Bukchon, the historic district located between two palaces of Seoul, has become a major attraction of Korean tourism in the recent decade. As most tourists form first impressions of a site based on tourist literature, Bukchon’s public presentation has now become more important than ever. Due to its complicated record in the twentieth century, however, including its roots in colonial history and the residential conflict surrounding government-led preservation efforts, introducing Bukchon to visitors presents some unique challenges. By examining government-published or endorsed tourist representations of Bukchon, such as brochures, signage, and audiovisual exhibitions, this article attempts to investigate the desired image of Bukchon being projected towards the external audience and relate the issue to the discourse of heritage tourism and invented traditions. By paying close attention to the language and visual presentation of the subject of study, it illustrates how Koreans’ fundamental anxieties regarding certain aspects of modern history result in sanitizing and reimagining contemporary Bukchon.
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