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Korean Culture in Hawaii

An introduction to Korean culture in Hawaii and the Korean ethnic group in Hawaii. Includes information about the Hawaii Korean Festival, the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce, the downtown Honolulu Korean War memorial, the Korean Studies Center at the University of Hawaii, and other Hawaii Korean culture and Hawaii Korean-American resources in Hawaii.

Korean Festival of Hawaii
Every July a Korean Festival is held at Honolulu's Kapiolani Park Bandstand. The event features Korean dance performances, Korean musicians and singers, demonstrations of the Korean martial art taekwondo, exhibits of Korean artifacts, and booths selling Korean food such as kalbi (barbecued short ribs), kim chi (spicy Korean pickled cabbage), and bibim gooksoo, (spicy Korean noodles).

Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce
The Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce was founded in November of 1940 by a group of Korean immigrants who arrived in Hawaii between 1903 and 1905. In 1977 the Korean Business Council merged with the organization and in 1979, due to generational differences, the organization split into two organizations: the older generation's Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii and the younger generations Hawaii Koran Chamber of Commerce of Honolulu. The two organizations remerged in 1988 to form today's Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce. The events and activities of the organization include organizing an annual Korean Festival in Honolulu, providing scholarships, promoting trade between Hawaii and Korea, and representing the interests of the Korean-American business community in Hawaii.

Korean War Memorial in Downtown Honolulu
The Korean War Memorial on the grounds of the Iolani Palace was dedicated on July 24, 1994 and it cost approximately $1 million to build. The memorial is a serpentine wall made of lava rock that is about 100 feet long and six feet high. The wall is layered in pedestals to allow friends and family to place flowers or mementos. The names of the 456 Hawaii men who died in the Korean War are engraved on the memorial. Every Thursday a local veterans organization washes and polishes the memorial and maintains the area around it.

Korean Restaurants on Oahu
Where to find Korean restaurants, Korean barbecue, and Korean cafes in Waikiki, Honolulu, and on other parts of the island of Oahu.

Korean Food Recipes
Recipes for the barbecued slide beef dish known as Bulgogi and the barbecued short ribs dish known as Kal Bi.

History of Koreans in Hawaii: A Timeline
This timeline on the Web site of the Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper covers the history of Koreans in Hawaii from January 17, 1903 when the first Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii through 1965-1980 immigration wave.

Halla Pai Huhm Dance Studio
This Honolulu learning center for Korean dance and music founded in 1950 by Korean immigrant Halla Pai Huhm. The center is located at 1502-B South King Street in Honolulu and it can be reached by phone at 808-949-2888.

Hawaii Vets Honor Korean War Fallen Every June
Every June 25, local veterans groups in Hawaii, including the Korean War Veterans Association, participate in a public ceremony at Punchbowl Cemetery to honor those who died in the Korean War. During the ceremony the groups place nearly wreathes at the "Courts of the Missing", and the number of wreaths placed represents the number of years that have passed since the Korean War began on June 25, 1950.

Korean Consulate of Honolulu
The Honolulu office of the Korean Consulate General is located at 2756 Pali Highway in Honolulu. They can be contacted by phone at 808-845-3918.

UH Korean Studies Center
The Korean Studies Center at the University of Hawaii was founded in 1972 and it's mission is to "promote interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches to Korean studies by drawing on its faculty members in disciplines as diverse as communication, economics, ethnomusicology, education, geography, history, language, linguistics, literature, political science, sociology, and urban and regional planning". The center is located at 1881 East West Road in Honolulu and can be contacted by phone at 808-956-7041.

Korean Adoptees of Hawaii
A Honolulu organization founded in March of 2006 to raise awareness about Korean adoptees' unique and integral role in the Korean-American and island cultural landscape. Most of the organization's members are adult Korean adoptees living in Hawaii.

Koreans in Hawaii: A Bibliography (PDF)
These materials related to Koreans in Hawaii are available in the Hawaii and Pacific Section of the Hawaii State Library at 478 South King Street in the historic capitol district of Downtown Honolulu.

Articles About Hawaii's Korea Connection

Biography of Korean Dancer Halla Pai Huhm
This University of Hawaii Halla Pai Huhm biography is the life story of the Korean immigrant who founded a Korean dance school in Hawaii in 1950. In 1979 she was recognized by the Korean Community Council as "Outstanding Korean in Hawaii" for her contributions to Korean culture in Hawaii through dance and music.

2008 December 15:
Korea Air Will Add Seats to Hawaii
Pacific Business Journal article about Korean Air adding more flights between Korea and Hawaii as of March 2009. The new flights are expected to be needed because of the U.S. government's visa wavier for Koreans traveling to the United States that went into effect on November 19, 2008

2008 July 18:
In the Beat With Korean Culture
Information about a July 2008 Korean percussion band concert at the University of Hawaii that featured the drumming group SamulGwangDae.

2003 January 3
2003 Korean Centennial in Hawaii
Events scheduled for the 2003 celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the first Korean immigrants arriving in Hawaii.

2003 January 12
Koreans Mark 100 Years in Hawaii
Honolulu Advertiser newspaper article by Vicki Viotta about the 2003 Korean Centennial celebration in Hawaii.

2003 February 2
Center Celebrates Koreans' Isle Life
A February 2003 article by Nancy Arcayna in the Honolulu Star Bulletin Newspaper with information about the newly opened Korean Cultural Center on Rooke Avenue in Honolulu. (web site KoreanCentinnial.org is no longer online)

2002 November 17
Move to Build Korean Center in Canavarro Castle
This November 2002 article by Rosemarie Bernardo in the Honolulu Star Bulletin Newspaper describes the efforts of a group of Koreans in Honolulu who want to turn the Canavarro Castle on Rooke Avenue in Nuuanu, Honolulu into a Korean Cultural Center.

2001 August 19
Isle Korean War Museum Urged

2000 February 3
Strengthening a Cultural Identity
This Honolulu Star Bulletin article by Susan Kreifels describes the Korean American struggle to create awareness of their history and traditions.

2000 May 30
Korean Center Wants Larger Quarters
This May 2000 article by Harold Morse in the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper describes the efforts of the Korean Cultural Center in Honolulu to move from their cramped quarters on Kapiolani Boulevard to a larger location on Sheridan Street.

See also:
- Korean Immigration to Hawaii
- Books About Koreans in Hawaii

Related Links
About Hawaii
Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors

Elsewhere on the Web
Korean Culture in Hawaii
State of Hawaii - Koreans in Hawaii

A NOTE FROM KATHIE: If you have any corrections or updates to the information on this page or if you would like us to add any information or links, please send a message to the email address on our contacts page.

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