Volume 1 (1985)

Volume 1

The Journal of Korean American Historical Society

The Journal of Korean American Historical Society ( Hanin Iminsa Yon'gu P'yonch'anhoe Chi), published in 1985 (LCCN 86658565), is the inaugural issue of the Korean American Historical Society, a bilingual journal intended to bridge the widening gap between parents and children while at the same time advocating Korean American interests by informing the mainstream society of our heritage and beliefs.
This first issue features an oral history interview with Joseph Hong, 63. His father, Ji In Hong, settled in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1898 during the Canadian gold rush, and is likely one of the first Koreans to have settled in the Pacific Northwest. Born in Ketchikan in 1921, Joseph Hong enrolled at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, was in the ROTC program there, and then fought in the US Army during WW II. He later graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Business and Economics, and served under the National Labor Relations Board, Region 19 Office, in Seattle. When Alaska was hit by an earthquake in 1963, he was appointed by President Johnson to administer a $200 million, six-city recovery project. In the interview, Mr. Hong speaks of his personal and family history, college life, the Ketchikan community, and of the Japanese internment. Joe Hong died in December, 1985, and was memorialized by the Alaskan state legislature.
His story is followed by a panel discussion by the parents and teachers of Seattle's weekend Korean language schools regarding teaching Korean to their children, to examine closely what Koreans almost habitually accept as an unquestionable principle and thereby shed light on the direction, the content, and the method of teaching Korean language and culture. Moderated by Ick-Whan Lee, panelists include Gloria Lee, Ke Hi Oh, Hae Sung Shin, In Hee Treadwell, Jong Tae Kim, Soon Ja Yun, Sun Hae Kim, Qwihee Lee, Kun Hong Park, Ki Lyun Lee, and Daeshik Yu. Korean language is seen as a crucial element in developing self-awareness and firmly establishing self-identity, to enable children to speak with their parents, to enable them to understand Korean culture, and overcome discrimination. Devotion to family life, capability and willingness to contribute to society were also stressed. Children better understand the importance of learning Korean once they've been to Korea, have lived among other Koreans, and have had to try to communicate with their relatives. Panelists, however, recognized the impossibility of expecting Korean children born in the US to know Korean as well as, or to behave like, those born and raised in Korea, as well as the danger of self-segregation.
An essay by Attorney Harold Riach (Young Shik Shim) against the media's portrayal of Asian Americans as the "model minority," whereby he argues that it creates the illusion that Asian Americans are more successful than they really are, inappropriately lending support to the dismantling of affirmative action programs at best, and fomenting racial violence at worst.
The issue closes with a memorial to Yunja Yu, a founding board member of Seattle's Korean Community Counseling Center, Korean language teacher, KAHS volunteer, University of Washington administrator, and wife of editor Daeshik Yu.