Wandering ghosts of the cold war: Military sex workers in the film tour of duty (Komi ui ttang) Jeehey Kim

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4 Scopus citations


This paper explores the memories of military prostitutes in US camptowns in South Korea through the film titled Tour of Duty (Komi ui ttang, 2012). The film experiments with a genre of documentary, showcasing stories of three ex-prostitutes who struggle with their past experiences with US GIs. One of them carries on numerous dialogues with evil spirits, which give her physical and psychological pains that haunt her endlessly. Another woman keeps wandering in search of traces of her mother and friend, both of whom were prostitutes for US soldiers. She traces her memory of them around the ruins of what was called the monkey house, where US military prostitutes with venereal diseases were relocated. The film shows three women haunted by ghosts of the Cold War while remaining invisible and often forced to be silent within Korean society. The paper deals with gendered memory of the Cold War through the stories of wandering ghosts in the dilapidated streets of US camptown sites in South Korea. Pak Kyongt'ae and Kim Tongnyong, the directors of the film, challenge the boundaries of documentary film, experimenting with various filmic strategies such as interviews, monologues, fantasies, and personal memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-431
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Korean Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • ColdWar
  • Korean documentary film
  • Military sex worker
  • Spectrality
  • US camptown

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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