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Framed by WarKorean Children and Women at the Crossroads of US Empire$
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Susie Woo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479889914

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479889914.001.0001

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Managing Korean War Brides

Managing Korean War Brides

(p.174) 6 Managing Korean War Brides
Framed by War

Susie Woo

NYU Press

This chapter examines the relationship between Americans and Korean women, both real and imagined. It begins in 1945 in South Korea with US militarized prostitution and its effects on Korean women. From assaults to regularization intended to protect US servicemen (but not Korean women) from sexually transmitted disease to US military efforts to prevent its men from marrying Korean nationals, the first part of the chapter establishes the uneven parameters placed upon Korean women. The chapter then moves to the United States to consider the cultural efforts made to uncouple the association between Korean prostitutes and brides. The chapter argues that US media’s hyper-focus on the purportedly docile (and, with US-occupied Japan a democratic stronghold in the Pacific, politically safe) Japanese bride supplanted an acknowledgment of Korean brides who arrived concurrently. It then looks to the popular singing, dancing, and instrument-playing Korean Kim Sisters, who through their celebrity and contained sexuality offered a safe alternative to the fraught figure of the Korean war bride. From military control to media representation, the chapter addresses how Americans tried to manage Korean women and how Korean women attempted to find security and autonomy amidst these pressures.

Keywords:   US militarized prostitution, assault, Japanese military bride, Korean military bride, United Service Organizations, bride school, Kim Sisters

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