Riverside Falsely Claims It is "First Ever Koreatown." What Happened to San Francisco?

August 2015 | Dosan Memorial Foundation Chairman Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong explaining to Korea Times Reporters that Riverside is the "First Ever Koreatown". Surprising to find out a person who is supposed to know Korean and Dosan hisotry better than most is completely wrong with his facts. The Dosan Memorial Foundation has not been following Dosan's legacy efficiently or accurately. 

June 15, 2016 |  Wrong facts presented again! Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong Chairman of the Dosan Memorial Foundation and Ethnic Studies Professor Ed Chang of Young Oak Kim Center at UC Riverside present incorrect details about Dosan and the other Korean laborers who used the Pachappa Labor Camp. It was not a "Koreatown". However, the City Of Riverside Historic Preservation Team believed the wrong information given by Hong and Chang's testimony. It is disappointing to realize the City of Riverside itself has no academic concept of the man's life whose statue stands in the Riverside City Plaza. Why are they even trying to make this far reach to claim something not true?

Dosan Memorial Foundation and UC Riverside Young Oak Kim Center claim Riverside, California is First Ever Koreatown. Starting in August of 2015 Dosan Memorial Foundation Chairperson Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong laid claim that his hometown of Riverside is the first Koreatown. The first photo on the left is from the article in the Korea Times reporting Dr. Hong's claims.

On June 2016, Professor Ed Chang Director of the Young Oak Kim Center at the University of California Riverside joined Dr. Mike Myung Ki Hong in a presentation to the City of Riverside City Council Historical Preservation Committee convincing its members Riverside was the "First Ever Koreatown." The Committee unanimously believed what was presented at the hearing approving the "resolution". The matter is pending presentation to the Mayor and City Council Members for their review.

The suggestion that Riverside is the "First Ever Koreatown" is wrong and it is based on incorrect historical information provided to the City of Riverside.

It would be a serious revision of history to change the long time understanding that San Francisco holds the claim Riverside is attempting to make.

Key activities related to Dosan's legacy supports San Francisco. Historical records do not support Riverside. There were already Koreans in San Francisco when Dosan and Helen arrive on October 12, 1902. By 1903 Koreans began to come from Hawaii to get out of plantation work. Dosan started the first Korean Community organization there called the Chinmokhoe (Friendship Association) in 1903, organized the first prayer group, established both the headquarters of the Kongnip Hyophoe (Mutual Assistance Assn.) and the first Korean newspaper in 1905.  Dosan established an employment agency in San Francisco. Dosan then went to Riverside with Yi Kang who had run labor camps in Hawaii. They set up Pachappa Labor Camp styled after the Hawaii Labor Camps. Almost every Korean organization had its headquarters in San Francisco. Can anyone recall Riverside having a port of entry for Koreans? What do you call the community that developed there? Can the Pachappa Labor Camp meet the definition of a "town"? One thing that is becoming clear is people in Riverside are mistaken about Korean history.

Flip Cuddy