Vol: 2020-03

Hye-kyung Hyun
Senior Researcher of Jeju Research Institute

1. The birth of Cold War Landscape in East Asia

The term “Cold War” first came into existence when Bernard Baruch, an influential advisor to Democratic presidents, used it in his speech on 16 April 1947 to describe the specific post-war geopolitical confrontation between the Soviet and the United States. Since then until the dissolution of the Soviet in 1989, the majority of the world had absorbed in an arms race, being divided into two camps: the United States and the Soviet with their respective allies. It was also the time when East Asia distinguished itself as a second front in the Cold War. The Chinese Civil War that restarted after WWII and the Korean War ignited violence, which led to the Cold War in East Asia. East Asian Cold War is a product of nationalism and global Cold War, which features hierarchical hostility of the middle classes, the division of the Korean peninsula, and the Cross-Strait Relations between the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China.

Regional battles that were utilized as a strategy in the Cold War brought about environmental changes such as gigantic fortressed towns and deformed nature, which survived the era and are left as relics of the Cold War. Today, they make Cold War Landscape in various forms in the border areas. The Military Demarcation Line that makes the land borderline between South and North Korea also represents the border in East Asian Cold War, and the relics such as the remains of fire, iron fences, and the observatory witness the Cold War era.

The current conflict between the United States and China has created a new kind of cold war in East Asia. This new Cold War is rearranging geopolitics in entire Asia and tends to divide the area into maritime Asia and continental Asia. It is rewriting the old Cold War Landscape and gives rise to further studies on the creation of the new Cold War and the underlying motives.

2. Peace Tourism utilizing Cold War Landscape

Efforts to utilize Cold War Landscape in Peace Tourism have been widely made in the East Asian countries, among which are Taiwan Strait, Kinmen Island, Mazu Island, Okinawa, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Cheorwon, Jeju Island and the Five West Sea Islands in South Korea.

The term “peace tourism” originated from the annual conference of Britain’s tourism association in 1929. The theme was “Tourism for Peace.” Then after WWII, the first general meeting of the World Travel Organization was held in London in 1946, and a new non-governmental organization-level travel agency was established to replace the International Tourism Promotion Organization (IUOTPO). The general assembly of the founding of the International Travel Organization (IUOTO) was held in Hague in the following year. IUOTO and other global tourist agencies held a meeting to increase influence and raise their status to help tourism contribution to international cooperation and peace. In the meetings, they started to use the meaning and concept of peace tourism in an expanded manner. Peace tourism was used as a strategy to expand the sense of peace through the legacy of the Cold War and the fierce battle, and to lasting peace.

There are many different forms of peace tourism today. This is because each country and region has its own stories. Hence the subjects, values, and practices of peace tourism are different. Nevertheless, peace tourism in general shares some common features. First, the countries that introduced peace tourism have a history of grave conflict. Secondly, those countries have particular spaces and a reproducibility structure that brings up a memory of the conflict. Thirdly, peace tourism intends to bring about cooperation and international solidarity in order to promote sustainable peace-building through peace tourism. After the two world wars, the international community noted the potential of tourism to contribute to the prevention of war and an easing of conflict. The effects of tourism on bringing to an end of many international conflicts and civil wars and building sustainable peace have drawn much attention through its experiments and theories.

There are terms similar to peace tourism, Dark Tours, Red Tours, and Security Tours, o name a few. The name varies because it reflects different experiences in shaping the Cold War landscape. The relationship between peace tourism and other types of tours can be hierarchical or supplementary. Nonetheless, the field of peace tourism is still being studied. “Dark tour” would be appropriate for Jeju as the peace tour has open been associated with security tours.

3. The introduction of Jeju Dark Tour

Cold War Landscape in Jeju can be found where the remains of military camps and the Jeju Uprising broke out. The Jeju Uprising that occurred on April 3, 1948 (also called the 4.3 Incident). It is regarded as the authentic beginning of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet which led to the Cold War. In the course of the uprising, over 30,000 Jeju residents were killed between 1948 and 1954, spanning the period of the US Military Government and Rhee Syngman’s presidency. Since the tragedy ended, those places involved in the uprising have made Cold War Landscape and attracted visitors as a part of the Jeju Dark Tour program which was designed to look back on the unfortunate past and learn lessons from it.

