave you wondering exactly which side of the DMZ you’re on. 

Unfortunately, though, it seems that native speakers of English weren’t consulted for the English signage at the War Memorial.  All of the audio-visual displays have a series of buttons where you can hear the presentations in Korean, English, Chinese, or Japanese.  The instructions in English read, “Press the button, if you please.”  There were some others, such as “North Korea Prepared to Invade to the South Korea”.  Korean doesn’t have “a, an, or the”, so the proper use of these is difficult for some of my students.   There were many examples of common mistakes that native Korean speakers of English sometimes make. 

On the whole, it is a pretty nice museum and worth visiting by those interested in military history.  They also featured recent things that the ROK Army has been involved with, such as the Vietnam War, Somalia, Afghanistan, and much else.



  1. Hi! That’s a pretty intense movie trailer. Daddy would love it–even in Korean. I love that they use our question marks and numbers. 🙂 Glad you get to visit so many interesting places and I’m just waiting to see your pictures!

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