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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Militarized Landscapes of Yongsan: From Japanese Imperial to Little Americas in Early Cold War Korea

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2018, v.58 no.1, pp.121-149
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2018.58.1.121
(Eberhard Karls Universität)
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Abstract

The Yongsan Garrison, which has housed foreign troops in the central cityscape ofSeoul since the late 19th century, is to be returned and reintegrated into the greaterSeoul Metropolitan City in 2018, once the United States Forces in Korea (USFK) movesto its new headquarters located southwest of the capital. Prior to the current transition,the Yongsan landscape underwent two previous transformations: first, the constructionof the foreign military base (1904–1908) and its occupancy by the Japanese ImperialArmy; and second, the conversion from a Japanese imperial center to an AmericanCold War headquarters. This study historicizes the second transfiguration byexamining the “transitional” process through which the U.S. military “rehabilitated”Yongsan landscape during the early Cold War period, from 1945 through the late1960s. In Yongsan, the militarized landscape and its coloniality are evident in the“Americanism” built atop the remnants of the Japanese imperial space. This particularmilitarized landscape encompassed the dominant Americanism expressed in thehybridized built-structures and the Little Americas constructed within the garrisonand in the vernacular landscapes of camptowns that functioned as inter-dependentextensions of the camps. The Americanism engendered in this militarized landscaperepresented both the lure of the materialism and the American modern of camps aswell as its coloniality reinforced in the racially stratified, gendered and sexualized,andhighly temporary and ultimately dispensable spaces of camptowns.

keywords
Yongsan Garrison militarized landscape USFK Little America camptowns

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