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<font color=green>[Feature]Korean Immigrants In America⑪

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작성자 minjok 작성일02-01-18 00:00 조회1,876회 댓글0건



Judging from some of their early experiences, the Korean immigrants in America at the turn of the century were mixture of early adventures, hardships, and discriminations. Yet, their dreams, endurance, and tolerance never disappeared from them. They determined to succeed, if not for themselves, at least for their offsprings.

sunwoohakwon.jpgThey preserved their culture and traditions under the most piercing situations which proved to be priceless treasures for their children whose identity problem arose with the same wave of identity crises of all the minorities in this country. These inheritances were very remarkable considering the life they had lived in early days.

The problem of assimilation was not their problem. They were not allowed to be assimilated into the majority of the country. In spite of that separation, the country they came to live in was theirs as much as the rest of the populace. They volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces when wars came, but they were refused American citizenship. Not only could they not participate in the American democratic process, but they also could not join in socialization. Only two out of 80 narrators were members of the Rotary Club in Reedley, a few of them attended non-Korean churches, and the rest of their social relationships were the relation-ship of employers and employees. Of course, dramatic changes have happened in race relationships since the end of the second World War.

Most of the recent immigrants have absolutely no idea of what the early pioneers experienced. For a long time, Korean immigrants, much like the Chinese and the Japanese, were restricted to their “place.” They understood what they could and could not do in America. That the “Orientals” were an inferior race was taught that the public schools, and the racist society reminded us constantly. Our “heroes”, our “models”, and even our imaginary leaders were always white men, not Asian.

Those we have interviewed were neither starving nor living in a slum, but they were not in the middle class “desirable” neighbours either. Only one couple lived with their children although some of them were in moderate proximity of their children. Some of them had close contacts with their children; for instance, the Charrs and the Yoons in Los Angeles, the Shinns and the Hars in San Francisco, but most of them see their children whom they miss so much only on special occasions. How much have they retained the old tradition of close relationships of the extended family was quite different among them. In the case of the Yoon’s, their contact is almost daily, but that was a rather unusual case.

Not everyone is ready to accept how much they are Americanized. Unlike their children, they are still Koreans who live in America. Some of them took American citizenship during the 60’s, but none of them had a clear notion why they took it. One couple moved back to Korea for good. They wanted to spend the rest of their lives in their native place--Pusan. They bought a nice Western style house in the most desirable area of Tongnae hot spring and settled for good. In less than a year they gave up the house, and returned to Los Angeles.

Why? We asked. Because Korea did not have a Medicare service which they might need as they get older. Both of them are in their 80’s. An outstanding and admirable feature of the early Korean immigrants was their deep loyalty among the family members to their community, church, and government. Their love of family and devotion to children are traditions to be honored.

No known major crimes have been committed by Korean immigrants or their children. The ingenuity and the adaptability to sudden crisis are strengths they displayed. Granted they had little other choice, throughout the interviews the message came loud and clear that they were going to lay the foundation to create that better world they did not find; they were determined that their children would find themselves in a better world. Perhaps it was this ray of hope that sustained them through all their years of struggles and humiliations. The strengths and lessons we can draw through the experiences of the Korean pioneers in America are indeed inspirational.

Footnotes on Chapter Three

1. Kim, Warren Y. Koreans in America. Seoul, 1971, p. 87.
2. Oral History of Korean Immigrants in America: 1903-1924,
Taped Interviews, no. 78--Reverend Wang Sa-sun.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, Taped Interviews, no. 49--Kim Won-yong.
6. Kim, op. cit. p. 57.
7. Ibid. p. 64.
8. OHKIA, no. 49--Kim Won-yong.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. For detailed story of Dr. Rhee, see Chapter 7 Syngman Rhee in
` America’s Dilemma in Asia: The Case of South Korea by
Harold Hakwon Sunoo, Chicago, 1979.
12. OHKIA, no. 22--Mrs. Lee Bom-young.
13. Ibid.
14. OHKIA, no. 54--Song, Leo.
15. Ibid.
16. OHKIA, no. 69--Kim Young-chul.

Footnotes for Chapter Four

1. Oral History of Koreans in America: 1903-1924, Taped interviews,
no. 3--Kim Sung-jin.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, no. 28--Yoo Soon-gi.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. OHKIA, no. 19--Kim Shin-sook
11. Ibid.

Footnotes on Chapter Five

1. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 26--Mrs. Shinn Kang-aie
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 16--Mrs. Kang Sung-hak
6. Ibid.
7. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 72--Mrs. Kim Sun-eun
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 29--Mrs. Yoon Do-yun
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid.

Footnotes on Chapter Six
1. Sing Ging Sun, The Chinese Family System, New York, 1922, p. 50
2. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 9--Mrs. Joan Ahn
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 30--Ahn Young-ho
6. Ibid.
7. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 5--Mrs. Rosa Sunoo
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.

Footnotes on Chapter 7

1. Kitano, Harry H.L., Japanese Americans, New Jersey: Prentice-
Hall, 1976, p. 29, quoted from San Francisco Argonaut,
December 1, 1966, editorial.
2. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 38--Paik Myong-son.
3. OHKIA, taped interviews no. 31--Emsen Charr
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, taped interviews no. --Henry de Young
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.

Footnotes on Chapter Eight

1. Oral History of Koreans in America: 1903-1924,
taped interviews, no. 23--Lee Ke-man
2. Ibid.
3. OHKIA, taped interviews, no. 25--Mrs. Roh Sin-tae
4. Ibid.
5. OHKIA, taped interviews, no. 38--Paik Myong-son
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.

Footnotes on Chapter Ten

1. For details, see Chapter Five in Korea: A Political History
in Modern Times by Harold Sunoo, Kunkook University Press,
Seoul, 1970

2. “The name of Hananim is so distinctive and so universally used,
that there will be no fear, in future translations and preachings,
of unseemly squabbles which occurred long ago among Chinese
missionaries on this subject...” quoted from John Ross,
History of Korea, London, 1891, p. 355
The concept of Hananim existed among the commoners always, it
was very convenient for missionaries to connect such ideas with
the concept of the Jewish God of Old Testament, and easy to convey
such relationship to them. It is no wonder, then, most of the
Christians come from the rank of the commoners and most successful
region of the church growth were witnessed in Pyong-yang area where
the Yi Dynasty had discriminated in selecting and appointing of the
high officials from the region.

3. OHKIA, no. 4--Mrs. Lim Wha-yun

4. Sunoo, Hakwon and Sonia, “The Heritage of the First Korean Women
Immigrants in the United States: 1903-1924,” in Korean in America,
The Association of Korean Christian Scholars in North America,

5. OHKIA, no. 78--Whang Sa-sun

6. OHKIA, no. 66--Mrs. Chung He-kyong

7. OHKIA, no. 57--Kim Sung-nak

8. Five Korean delegates were: Hahn Si-dae, Kim Byong-yun,
Kim Sung-nak, Song Leo, Dunn Jacob. Ibid.

9. OHKIA, no. 40--Mary Paik Lee

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. OHKIA, no. 47--Kim Jin-sung

13. OHKIA, no. 9 op. cit.

14. Ibid.

15. OHKIA, no. 78 op. cit.

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