The term “Jeju Dark Tour” was first introduced in 2006. Throughout the changes of regimes, the Jeju Uprising, the once overlooked tragic event, has drawn gradual attention. The Special Act on the investigation of the uprising and the restoration of honor of the victims had passed under the Kim Dae-jung government and President Roh Moo-hyun made a public apology for the tragedy to citizens. There were also NGOs established to promote artistic and cultural movements in remembrance of the event and the idea of Dark Tour was brought up in the course of discussing the future of the movement. Some people had called it Journey to Historical Lessons or Tour of Historical Culture at first but as it threw a question that the terms strike as accepting being victimized, the term Dark Tour soon prevailed.

Dark Tour has its roots in the annual pilgrimage to the remains of the Jeju Uprising arranged by Jeju 4.3 Research Institute and the Joint April Ritual Preparation Committee. The pilgrimage has been taken place since 1989 against the suppression by the government. They took a visit to places where mass killings were carried out, major battles were fought, towns were completely destroyed by fire. It includes Mt. Halla, Mt. Songak, Altteureu Airfield, Donggwang-ri, Darangswi Cave, and Jeju Bukchon Village. Among those places include the battlefields and camps stationed by the Imperial Japanese Army troops in the past and it has gained public attention. It also happened to bring up an argument about whether it is cultural consumption or social movement.

4. Research on historical and cultural resources in regards to Jeju Dark Tour

Jeju was one of the most vital regions for the Imperial Japanese Army troops in the Japanese colonial period and Japan sent over 75,000 soldiers to build military foundations to it at the end of the Pacific war. Accordingly, there are a lot of remains of battlefields and camps stationed by the Imperial Japanese Army troops in Jeju, such as airfields, hangars, batteries, trenches, training camps, watchtowers, shelters, tunnels, armories, and underground mines.

The research for the remains of the Imperial Japanese Army troops was initiated when Jeju Cave Research Institute announced its discovery in 2001 during its usual investigation into natural caves. Then the Tamna Cultural Research Institute of Jeju National University, which received support from the Korea Research Foundation, conducted a “Study on the Survey of Japanese Military Enemy Sites in Jeju Island under Japanese colonial rule” and published a report for the first time in 2006. At this time, Tsukasaki Masayuki, a researcher at Japan’s Institute of 15 Years of War, presented documents from the Japanese Defense library. One could identify the movement and deployment of the Japanese Military on Jeju Island, the formation of the subordinate units of each division, the number of personnel, horses and cars, and the status of major weapons.

The number of historical sites relating to the Jeju Uprising is estimated to be 499, according to a survey by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province in 2018. The number would be more than 700 when the results of a regional survey in Seogwipo city in 2019 are combined. The investigation into the historical sites of the Jeju Uprising has been conducted continuously by the Jeju April 3rd Research Institute with limited scope. Recently, the Jeju local government has established a comprehensive management plan for the Jeju Uprising sites and is seeking to refurbish them, designate them as national registered cultural assets, and utilize them as historical, cultural and tourism resources. As a result, two issues have arisen, one of which is whether it is possible and appropriate to use these sites as tourist spots when most of them are designated as military facility protection zone and owned by the Ministry of Defense. The other issue is how we can plan the tour program and also protect the cultural assets at the same time. Recently, ordinances related to the Jeju Dark Tour have been created, and thoughts are given about how to approach the issue more systematically.

What is new is that the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park is emerging as a hot spot of the Jeju Dark Tour. The newly built Jeju 4.3 Peace Park with the shrine of ancestral tablets has emerged as a gathering place for people commemorating the Jeju Uprising memory and victims. In addition, various tour programs are being planned in villages where the sacrifice was severe, one of which is termed “4.3 Road” program. There are also efforts to expand the spirit of the commemoration of the Jeju Uprising at the national level, including pilgrimages to prisons across the country. In honor of the victims who were taken to prison camps nationwide during the Jeju Uprising, the “4.3 Road” tour expands the scope of the Dark Tour related to the Jeju Uprising nationwide.

