What is National Korean American Day?

Facts about Korean American Day
Photo: Holiday Calendar

Any American who has tried kimchi for the first time as an adult probably won’t forget the experience. There is so much more to Korean culture though. National Korean American Day honors Americans with full or partial Korean descent and celebrates the arrival of Korea’s first immigrants to the States.

The Korean War initiated a lot of Korean immigration to the U.S. The American-backed South Korea fought against North Korea, which the Soviet Union supported. This partnership between South Korea and the U.S. resulted in cultural exchange and migrations. Then, the Korean-American population exploded after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 allowed more Asians to migrate to the states.

In truth, the kimchi gets better as your palate adjusts to the fermented and pickled foods typical in Korean fare. So whether it’s the land of your ancestry or your friends’ native soil, celebrate Korea on National Korean American Day

The History Of Korean American Day

To fully appreciate this holiday, it’s probably helpful to consider the history surrounding the first immigrants to the U.S. Although there were many Koreans who visited the United States after the 1882 treaty was signed between Korea and the U.S., few of them stayed in the country permanently. This would change in December of 1902, when the SS Gaelic departed for Honolulu, Hawaii. These were the first wave of Korean immigrants that would permanently settle U.S possessions. Over the next two years, over 7,500+ Koreans would immigrate.

The Koreans who arrived in the U.S became a big part of their communities. They helped economic development by establishing businesses, and they fought for the U.S during WWI, WWII, and the Korean war. They were such an important part of their communities and contributed so much to the U.S through their service and hard work, U.S President George W. Bush proclaimed January 13th of 2003 as a day to honor the 100th anniversary of their arrival. The U.S Congress would make it official in 2005. Since then, people all over the U.S have celebrated Korean American Day, according to holidayscalendar.

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Notable Korean Americans

During our research, we decided to go through a list of some of the most notable Korean Americans, and while that list is too big to list in this holiday guide, we can list some of them below. Below is a cross-section of notable Korean Americans that have made important contributions to business, law, government, and entertainment over the past few years.

Ilhan New: Founder of La Choy

Philip Ahn: Actor

Moon Bloodgood: Actress

Steve Byrne: Comedian & Actor

Daniel Chun: Writer, Co-Producer Of The Simpsons

Grace Kim: Playboy Playmate

Virginia Cha: CNN News Anchor

Judge Herbert Choy: U.S Court Of Appeals Judge For The Ninth District

Ronald Moon: Chief Justice Of The Hawai’i Supreme Court

Anna Song: Santa Clar County Office Of Education Trustee

Leonard Chang: Novelist, TV and Short Story Writer

Mike Kim: Author

Susan Ahn Cuddy: First Female Gunnery Officer Of The U.S Navy

Fred Ohr: WWII Fighter Pilot

Observing Korean American Day

Probably the single best way to observe Korean American Day is to take a few moments and learn about the history of Korean migration to the U.S and Korean Americans who have made invaluable contributions to the U.S over the years. Anyone celebrating this holiday might also want to use the hashtag #KoreanAmericanDay on your social media accounts to spread the word about this holiday and let everyone know that you’re celebrating it.

Fun facts about National Korean American Day!

The first Korean immigrants arrived in the U.S. January 13, 1903, landing in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Linguists cannot find similarities between the Korean language and any other language on the planet, though it does borrow many words from Chinese.

There were about 1 million Korean immigrants in the U.S. in 2015.

Kimchi is a probiotic, like kombucha and kefir, because it promotes good digestive bacteria in your gut, cites nationaldayarchives.

How to celebrate National Korean American Day:

Share your family’s immigration experience with your friends or on social media. If you don’t know much about it, ask your parents and grandparents.

Ask your Korean-American friends how they connect with their Korean heritage.

Enjoy a Korean meal and a bottle of soju with your friends. Bulgogi is a great gateway into Korean food.

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