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Abstract

Although Koreans and Korean Americans are ubiquitous in contemporary American society, the migration of Koreans to the United States did not begin until long after other East Asians (Japanese and Chinese) were brought to Hawaii and the West Coast. In 1900 only 31 Koreans were in the entire United States, but by 1910 over 4,000 had come. These fIrst Koreans corning to America differed from Chinese and Japanese immigrant workers primarily in that they were Christians, and many of the early Koreans also came as families instead of single men. As their numbers increased, the Koreans set up communities in Hawaii and eventually California, which replicated many aspects of Korean society. When Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910 emigration slowed, and Korean nationalist organizations were established in Hawaii and the mainland United States. The leaders of some of these organizations would eventually convince the U.S. government to restore ethnic recognition to Koreans.

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