Some more changes in Wonsan…

Pictured above is the Wonsan Revolutionary Museum (source here). Under the Japanese colonial government this site was the home of the Wonsan Customs Office.  A visitor posted some very helpful information:

Former Wonsan Customs Office, built in 1907 by the Japanese. This is a reconstruction – the original building was destroyed during the Korean War. It houses an exhibition about the “triumphal return” of Kim Il Sung to Korea on September 19th, 1945.

In the early 1970s, when the personality cult around the “Great Leader” reached a peak, the sites of his “triumphal return” were refurbished as “revolutionary sites”. Unfortunately, most of them had been destroyed during the Korean War or the postwar reconstruction, so the propaganda department had to put up replications. Thus, Wonsan Customs Office, the former railway station, an inn and a Japanese residence were carefully reconstructed following the original design. It is a certain irony of history that all these buildings (which had been designed and used by the Japanese) now serve as silent witnesses of Korea’s colonial past to the knowledgeable observer.

Below is a satellite picture of the facility on Google Earth taken on December 23, 2007 (39.168226°, 127.439217°):

The museum was an important part of the narrative of Kim Il-sung’s triumphant return to Korea after World War II.  It sits right next to Pier No. 2 where Kim Il Sung disembarked on September 19th, 1945.  A new monument to this pier was apparently installed in September 2008,  however, according to new satellite imagery, both the museum and the monument vanished sometime in 2009.

The above satellite picture is dated 2009-10-3.  Neither the museum nor the monument remain.

KCNA only mentions the museum once.  Here is the article dated 2002-7-15:

The Wonsan revolutionary site is the first stop in President Kim Il Sung’s triumphal return home after the country’s liberation. Located in Wonsan city, Kangwon Province, the revolutionary site consists of the Wonsan Revolutionary Museum, lodgings and former Wonsan railway station and Tongyang (Orient) Hotel, etc. In the museum there are historical materials and relics and a room where the president presided over the first meeting to carry out the three tasks of building the party, the state and the army.

At that conference room, he had a historic talk with political workers to be dispatched to local areas about the building of new Korea in September 1945.

A monument to his revolutionary activities was built at Wonsan railway station where a train used by him is preserved in the original state. There is also a monument of a poem that tells about his revolutionary exploits and noble virtues.

It will be interesting to see what they do with the space.

Wonsan military elite compound updated: (39.188339°, 127.478190°)

The picture on the left is dated 2002-11-11. The picture on the right is dated 2009-10-3.

Additionally, some of the housing units bordering the Wonsan AFB runway have been upgraded.

In a previous post I pointed out the growth of Wonsan’s markets.


One Response to “Some more changes in Wonsan…”

  1. Werner says:

    Koryo Tours might know the new location of the Wonsan Revolutionary Museum. They intend to visit that museum on 11th of August: