Corresponding Author

Jewon Ryu


This article focuses on Sorokdo Island (Jeollanam-do, South Korea) as a remnant of the stigmatized landscape reflecting Hansen’s Disease and the Japanese colonial power. Sorokdo began to be stigmatized due to the Japanese colonial rule in the early 20th century when patients with Hansen's Disease were forced to relocate there, suffering from human rights violations and labor exploitation. Isolation and the management of the patients by suppression and control were justified with the logic of modern values of sanitization supported by the colonial rule. Stigma has remained even after the liberation from the colonial power. Continuously recognized by people as an isolated, remote island with a significant concentration of patients with Hansen’s Disease, Sorokdo still is being poorly preserved and overlooked by the public and the government. Based on a literature review and field research, this article illustrates how stigmatized landscapes remain in the hospital, detention/testing rooms, the Japanese Shinto shrine, and Central Park, among others. This article points out the necessity to preserve the landscape so that Sorokdo can be used as a space to educate and reflect on history. The suppression of the patients and workers on this island also should be illuminated. This article further emphasizes that social consensus is required regarding how Sorokdo can be carefully managed as a place that reflects its traumatized colonial history.



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