In her book Beyond the Shadow of Camptown Korean Military Brides in America Ji Yeon Yuh seeks to explore the cultural collision of South Korea and the United States through a thorough historical review and analysis of the intimate relationships between South Korean women and US military men She utilizes an array of different sources to piece together her argument including personal oral interviews with Korean military brides and a plethora of other academic papers among other sources such as US military documents Yuh uses the Korean women as the central focus of her study and commentary effectively examining them outside the shadow of their American partners Though her book draws upon a vast range of sources to offer a structured and well researched review of the uniue history of Korean military brides I found that she only took the time to argue one opinion one that wholly victimizes the military brides and failed to provide a true comprehensive historical and cultural analysis Beyond the Shadow of Camptown Korean Military Brides in America has a well composed structure and flow and also does a ood job of synthesizing a wide variety of external sources to support her argument She moves easily from discussion about the origins of the camptowns which she claims arises from the US Army s notion that its soldiers needed paid sexual companions for high morale 25 to the materialistic appeal of marrying an American from the perspective of a Korean camptown woman one Korean military bride states I thought everyone in America was rich 55 to what life in America was actually like for these women often rife with physical and sexual abuse In addition to the fluidity in her book Yuh is able to provide the reader with uniue access to oral interviews with Korean military brides themselves through her personal contac Through Beyond the Shadow of Camptown Ji Yeon Yuh presents a structured view of personal narrative of people placed on the margins Korean military brides Yuh frames the story of these women within the larger context and stigma of the camptowns which sprang up near the US military bases in South Korea Essentially Yuh brings together the lived experiences of the Korean women with her own analysis and base of theory to form a foundation of study for the larger perspectives of many Asian military brides trying to find their place in America Yuh places the narratives into different frames the most prominent of which are the demonstration of scale the dichotomy of these women s existence and the close relationship between nationality and womanhood In terms of the first Yuh relates the story of the Korean military brides to larger scales of contex Ji Yeon Yuh s Beyond the Shadow of Camptown uses a synthesis of personally collected oral histories to attempt the debunking of popular myths and stereotypes surrounding Korean war brides Yuh charts the experience of the women through exploring the permeation of America s political dominance over Korea into human relationships the rejection the women felt from both American and Korean communities the role of food as both culture shock and cultural expression and the turn towards organizations for unity In characterizing the women s experiences Yuh seems unable to decide whether these women were victims of their situation or proactive agents seeking to tackle the obstacles in their path Using the anecdotes and context provided by Yuh herself I conclude that they are not the doubly victimized women that Yuh freuently paints them to be 25 Yuh leaves no doubt as to the tragedy of the situation faced by the women she calls military brides Many were tricked into prostitution at American Camptowns in Korea later to end up in America married to soldiers and excluded from both American and Korean society due to the stigma both cultures assigned them Challenged by everything from abusive husbands to disrespectful children language barriers to new foods any victim of this cruelty and irresponsibility would have iven up 35 In the face of such extreme challenges however these women found strength in numbers They created organizations that provided a respite from the sudden adjustment to They created organizations that provided a respite from the sudden adjustment to lives went out of their way to assist each other took vacations together and fundraised for others who struggled These are determined actions of individuals with agency Yuh does not seem ready to make such a declaration Her critiue of a program called Producer s Diary is that the women are figured as pathetic victims who chased the American Dream only to be abandoned and ruined 178 but she also criticizes similar media for turning the responsibility for success or failure onto the women themselves 180 If they are not pathetic victims it seems they must therefore hold a certain level of responsibility for their situation Further she
takes issue with the term war bride because it robs the women of their individuality The issue with the term war bride because it robs the women of their individuality The she assigns them instead military brides continues to define them as nothing but brides a word that implies both a stagnant condition and definition relative to a man It seems possible that Yuh s contradictions parallel a similar indecision among the military
Brides Themselves Yuh Explains themselves Yuh explains disguised resistance was their only viable option 85 due to both Korean cultural norms and the severity of their situation That they fought the obstacles they faced to any extent within such a context however only points to their agency The word victim used freuently in Beyond the Shadow of Camptown implies a level of passivity that has no place in the history of Korean military brides Yuh herself describes women who failed to accept adversity without a fight Through this book Yuh successfully frees the military brides from the stereotypes and assumptions that have followed them everywhere This freedom however comes not from the agency Yuh definitively awards the women but from the reader s ability to sift through broad eneralizations about both the hollowness of American multiculturalism 8 and the victimization of the women to spot it himself Provided an excellent case study centering around Korean military brides and their emigration to America from post Korean War onward and how they were key to the influx of Korean international emigration in eneral from hence onward What was most interesting was the author s discussions regarding attributing international relationships and political dealings with symbolism hearkening back to how the most unhealthy of human power dynamic relationships are carried out It also as a whole provided amazing in depth analytical context concerning how with just this one specific case study war refugees and asylum seekers are socially culturally Explores the experiences of Korean military brides in the United StatesSince the beginning of the Korean War in 1950 nearly 100000 Korean women have immigrated to the United States as the wives of American soldiers Based on extensive oral interviews and archival research Beyond the Shadow of Camptown tells the stories of these women from their presumed association with US military camptowns and prostitution to their struggles within the intercultural families th.
