Documentary | DVD | Study Guide Available
Producer: Tom Coffman
Grade Levels: High school & up
Korean Americans are a long-time, widely dispersed presence in the United States. Yet for most Americans, they remain a people without a story. In honor of the centennial anniversary of Korean migration to America, PBS Hawai’i and the Center for Asian American Media present a two-part documentary by filmmaker Tom Coffman.
ARIRANG Part 1: THE KOREAN AMERICAN JOURNEY begins the story of how and why, in less than three years in the early 1900s, more than 7,000 Koreans left their strife-torn homeland for new lives on the sugar plantations of Hawai’i. Yet just as they arrive in America, Korea is conquered by Japan, which attempts to stamp out the Korean language and culture and reduce Koreans to second-class Japanese citizens. As American settlers, the Korean sojourners organized around the cause of independence for Korea while simultaneously sinking roots deep into their new home.
ARIRANG Part 2: THE KOREAN AMERICAN DREAM continues the story. The program explores the dramatic renewal of migration as a result of the Korean War and subsequent changes in U.S. immigration law. After 1970, the Korean American population expanded rapidly, at times perilously, to over one million today. This is a story about distances: from Seoul to New Jersey; from storekeeper to Harvard graduate; and from the devastating Los Angeles riots of 1992 to a heightened involvement in the American scene.
This program is in 2 parts, 60 minutes each. VHS is 2 tapes or DVD is 1 disc.