First Advisor

Katrine E. Barber

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Immigrants -- Political activity -- United States, Korean resistance movements -- 1905-1945, Korea -- History -- Independence movement -- 1919, Korean Americans -- Ethnic identity



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 136 p.) : ill.


The Korean Independence Movement was a four decades long endeavor from 1905 to 1945 by Koreans to liberate Korea from Japanese colonization. Korean immigrants in America played a vital role in the movement. They contributed money, organized patriotic activities in their communities to raise awareness and issued appeals for support to the U.S. government. Throughout the years, and from generation to generation, Korean immigrants remained loyal to Korea's cause for liberation. This study discusses how this intense patriotic involvement to their homeland affected Koreans immigrants' experiences in America, namely, how such intense overseas nationalism shaped their Americanization process. Korean immigrants have told about their experiences in the form of memoirs, short narratives, interviews and speeches. These provide many first-person perspectives from which to understand Korean immigrants' changing senses of community, patriotism and acculturation. Many of these sources have come available in the last twenty years, but academic scholars have left these source largely untouched. Historians of Korean immigrant history often discuss the political components of the K.I.M. Although recognizing the importance of the Korean Independence Movement to Korean immigrants, scholars have, nonetheless, said very little as to how this movement affected them socially. This study examines how America influenced historical developments culturally by shaping the attitudes of Korea's most politically active nationalists--the Korean immigrants in America. Furthermore, this study argues that Koreans in America utilized the K.I.M. for much more than Korean independence and that their motives evolved throughout the decades. The early immigrants used the K.I.M. as a means to establish a Korean community and establish social networks while the later activists, particularly after 1919, used their demonstrations to broadcast their distinct Asian identity as well as their assimilation and loyalty to America. More simply put, Korean patriotism and Korean immigrant "Americanization," are intimately connected.


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Portland State University. Dept. of History

Persistent Identifier