Ji-Yeon Yuh ä 7 SUMMARYCe of the brides as representative of American Korean relations in the mid 20th century Yuh then shifts focus to the women s daily experiences upon immigrating to America presenting a narrative of their trials and small acts of resistance is oddly reminiscent of the theoretical model present in James C Scott s Weapons of the Weak This overarching theme is examined closely in the fourth chapter with the case study of food Indeed the forced abandonment of Korean cuisine represented a systematic attempt to erase the cultural roots of Korean military brides Yet this attempt to override Korean with American culture was not successful Military brides continued to cook Korean with friends thus preserving their ties to Korean culture These ties extended far beyond food preparation Indeed the Korean ideal of a daughter s position within the family is one among many that persevered and forms the central themes of chapter five In it Yuh explores the experiences within the oral histories that she conducted paying special attention to how the women viewed their responsibilities as daughters and the extent to which they felt that they had been dutiful daughters In this ambitious undertaking Yuh has done an exemplary job weaving together theoretical themes and oral histories Particularly noteworthy is the extent to which she is able to capture the experiences of Korean military brides by expressing their agency and voices Eually as refreshing is her choice to abstain from simply treating her interviewees as victims rather drawing attention to their important roles in establishing Korean communities in America Korean military brides would often sponsor the immigration of a family member who would then sponsor another member and so on and so forth One issue however is the lack of contributions made by Beyond the Shadow of Camptown to the theoretical models surrounding wartime marriages While Yuh does provide a wealth of new information especially valuable because it is taken from the perspective of the actual brides rather than social workers she does not push the field forward because she stays safely within established theoretical frameworks All in all Yuh provides a compelling insight into the lives led by Korean military brides and succeeds magnificently in capturing their voices and perspectives Her decision to include both oral histories and some theoretical and historical background also allows for the creation of an effective narrative Those interested in the long range implications of KoreanAmerican relationships during the Cold War period would likely come away from Yuh s book enriched Beyond the Shadow of Camptown is a book that sheds light on an unrepresented community in the United States Korean military brides Ji Yeon Yuh provides her analysis of the community through interviews with many different military brides While the brides are separated by eography social status economic wealth and education they are share one common trait All of them have been married to an American service member at some point in their lives Yuh argues that the life of Korean military brides in America is hard and often lonely However the life they have in America still trumps the life they would have had in Korea Before I begin my analysis on the text I want to comment on a few troubling aspects of the book itself One is how she addresses the interviewees I disagree with how she refers to the woman by their American last name In Korean culture the wife rarely takes on the last name of her husband When I read Mrs Weinberg or Mrs Brennen I was thoroughly confused on who they were Yuh does point out that many Korean women
Consider Themselves Americanized And Accepted The Newthemselves Americanized and accepted the new including changing their last name Ultimately the decision on how to call the women is Yuh s choice However
If I Wanted To Portray The WomenI wanted to portray the women who have been divorced and independent and some who still consider themselves Korean I would have referred to them by their Korean names The book is divided into several themes such as Camptown life the American dream transitioning to America and changing cuisines Each theme hit me differently Camptown life was a very one