Recently, the focus of using historical and cultural resources has even expanded from place to interest in storytelling. In the case of Mrs. Jin Ah-young’s Life Preservation Society, it presents a new form of Dark Tour by combining her life story of being victimized by the Jeju Uprising with her living space. It hints at the possibility of developing new forms of Dark Tour resource and the importance of preserving the scattered historical and cultural resources.

5. The expansion of Jeju Dark Tour and its perspective

In the 2010s, the number of visitors to Jeju increased thanks to the blossoming of budget airlines, the increased popularity of Jeju Island, and the 60th and 70th anniversary of the Jeju Uprising. Accordingly, there have been more and more people learning about the Jeju Uprising through the Dark Tour programs. Now various institutions and organizations show a keen interest in the Dark Tour, which endows a multilayered character to it. It includes the discovery and utilization of Dark Tour as a cure for the past, as a way to inform people of the Jeju Uprising nationwide and globally, as an education for the post-experience generation, as a way to revitalize community and to build solidarity in East Asia after the Cold War. The Dark Tour is basically used as a new paradigm for developing tourism in Jeju.

Dark Tour sometimes creates synergy by combining with Ecotourism or Olleh tour, beyond only focusing on historical and cultural resources. The Jeju Ecotourism Association, Jeju Ecotourism Co., the Travel Planner’s Cooperative Committee, the Jeju April 3 Culture Commentary Society, and the Marathon Club have been carrying out Dark Tour programs relating to the Jeju Uprising with diverse themes.

As the subject matters of Dark Tour have expanded, some argue that we should also extend the scope of Dark Tour in terms of its period of time that it deals with. Currently, there is an agreement that the target of Jeju Dark Tour should include the Cold War landscape, such as historical sites related to the Jeju Uprising or former Japanese military bases. However, some claim that we need to also embrace the legacy of the pre-modern era. For example, the Jeju Tourism Organization included historical events and places from the late 19th century to the early 20th century when it planned a Dark Tour called “Jeju’s 100-year time travel”. Considering the fact that the concept of Dark Tour was formed in the process of dealing with the world wars, it can be controversial to include the pre-modern heritage in the program.

There is also an issue of the relationship between Peace Tourism and Dark Tour. The Korean government designated Jeju Island as an “Island of World Peace” on January 27, 2005. Since then, it was expected that the tourism industry in Jeju would grow as part of the peace industry, but rather, the term Dark Tour has been used more often than Peace Tourism. Also, there is a concern about the ambivalent meaning of peace. While some treat the term “Peace” interchangeable with “human rights”, others find “security” or “military power” in it. As the Jeju Dark Tour expands, the issue of establishing relations with the Peace Tourism is expected to become more of an issue. It should also address social demands for establishing peace discourse as an ideological basis for developing cultural resources. On top of that, it is important to keep in mind that all these works are to hand over cultural heritage to future generations.

Hye-Kyung Hyun currently works as a senior staff researcher of tourism and social culture at Jeju Research Institute. She earned her PhD in sociology from Chonnam National University where she also undertook her post-doctoral research as a research assistant professor in sociology. She worked as a research staff for a SSK project at Jeju National University, a visiting scholar at the University of Sheffield, UK, and a senior staff researcher at Center for Jeju Studies. She served as an editorial board member for journals and societies including Journal of Memory & Vision in the Korea Democratic Institute, and Journal of Daegu Gyeongbuk Studies. She guest edited a special section on maritime culture in Island Studies Journal in 2018. Her major research interests include Jeju 4.3 incident, peace and tourism in East Asia and local communities. Her representative publications include “The struggle for memory and the development of cultural movements” (2003), “The memory and cultural representation of protests” (2006), “May 18th succession between generation and youth festival” (2011). “A study on Japan’s memorial day ritual over maritime territorial disputes” (2013), “Social meaning of protest song on the truth finding of April 3 Jeju uprising” (2017), “Maritime and island culture along the Kuroshio current” (2018), “Memorial rituals and recognition struggles by collateral blood relatives of Jeju 4.3 victims in the absent of lineal blood relatives”, and “A study on the continuation of rituals and memory for Jeju 4・3 victims without immediate family” (2019).