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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Ubiquitous and unremarked upon": Militarized prostitution and the American occupations of Japan and Korea
by Baker, Sara Kathleen, M.A.L.S., Georgetown University, 2012, 156; 1530232
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis employs feminist international relations theory to examine the United States' reliance on foreign women to fulfill its international agenda. Specifically, this thesis parallels the development of military prostitution during the post-World War II American occupations of Japan and Korea with the evolution of the United States' foreign policy in each country to identify the ways in which American government and military leaders depended on Japanese and Korean women's sexual labor to sustain these multi-year military occupations and advance their strategic political and economic objectives in the region.

Beginning in Chapter One with an overview of feminist international relations theory, the thesis then explores the United States' historical relationships with Japan and Korea in Chapter Two. Chapter Three provides an overview of the United States' efforts to manage its soldiers' use of prostitutes through World War II, emphasizing variations in American sociocultural attitudes toward—and methods of regulating—U.S. prostitutes, foreign sex workers, and their U.S. military patrons. Building on this historical and theoretical context, Chapters Four and Five proceed with the investigation of the concurrent evolution of the United States' postwar foreign policy in occupied Japan and Korea, and military prostitution catering to American soldiers in both countries.

Broadly, the analysis finds that United States Occupation officials and military leaders, in coordination with Japanese and Korean officials, sought to regulate Japanese and Korean women's sexual labor in ways that prevented American servicemen from contracting venereal diseases while still allowing the soldiers to fulfill their masculinized "sexual needs." Although U.S. leaders were concerned with avoiding the appearance of American involvement in condoning or administering organized prostitution for the troops, they trumpeted their role in regulating Japanese and Korean prostitution when it could be used to demonstrate the United States' progress in "democratizing" both nations. Additionally, the thesis concludes by drawing connections between post-World War II U.S. military prostitution in Japan and Korea with the thriving sex industries that continue to cater to American servicemen in each country today, emphasizing the necessity that policymakers consider the unique implications for foreign women of the American military presence overseas.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wall, Michael
School: Georgetown University
Department: Liberal Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 51/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian American Studies, Womens studies, History, International Relations
Keywords: Feminist international relations, Japan, Korea, Occupation, Prostitution, U.s. military
Publication Number: 1530232
ISBN: 978-1-267-77825-3
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