Sided Look At The Relationship Between Thelook at the relationship between the military and Korean women I agree with many of Yuh s points about the uneual and oppressive relationship between the two parties However Yuh Byzantium generalized the entire armed forces are in such a relationship For some people such as Mrs Weinberg life did in fact become better In many cases the US military did have amenities that anyone in Korea would have liked such as as much electricity or water 41 The US military leads to an opportunity 40 Sometimes the opportunities were tremendous for the women However Yuh represents the women as helpless and the military as arrogant This was definitely not the overall case Her analysis on the Korean brides life in America did a lot of justice for the women For many women they accept the containment of her Koreaness but refuses its erasure maintaining an American home for her husband while defining the home as Korean when he is away 197 I enjoyed Yuh s constant analysis on how Korean women struggled to continue being Korean while Americanizing One such aspect is cuisine Korean women use food as a way to assert their identity and language Even if the household does not have Korean food Korean women still find a way to be Korean and feel Korean They find it through networks of other brides Overall the book produced very mixed reactions Iive a lot of credit to Yuh for her research and interviews Her analyses were usually very interesting However I feel that the book lacks structure organization and even emotions The book is a terrific read for academics and those who want to learn about Korean military brides However it does little to represent the women An eye opening book regarding the unsavory arrangements made between foreign Contacts Desired governments and the US military in establishing servicing camp towns and their blemishing of the reputations of Korean military brides who emigrate to the US The author examines the Lives of these women which involve struggles to maintain Korean identity fighting a harsh undeserved reputation dealing with abuse and the realities of the American Dream The oral history reveals a lot of nice surprises including the creation of a new identity that of the Korean military bride and unlikely undertones of empowerment despite the lot cast against them An important work not just in thinking about theeopolitical dynamics of intimacy with inter racial and inter national marriages specific to the US military but also in thinking about the contributions these women made to Korean immigration to the Land Topics range from the personal the role of food in their lives to the communal the efforts of military wives to form support Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, groups that enable them to affirm Korean identity that both American and Koreans would deny themRelayed with warmth and compassion this is the first in depth study of Korean military brides and is aroundbreaking contribution to Asian American women's and new immigrant studies while also providing a uniue approach to military history. Ersonally emotionally and physically affected by the act of war itself Transgenerational memory as well is another factor in why the succeeding The Oracles Golem (The Oracle generations of Korean Americans and international Koreans seem to personally feel as if they have memories of things that didn t happen to them but rather to their family members Trauma and memory passes itself down through theenes to the offspring a very interesting concept that has recently come out of science work as supported What I also enjoyed was the discussion regarding nationalism national identity racism ethnocentrism exoticism Orientalism and other major topics ever present in anthropological and other discourse Very interesting and informative book only I felt that the author was too careful not to reinforce stereotypes about Korean military brides that she did not Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations give enough voice to those women who do fit in with stereotypes and thus have been shunned by narratives of respectability Are those women not unrepentently Korean too By detailing the ways in which the paternalistic relationship between the United States and South Korea has manifested itself in the domination of Korean women Beyond the Shadows of Camptown Ji Yeon Yuh s dissertation turned debut work attempts to unearth the largely devastated existences of Korean military brides since the 1945 presence of the United States in the region By establishing the role of South Korea as a politically militarily and economically subordinated 3 character in the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union Yuh argues that the American cultural hegemony under whichenerations of Koreans came of age not only informed their perceptions of America but resulted in the purgatorial existences of countless Korean women simultaneously marginalized by their American families and left standing outside the bounds of both respectable Korean womanhood and authentic Koreanness 4 Offering social and historical context as well as firsthand accounts by Korean military brides Yuh organizes her discussion of marriages between Korean women and American soldiers Let It Bree / Cant Buy Me Louie (Harlequin Duets, geographically As Beyond the Shadows of Camptown progresses the focus of Yuh s examination transitions from the military bride s ostracized life in South Korea to her struggle toain acceptance in the United States As Yuh begins her exploration of a military bride s life in South Korea she stresses the role of militarized prostitution in creating the context in