This article explores possible influences of Americanization on postwar Japanese and Korean melodramas by focusing on the tropes of sexually liberated and exploited women such as the Pan-pan and Yanggongju (prostitutes groomed for American soldiers in both Japan and Korea). In comparison with Hollywood maternal melodramas, Japanese and Korean maternal melodramas not only represent women's social participation and their romantic love or sexual liberation but also inscribe imbalances arising from U.S. military culture by employing women's bodies as metonymic victims of their respective nations. I examine the ways in which Tragedy of Japan (1953) and The Body Confession (1964) transform Hollywood motifs into its own vernacular cultural modes to show ambivalent status of the prostitute mother by embodying both a repulsion and fascination toward Americanization. I also tend to the affective moment by which both films go beyond national allegories in which the prostitute mother is victimized by the biopolitical complicity between domestic sexual norms and American militarism. In the frame of melodrama as the self-reflexive mode and the hysteric's imaginary, films disturb gender roles in that it exposes the contradictions of a dominant ideology. Women's contaminated bodies not only act as victimized and shameful nations but also grasp their own affect such as hysteria. This essay aims to provide new theoretical and historical tools for analyzing Japanese and Korean national cinema, focusing on gender issues over inter-Asian perspectives. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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