Paul Jean was born and raised in San Francisco, California. After his parents’ divorce, Paul did not have much exposure and access to Korean culture or a community and grew up feeling disconnected and almost ashamed of being Korean.
As he got older, his curiosity of the world around him grew and allowed him to explore different ways of thinking. He continued to struggle to find his place in America and his desire for a greater purpose in life led him to move to Korea in 2006. For the first seven years, he was recognized as an American by his peers until he discovered jiu jitsu. Nobody at the gym cared that he was the Korean American, or a gyopo. Paul credits jiu jitsu in helping him connect with his Korean identity and keeping him motivated and grounded.
Judy Hong was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea before moving with her family to Queens, NY at the age of 12. She struggled during her first year in America and would practice saying, “I don’t speak English” to avoid conversations.
Hyojin Park was born and raised in South Korea. After working as an actor in Hyehwa, the theater district, she decided to move to New York to pursue a Masters in acting. She spent her first few years in America motivated by her belief in the American Dream but by her final year of grad school, she noticed that her appearance and accent sometimes meant she was treated differently from her peers and that simply working hard is not enough to overcome those barriers.
John Limb was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in a relatively Americanized household where it was encouraged to speak English over Korean. As he went through high school in a predominantly white town, he was often aware of the noticeable differences between him and his peers.
In this Remote Edition of Legacy Project, John Limb sits down with his daughter, Erin, to talk about his personal journey as a Korean American and how he came to realize his true passion as the co-owner of a Korean American brewery, Hana Makgeolli. He expresses how grateful he is for Erin and her sister’s ability to embrace their Korean heritage and hopes that they find a path that will bring joy and fulfill them in every way possible.
Kristin Pak/이영숙 was born in Incheon, South Korea and was adopted to Waterbury, Connecticut when she was about 7 months old. She grew up in a very diverse working class community where race and ethnicity were central to many conversations. Her peers were reflective of the diversity around her and had strong connections to their ethnic identity, many spending summers in their parents’ home country, while she struggled to claim her own Korean American identity. After moving to New York to teach ESL and meeting Korean Americans from different backgrounds, she learned that there are many ways to be Korean American.
Ms. Pak has since moved to Seoul and expresses how Koreans adopted overseas have the right to reclaim their Korean identity and feel part of the Korean nation. As a linguist and educator, she believes that language fluency is not inextricably tied to one’s cultural identity and hopes that perceptions of who is considered Korean will change.
John Park spent only six years in Seoul, South Korea before moving around the world due to his father’s job as a diplomat. He moved to Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and eventually landed in the United States. In this sitdown interview with his son Owen, Mr. Park recalls his highschool experiences in Virginia and remarks on his feelings of being an outsider looking in.
It was only later in his college years when he was able to find a sense of belonging through his martial arts “tribe”. In this interview, he expresses how he discovered his happiness well into his 30s and also shares advice for Owen as they consider their next chapter in their lives.
NAYA: David Kim
Meet classical violinist David Kim. A child prodigy since the age of six, David fiercely trained to be a world-class violinist under his mother’s intense supervision. In this first installment of NAYA, David graciously invites us to his home and the music hall where we explore his passion for music and the journey that led him to become the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. NAYA (나야), produced by KoreanAmericanStory.org, is a mini-documentary series that paints vivid, visual stories of unique Korean American individuals and passion for their craft.
Resilience Runs in the Family | Perilla Diaries | Ep. 5
For our final episode of Perilla Diaries, we asked Thomas and Andrew where they got the resilience to carry on throughout all these pandemic challenges. Without hesitation, they pointed to the strongest people they know – their mothers. We asked the two restaurateurs to phone them for a short interview about their respective journeys starting new jobs and lives in America.
Day In the Life of a Parent During Covid-19
Julian Kim is an editor, producer, filmmaker, and father of Ian, his 20-month-old son. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families have experienced a dramatic change within their household when it comes to parenting, especially for those with young children.
Korean Hot Sauce in Minneapolis
KC Kye is the founder of K-Mama Sauce, a Korean hot sauce company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. KC initially was preparing to go into ministry but pivoted into starting a business after a conversation with his mentor and pastor, Reverend Dr. Jin. Like many small businesses, KC and his team faced challenges and had to adapt to new rules and restrictions due to COVID-19. KC has found much love and support from his church and hopes that K-Mama Sauce will continue to grow to support the greater Minneapolis community.
Mikey Fresh is the Senior Artist Relations Manager at Genius, a digital media company known for providing unique insight about the stories behind the most popular songs. From showing up awkwardly to a hip-hop magazine interview in a full suit and a fake resume, Mikey Fresh is now one of the top experts in the hip-hop industry. Mikey shares with Julie how he fell in love with hip-hop culture growing up as a young Korean American in New Jersey and how he’s found his way creating a unique career out of his nontraditional passion.
In this #NotYourAverage, Athina and Florence share with Julie Young how they started from just a simple idea to being met with overwhelming demand from their Kickstarter that launched them into establishing their own company.
Marcus Hahm, also known as Avec Plaisir, is an award-winning sound designer, mixer, and music producer who’s worked with national brands and major labels doing commercial work, songwriting and music supervising.
KAS 2017 RECAP REEL
2017 was an extraordinary year for KAS. Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from last year.
3 Generations Visit Korea
What would it be like for 3 generations to travel together in Korea? Walk through one family’s journey of discovering and revisiting where they come from, while passing through the natural landscapes of the countryside and modern city of Seoul.