which marriages to American soldiers occurred Writing that prostitution as an organized commercial endeavor was first introduced to Korea 17 under Japanese occupation Yuh notes that prevalence of literature on the comfort women 16 of the Japanese military and the dearth of material acknowledging the victims of militarized prostitution by the United States Yuh continues to make effective use of this kind of juxtaposition as she highlights the United States s inconsistent racially driven foreign policy uoting a chaplain Yuh writes In Korea the The Solitary Self guys are inundated with prostitutes And the US forces and Americanovernment wink at what The Ornaments of Life goes on 24 but in Germany this kind of thing doesn to on 24 Highlighting the difference in the American One Wish (Thunder Point, government s treatment of South Korea and Germany as well as the American exceptionalism responsible for the absence of discourse on militarized prostitution in South Korea Yuh makes a compelling case for a history of hegemonic domination by a neo imperialist power capable of obscuring its injustices while projecting itself as aenerous provider of Oreo cookies Ritz crackers Jello pudding potato chips and of course Hershey s chocolate 34 This image of the United States as a enerous protector is instrumental in leading camptown women to naively seek out a camptown 33 to fulfill a longing to enter the luxurious America 33 Yuh examines the implications of this distorted perception of America by drawing from the stories nine Korean women who married American military men Tracing the journey by drawing from the stories nine Korean women who married American military men Tracing the journey Cho Soonyi one of the earliest Korean military brides Yuh suggests that Korean patriarchy was also an important factor in the migration of poor often rural women to the camptowns Seeking refuge from what Cho Soonyi refers to as a everything is for men 45 culture she was eager to marry an American soldier and begin a new life in her idea of America By including extensive uotes from the women Yuh allows for dynamic interaction between her academic rhetoric and the firsthand accounts of military brides Though Cho Soonyi s story suggests some element of self determination Yuh highlights the role of kidnapping and rape in supplying camptowns with women Because of harsh patriarchal pressures Korean women who were raped by American soldiers were shunned by their families and left with no other options than to serve as camptown prostitutes As Yuh discusses the lives of Korean military brides in the United States she underscores the loneliness of these women as they arrived in a country far less hospitable than they imagined Yuh notes in
the American households Korean food is marginalized even stigmatized while the American food of the dominates 143American households Korean food is marginalized even stigmatized while the American food of the husband dominates 143 reinforces the alienation and struggle of these women when she writes physically unable to eat sufficient uantities of American food to keep up her weight Mrs Crispin slowly starved during her first years in America 130 Yuh s compelling work deftly weaves narrative with historical analysis illuminating the struggle of women entangled in a merciless of blend of patriarchy neo imperialist subjugation and poverty By offering extensive context and heartbreaking firsthand accounts Yuh redeems the pariahs 5 she once noticed as a child in Korean church In her book Beyond the Shadow of Camptown Korean Military Brides in America Ji Yeon Yuh seeks to capture both the trials and tribulations faced by Korean military brides and the role that they had in shaping the American Korean community In doing so Yuh embarks on a discourse in which theoretical undertones are underscored by the poignant oral histories of 16 Korean American military brides Given Yuh s motives behind her book it is hardly surprising that she has elected to organize its chapters by theme rather than by chronology She first seeks to provide the reader with the context necessary to appreciate the social context in which the military brides found themselves The reader is first exposed to Yuh s extensive oral history work in chapter two in which the tales of five military brides are introduced The objective of this chapter was to provide insight into the decision making process that led these women to wed American servicemen Throughout Yuh employs the implied subservien. Ey create in the United StatesHistorian Ji Yeon Yuh argues that military brides are a uniue prism through which to view cultural and social contact between Korea and the US After placing these women within the context of Korean US relations and the legacies of both Japanese and US colonialism vis vis military prostitution Yuh oes on to explore their lives their coping strategies with their new families and their relationships with their Korean families and home.