Collection Description

Culture Name

Korean Americans

Culture Description

Korean Americans are a North American ethnic minority. Prior to 1965, they were concentrated in cities in Hawaii and the western states. After 1965, they moved to many more places in the United States, particularly to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Korean immigrants are heavily concentrated in a limited range of small businesses (importing manufactured goods, grocery, produce and liquor retail, dry cleaning, and garment manufacturing).


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Regional and Ethnic Cultures


United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and the eHRAF document number.

This file includes 17 documents which cover issues of immigrant history and adaptation, entrepreneurs and business, women and kinship. General history and survey of Korean-Americans are found in Kim, H. (1977, no. 10), Ryu (1977, no. 12), and Choy (1978, no. 1). Studies centered on the Korean community in Chicago discuss social and cultural adjustment (Hurh, Kim, H & Kim, K 1978, no. 2; Hurh & Kim, K. 1983, no. 3) and the importance of the family and kinship in this process (Kim, K. 1991, no. 17). Other local studies look at the establishment of the Korean community in New York City (Kim, I. 1991, no. 4), social networks in two Georgian Korean communities (Lee 1977, no. 11), and family and kinship networks in the Los Angeles (Hong 1982, no. 14; Yim 1991, no. 16). Several studies examine the changing status and roles of Korean women in the United States (Kim, K. & Hurh 1988, no. 5; Yu 1987, no. 15), and the particular role they play in maintaining ethnic identity (Yang 1987, no. 9). The rest of the studies examine Korean- American entrepreneurship and business (Lee & Bonacich 1986, no. 6; Min 1988, 1990, nos. 7 & 8) and the work patterns of Korean families (Yu 1982, no. 13).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by Pyong Gap Min, November, 1996. Indexing notes were prepared by John Beierle (July 1996) and file evaluation by Ian Skoggard (November 1996).

Adhesion; adhesive adaptation - acculturative process among Koreans who are able to graft elements of the mainstream American way of life onto their own transplanted customs and manners without disrupting or modifying their culture substantially - 177, 182

American dream (owning a small business) - 185

Center for Korean Studies - 814

CHIN'MOK-HOE - friends society - 575

DONG-CHANG - headman - 622

DONG-HOE - village council - 623

Ethnic attachment - immigrants' subjective identification with a particular ethnic group and maintenance of intimate social ties with that ethnic group - 186, 563

Ethnic confinement - confinement to one's ethnic group - 186, 563

Ethnic entrepreneurship - ethnic minority specialization in self-employment without imposing the requirement of foreign-born status -563/472

Ethnic facilitation - utilization of ethnic resources to solve problems of entrepreneurship - 563/472

Ethnic resources - sociocultural features of the whole group which coethnic entrepreneurs utilize in business or from which their business benefits, e.g., hard work, thrift - 181

GYE (GAE) associations - traditional Korean cooperatives who often function as rotating credit associations - 452, 474, 456, 575

HANIN HAPSONG HYOP-HOE (United Korean Society) - an organization consisting of a number of dong-hoe - 575

HUNG SA DAN (Young Korean Academy) - a national independence movement -664/575

Immigrant entrepreneurship - self-employment within the immigrant group at a rate much in excess of the general rate - 563/472

Immigrants - 563, 167

Index of dissimilarity - a measure of ethnic industrial distribution - 366

Industrial clustering - over representation of Korean firms in certain industries and under- or non- representation in others - 366

KOOK-MIN-HOE (Korean National Association) - a self-governing body for the Koreans in the United States - 575

KONGNIP HYOP HOE - Mutual Assistance Association - 456

Korean American Political Association (KAPA) - 665, 575

Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) - 647 (sometimes with 648) Korean Consulate General - 647 (sometimes with 648)

Korean Independence Movement - 664

Koreatown - 621

Kye - see Gye above

Life satisfaction - as perceived by Korean immigrants - 828

Middleman minorities - entrepreneurial ethnic minorities who cluster in commercial occupations - 472

Relocation of wartime populations - 722

Subcontracting (relationship between businesses) - 441

Violations of business or labor standards or laws - 673, 466

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