Organized Panel Session
Itaewon is in Yongsan, a central district in Seoul, which includes the headquarters of the US Army. It is not surprising that Itaewon was developed as the so-called base town where the US servicemen spent their leisure time and local Koreans provided them with special goods and services. During the 1970-80s, it transformed into an ‘international shopping street’ pushed by the hosting of international mega-events such as Asian Games (1986) and Seoul Olympic Games (1988). Among the changes, I pay special attention to the subcultural spaces for nightlife that sprang up in the main street of the area. Located between Sinae, the old inner-city and Gangnam, the new boomtown, Itaewon was established as an ambivalent place that attracted the ‘delinquent kids’ all over Seoul and created its own subculture of musicians, DJs, dancers and clubbers. Although Itaewon often met harsh social criticism as the ‘US neo-colony,’ we see the alluring cosmopolitan imageries of the subcultural actors, who contributed to give birth to underground music. In this paper, I will critically recollect what took place in Itaewon during the wild urban development of Seoul in the 1970-80s through the textual analysis of movies, including music movies that represented the area, such as Good Windy Days (1980), My Daughter Rescued from the Swamp (1984), Into the Heat of the Night (1985), Dancing College of Youth (1985).