Smashing: A way to relieve stress
First introduced in the United States in 2008, one of the newly introduced themed cafés in Korea is designed to provide people with spaces to express their anger by destroying things.
Seoul Rage Room, situated near Hongdae, is currently the only rage room in Korea. Here, customers relieve their stress by smashing things. Seoul Rage Room is divided into five levels: Vandalism, Destruction, Demolition, Annihilation, and Madness. Each level differs in the number of ceramic dishes, weapons and electronics provided to the customer. These electronics are not for entertainment or for practical use but are simply there to be destroyed. Visitors are also allowed to bring something of their own to smash as long as it passes the safety guidelines. Although there is a time limit, most customers exit the room exhausted even before their time is up.
“After getting the idea of opening up a rage room in Seoul, I found a friend who agreed with the idea,” said Victoria Won, co-owner of Seoul Rage Room. “We assumed that everyone would have had the experience of having such extreme stress that they were tempted to break or smash something.”
Upon entering the Seoul Rage Room, customers are requested to sign a consent form and are provided with safety equipment to keep them safe from the fragments of destruction.
“Pregnant women, those underaged, and the elderly are prohibited from entering the room,” Won said. “These restrictions are placed for safety precautions just as certain video games do. We believe this activity is best reserved for adults who have the physical and mental capacity to practice safe judgment.”
While some consider the rage room as a new form of entertainment, others voice their concern that it reflects the rather abnormal way youths choose to relieve their stress. Despite the controversy, rage rooms are gaining more popularity from young adults and many have expressed satisfaction in the newly introduced entertainment room.
“Young adults, especially those in Korea, face so much pressure but have very few outlets to relieve their stress,” Won commented. “I hope people will see the attraction of rage rooms as a novel concept, sharing a familiar root with the games we all used to play in our youth.”
Reported by: Kim Jee-min, Kim Ka-young, Shin Hyo-jae