Moon awards medals to Korean immigrants in Hawaii for fight against Japan's colonization

Sep 23, 2021

Moon awards medals to Korean immigrants in Hawaii for fight against Japan's colonization

Honolulu (Hawaii), September 23: South Korean President Moon Jae-in awarded posthumous medals of honor to two Korean immigrants in Hawaii on Wednesday, with their descendants in attendance at the ceremony.
It marked the first time that a South Korean president held a medal-awarding ceremony abroad for those recognized for independence activities during Japan's colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon bestowed the Order of Merit for National Foundation on the two late figures -- Kim No-di and Ahn Jung-song -- for their role in raising funds for independence fighters, while residing on this island.
Kim was a champion of gender equality since her student days at U.S. Oberlin College, exposing the violation of Korean women's rights by imperial Japan in 1919 at the first meeting of representatives of Korean Americans held in Philadelphia. She started traveling across America in 1921 to increase awareness of Korea's fight for independence from Japan and raised money to fund independence activities.
Ahn also financially supported Korean independence efforts as an executive of the Korean Women's Association in America. She was the wife of Ahn Won-kyu, a fellow activist who campaigned for Korea's independence in the U.S.
The ceremony took place at the Korean Language Flagship Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM).
A shipload of Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii in 1903 to work on pineapple and sugar plantations, and many others followed suit. Hawaii served as the home for ethnic Koreans raising funds for the independence movement.
"The first-generation Korean immigrants in Hawaii contributed to their homeland's independence despite going through tough labor and difficult lives. They raised over US$3 million for independence activities by shaving off one-third of their earnings, which was less than $1 a day," Moon said.
Moon said the government will work to discover and publicize other undiscovered accomplishments of overseas independence contributors.
"We will do our best by considering the paying of respect to those who dedicated themselves to Korea's independence as a given duty and an honor," he added.
Moon flew to Honolulu on Tuesday following a visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly session.
Just ahead of the medal-awarding ceremony, Moon visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and paid tribute to war dead, including those who were killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Source: Yonhap