Memorial honoring Korean immigrants erected at Oahu cemetery

New memorial at Oahu Cemetery in Nuuanu honors early Korean independence activists in Hawaii
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:25 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s a new memorial on Oahu commemorating the first Korean immigrants to Hawaii.

It was unveiled this week at Oahu Cemetery in Nu’uanu. It honors some of the first to move to the islands from Korea.

Community leaders say about 5,000 Koreans who moved to Honolulu in the early 1900s helped Korea fight for independence from Japanese rule.

Among the attendees at the memorial unveiling was the granddaughter of Won-myung Chung, who was one of about 20 activists posthumously recognized by the Korean government.

”To have this honor, come 80 years later, you know, I think he would be thrilled and grateful. And ... if they went back to Korea today, they would be so, so happy at the change and how modern a city it is and what they’ve accomplished,” Chung’s granddaughter Elsa Carl Lee said.

This year marks 120 years since the first Koreans moved to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. That opened the gates to a wave of immigration to the U.S. for work.