What Is the History of Yongsan, Korea?


Quick Answer

The U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan began as a military outpost for Japanese troops in the early 1900s before American troops occupied this part of central Seoul, South Korea, following World War II. Of the more than 600 buildings on the base as of October 2014, 226 of them were red-brick structures constructed by the Imperial Japanese Army. Most of these Japanese structures were built between 1920 and 1930.

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Full Answer

The Japanese used some of the brick buildings as administrative offices, a hospital and a stockade for prisoners. Sgt. 1st Class Riviere Cools stated in an interview that the hairs on the back of his neck stand up just talking about nighttime patrols around the old stockade. A white, hexagonal structure with round portholes housed the Japanese guard post.

The U.S. military still uses several Japanese-constructed buildings, as of October 2014. The hospital once housed Soviet troops during negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1948. The hospital is part of the main post for Joint U.S. Military Affairs Group-Korea. The Seoul USO was an administrative building during the Japanese occupation. The veterinary clinic occupies the grounds of the old stockade.

American forces named the garrison Yongsan, which means "dragon hill," in 1952. Previously, the U.S. Army's 7th Infantry Division called the garrison Camp Seobingo.

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