[KS] historical uses of the Korean term YO^BO

ifenkl at aol.com ifenkl at aol.com
Mon Aug 10 13:29:46 EDT 2009

To further clarify Ted's note:
It was generally used by GI's and not by Koreans. It was also

mispronounced and sounded like "yoeboe" (e.g.,

"My yobo doesn't like it when I'm TDY."

Oddly enough, that camptown pronunciation is now

also often used in Hawai'i, though certainly not with

the same meaning.?

On another note, there's also a fairly awful (though decent for the

genre) novel of the title, which Milan Hejtmanek pointed out to

me years ago:


It's $199 on Amazon!

-----Original Message-----
From: Theodore Hughes <th2150 at columbia.edu>
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Sent: Mon, Aug 10, 2009 12:44 pm
Subject: Re: [KS] historical uses of the Korean term YO^BO

Just to clarify, and in response to several queries outside of the?

list, the usage of "yobo" I refer to in my previous post is camptown?

specific,  appropriated in G.I./camptown Korean in the third-person,?

related, I am guessing, more to the second-person term of endearment?

similar to "honey" in "standard" Korean than to the pejorative "yobo"?

used by Japanese settler colonialists (although we probably can't rule?

out a connection to the latter). My sense of the Japanese colonialist?

usage, at least as it appears in colonial-period Korean literary texts, is?

that it is not so distant in meaning from the various racist terms we?

encounter so often in Euro-American colonialism.?

Ted Hughes?



Quoting Theodore Hughes <th2150 at columbia.edu>:?

> In the post-1945 camptown context, the term "yobo" used to refer to?

> live-in Korean sex workers, often paid on a monthly basis in cash or?

> black market profits (sometimes a combination of the two) to service?

> U.S. military personnel.?


> Ted Hughes?



> Quoting dmccann at fas.harvard.edu:?


>> We know how it was used between spouses in the 1960's, yes?  Do we  >>    know the song?

>> "Hey," by Julio Iglesia?  It just puts into song form what people   >>  do  with that?

>> word when they wish to speak fondly to one-another.  We also know   >>   how it can be?

>> used for quite the other way effect as well.  Probably the same effect, by?

>> extension, with the phrase "Hey you:" falling intonation, one thing; equal?

>> strong emphasis, something else entirely.  I noma: Boston pronoz    >> for  the former?

>> Red Sox player.  But I digress.?


>> DM?



>> Quoting Richardson <richardson at dprkstudies.org>:?


>>> All,?


>>> I'm also interested in the use of "yobo" as a derogatory term for?

>>> Koreans as used by Japanese.  Currently reading "The Clan Records: Five?

>>> Stories of Korea" by Kajiyama Toshiyuki, I very recently ran across the?

>>> term in two of three chapters read so far.  Up to now I'd thought?

>>> perhaps the author had misremembered some phrase, but it seems not. From?

>>> page 12 of the book;?


>>>    Despite the slogan "Japan and Korea Unified," the Japaneses scorned?

>>>    the Koreans.  Even Japanese children showed contempt, using?

>>>    expressions like /yobo/, which Koreans deeply resented.  A Koran?

>>>    word, /yobo/ originally meant "hello," but in the mouths of Japanese?

>>>    ti implied "you slave."?



>>> V/R,?

>>> Richardson?



>>> Todd Henry wrote:?

>>>> Dear all:?


>>>> I am currently completing an article on colonial racialization with a?

>>>> focus on how Japanese settlers and journalists appropriated the native?

>>>> term "yo^bo" to derogatorily refer to colonized Koreans, particularly?

>>>> lower class laborers.  I am also analyzing Korean critiques to this?

>>>> racialized usage of "yo^bo," but am not completely satisfied with the?

>>>> explanations they (the Korean critics) give as to the social etymology?

>>>> of this term.?


>>>> I would, therefore, be interested in any scholarship (or other?

>>>> information) that deals with how this term was used during the late?

>>>> Cho^son period and into the colonial period.  It would also interest?

>>>> me to hear more about post-liberation/colonial uses of "yo^bo" and if?

>>>> they had anything to do with the sort of derogatory usages I have been?

>>>> investigating from the colonial period.?


>>>> Thanks in advance for your guidance and help.?


>>>> Todd A. Henry?


>>>> Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-9)?

>>>> Korea Institute, Harvard University?

>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------?

>>>> Assistant Professor in Residence?

>>>> University of California-San Diego?

>>>> Department of History?


>>>> Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 3008?

>>>> 9500 Gilman Drive?

>>>> La Jolla, CA 92093-0104?


>>>> Phone: (858) 534-1996?

>>>> Email: tahenry at ucsd.edu <mailto:tahenry at ucsd.edu>?

>>>> Webpage: http://historyweb.ucsd.edu/?



>> <https://mail.ucsd.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=2b030e9cd5804b7496e5a95e1f07afb0&URL=http%3a%2f%2fhistoryweb.ucsd.edu%2f>?

>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------?

>>>> Get back to school stuff for them and cashback for you. Try Bing now.?



>> <http://www.bing.com/cashback?form=MSHYCB&publ=WLHMTAG&crea=TEXT_MSHYCB_BackToSchool_Cashback_BTSCashback_1x1>?












> --> Theodore Hughes?

> Assistant Professor of Modern Korean Literature?

> M.A. Program Coordinator?

> Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures?

> Columbia University?

> 407 Kent Hall?

> New York, NY 10027?


> Tel: (212) 854-8545?

> Fax: (212) 678-8629?


--Theodore Hughes?

Assistant Professor of Modern Korean Literature?

M.A. Program Coordinator?

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures?

Columbia University?

407 Kent Hall?

New York, NY 10027?

Tel: (212) 854-8545?

Fax: (212) 678-8629?


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