In one of the alleys of the area where I live, there's a house dating back to the 1930s when Korea was under Japanese occupation. Houses like this one built at that time are called "적산가옥," which translates to "enemy house."
A friend lives in an apartment across the alley from this house, so I have relied on him to update me on its status. Recently workers came in and cut all the trees and bushes, and then started putting up a fence. Within a couple weeks, the house was knocked down. Not before we went inside and saw what had been left there.
1. Here's how it looks while they were clearing out the yard. It's two buildings connected by a covered walkway not visible from this angle. The house is a very Japanese style, not at all Korean.
2. Here's a closer view of the main house.
3. This is the front gate, which I previously considered impassable. Fortunately, as you can see by the temporary fence between it and the brick wall behind, it was no longer a concern for me getting in.
4. Looking in through the front door, the wallpaper sure is trippy.
5. The bookshelf has titles in English, Japanese, and Korean. I'm told some are quite valuable. Based on the prominent English title, I was prepared to think the former owner fit the profile of anti-communist pro-imperialist.
6. They kept quite a lot of newspaper clippings.
7. Here's the walkway between buildings. The entrance on the left actually goes to the stairs leading to the second floor, something that took a lot of effort to find.
8. This must have been the occupants.
9. There was just stuff to look through everywhere. In one room, I found a letter dating to 1951 written to the occupant, expressing relief he was so far surviving the war. It seems he sent his children to the US for safety.
10. One of the round windows.
11. Hidden behind the demolition blankets.
12. How to win friends.
13. I went up to the second floor, where the Japanese influence was much more apparent.
14. The floor was lined with tatami mats, which surprised my friends who know more about Japan.
15. An interesting architectural feature around back of the smaller house.
16. The top of the stairs.
It's all gone now but we're researching the history and trying to find out more about the people who lived here.