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

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Mon Aug 10 14:28:51 EDT 2009

>Oddly enough, that camptown pronunciation is now
>also often used in Hawai'i, though certainly not with
>the same meaning.

It is my understanding that the term and that way of 
(mis)pronunciation was always used in Hawai'i -- WITH the same 
meaning -- as a derogatory term to refer to Koreans, and that since 
the late 19th century.

See e.g. Nora Keller, Ed., YOBO: Korean American Writing in Hawaii.

-------- q u o t e ------

"The word yobo still brings that pinch of pain, conjuring up old 
injuries from the playground where bullies would taunt, 'Hey, Yobo! 
You stink-face, kimchee-eating yobo-jack!'

"Back then, yobo meant Keeaumoku Street hostesses ... who called out 
to men in the streets: 'You likee buy me drinkee?'

"Yobo meant Kitchen Mamas stooped over the grill at hole-in-the-wall 
Korean take-out joints, or vendors peddling gold-plated trinkets and 
psychedelic candles at Duke's Lane, or FOBs squatting in airport 
terminals with coolers of kimchee and bundles of bedding like 
refugees from a country we all wanted to forget.

"Yobo meant hardhearted, hot-blooded shame."

-------- end of quote -----



Frank Hoffmann

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