History, Generations, Immigration and Length of U.S. Residency
Koreans are one of the largest, fastest growing Asian groups in the United States (Jackson, 2006; library.ca.gov, N.D.a). During 1903-1905 came the first wave of Korean immigrants to the United States. Around 7,000 Korean came to Hawaii as farm laborers in sugar plantation. Within a few years 1,000 of them returned to Korea. About 2,000 of the early immigrants left Hawaii and came to the continental United States. In less than one century the number has grown to an estimated one million (Lee, 1995). Many more began to immigrate after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. As of 2000, ethnic Koreans living in the United States are largely concentrated in California, New York, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Los Angeles, with its Korea town district, is home to the largest concentration of Koreans outside of Asia (Wikipedia, 2007a).
The Census 2000 recorded an additional 151,555 Americans of part-Korean ancestry. There are 56,825 adopted children of Korean nativity and place of birth. (2000 US Census) 99,061 Koreans were adopted into the U.S. during 1953-2001. (Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, 2002) According to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2,157,498 ethnic Koreans live in the United States in 2003. However a large number of these are students or temporary workers and hence do not have permanent residence status. A number of US states have declared January 13 as Korean-American Day due to their impact and contributions to the American society (Wikipedia, 2007a).
The population of Korean Americans is high when compared to the Japanese Americans. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest (at roughly 1,148,000, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity). Japanese Americans are a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans.
The largest Japanese American communities are in California with roughly 395,000, Hawaii with roughly 297,000, Washington with 56,000, and New York with 45,000 according to the 2000 Census. In addition there are large numbers in Texas, Illinois, Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. Each year, about 7,000 new Japanese immigrants enter United States ports, comprising about 4% of immigration from Asia; however, net immigration is closer to zero as some older Japanese Americans emigrate back to their homeland. Hence, there is a constant outflow and inflow of this population (Wikipedia, 2007b).
On of the uniqueness of Japanese Americans community is that they have special names for each of its generations in the United States. The first generation born in Japan or Okinawa, is called Issei. The second generation is Nisei, third is called Sansei, fourth is Yonsei and fifth is Gosei. The term Nikkei was coined by Japanese American sociologists and encompasses the entire population across generations. Issei and many Nisei speak Japanese or Okinawan in addition to English as a second language (Wikipedia, 2007b). This shows the community is open towards learning and adapting to their new environment.
Religion and Spiritually
For Koreans, religion traditionally has been important. In fact their religiosity has become all the more evident