116th Korean Immigration Anniversary Dinner
1/13/19 - Waikiki Resort Hotel

President’s Remarks

Aloha!   Annyeong hashim nika!

Lt. Gov. Green, Council Member Kobayashi, Consul General Kang, retired Chief Justice Moon, former Mayor Hannemann, former Korean Interior Minister Ahn, and all of you, our distinguished guests, Happy New Year! Saehae bok mani badeu seyo!  

2019 is a special year.  It is the 116th anniversary of Korean Immigration to the United States.   It is also the start of the 116th Congress of the United States.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement, also known as the Samil Independence Movement. This was a series of mass demonstrations demanding Korean independence from Japan that helped to strengthen Korean national unity.

In keeping with the Foundation’s mission to promote Korean culture, heritage, and history, and as part of the 116th immigration anniversary, we held a memorial ceremony yesterday, at Puuiki Cemetery in historic Waialua, Hawaii.  

Puuiki Cemetery holds an important place in the history of Korean immigration to Hawaii because the first Korean plantation workers are buried there. It was a memorable and moving ceremony.  We paid respect to Korean AND all the other ethnic workers who rest there.   It was encouraging to have students participating, as you will see in the video shown later, as they helped to place leis on over 700 tombstones.

Last month, we dedicated a historic site plaque at Aliiolani Elementary School on Waialae Ave.  In earlier days it was the site of Aliiolani College. In 1918 Syngmon Rhee established the Korean Christian Institute there. The Institute became an important force in the life of the Korean community.  As many of you know Syngmon Rhee later became the first president of the Republic of Korea.   The dedication was especially meaningful with the participation of Dr. In Soo Rhee, the son of President Rhee.

Continuing our mission, we will in the next few months install our 4th historic site plaque, at Kalihi Elementary School.   

Our mission, by its terms, requires us to reach out to all.  We look forward to working with other ethnic communities on projects that will be mutually beneficial.  After all, we do share a commonality of immigration history. Done well, we will one day look back and say, 2019 WAS a special year!

On behalf of our board of directors, thank you for your continued support of the Foundation and its’ mission.

Khamsa hamnida!


From every corner of the world, immigrants have come to America to discover the promise of our Nation. On January 13, 1903, the first Korean immigrants to the United States arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the SS Gaelic. Today, Korean Americans live throughout the United States, representing one of our largest Asian-American populations. As we commemorate the centennial anniversary of Korean immigration to the United States, we recognize the invaluable contributions of Korean Americans to our Nation's rich cultural diversity, economic strength, and proud heritage.