"The Korean Experience in America, 1903 - 1924"The Korean experience in America during the years 1903 to 1924 is very unique. When compared to other East Asian immigrants, Korean immigrants were relatively small. Most of them were students and agricultural laborers who emigrated to Hawaii as plantation laborers. Many of them decided to come to America due to constant invasion by Japan and also to earn lot of money. Those immigrants happen to be an important factor on Korean history. During the years 1903-1905, 7226 immigrants came to Hawaii.
These immigrants hoped to earn enough money in 3 or 4 years and open a business in their homeland. Of the 7, 226 immigrants, roughly 6000 were male adults, 600 were women, and 500 children. Just about 60% of them stayed and rest went back to Korea or moved to the continental United States. Within less than a decade, the Korean immigrants found themselves in danger of losing their homeland to Japan. This would mean that they wouldn't have their own country to go back to.
In 1910, Japanese took over Korea. That's when many Korean immigrants started to get involved in the Korean independence movement. After nine years of Japanese Annexation of Korea in 1910, around 540 student were admitted for study at American schools. Most of these students were political refugees so they became an addition to the Korean community. Korean immigrants started to form anti-Japanese programs to free their country. This was a great concern to Japan.
Japanese government decided to grant Korean women who were willing to move to America as marriage contracts to calm Korean immigrants from contributing to anti-Japanese programs. This decision didn't change Korean immigrants from involving in Korean independence movement but made them more desperate to get their country back for their daughters and sons. By the time 1915 - 1920, Korean immigrants made enough money to start small business like laundry, barber, restaurant, shoe repair services, and so on. This meant that they were able to donate more to political activities. Korean immigrants built school for their children and churches. Korean immigrants were getting settled in America.
They even had Korean newspapers to tell people what was going on with Korea. On the other hand, Korean political activists started to rise to start a movement, like Syngman Rhee, An Chang-ho and Pak Yong-man. These leaders tried to free Korea by trying to attract the attention and support of the American public. Earl k. Park, acting president of the Korean National Association, and Syngman Rhee both wrote letters about declaration of independence to president Wilson of United States, but it wasn't acknowledged. They have tried many other ways to get help but all failed.
Koreans in American made the last effort by appearing at the Washington Disarmament Conference, but this also failed. In 1945, Korea finally declared independence after WWII, when the Allies defeated Japan. This was a very sad thing Korean Americans had to go through. Donating $20 to Korean independence movement when they were just earning $50 was very brave thing to do. I believe Koreans are strong patriots. With all those efforts, Korea was under Japanese nearly 50 years..