SNL Korea’s Offensive Adoptee Sketch Draws Protests
by STEVE HAN
A tasteless skit by SNL Korea which makes fun of the Korean adoptee experience has understandably drawn the ire of the Korean American adoptee community.
The skit, titled “Meeting You Now,” depicts a Korean American man who has just arrived at an airport in Korea and sees his birth mother for the first time. Speaking in broken Korean with exaggerated misuse of formal, casual and slang speech, the man reads a letter to his birth mother.
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Korean American Makes Trendy Hot Sauce Based on Ssamjang
by PETER KANG
A small garden party in the suburbs of Richmond gave Steve Kim his start in the hot sauce business.
The year was 2010 and Kim, a failed restaurateur, served his modest dinner party his favorite Korean foods, including a home-made ssamjang, or hot sauce to accompany ssam lettuce wraps. A photo spread of the party appeared in a local magazine and included the hot sauce. Friends requested samples from Kim and demand grew and eventually spawned a small business, according to theWashington Post.
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Get a list of the performers set to take stage at the South by Southwest Music Festival here!
Documentary About Korean American Adoptee Meeting Twin Brother Premieres
by JAMES S. KIM
Last year, Korean American adoptee Dan Matthews began searching for his birth parents. He had considered it a long shot, but less than a month after he filed the paperwork, he received an email from his adoption agency that they had found his biological mother.
Now, the Los Angeles-based rapper, who also goes by DANakaDAN, is unveiling his story. With a film crew in tow, Matthews recorded his experiences, from his adventures in Korea, to finally meeting hisparents and siblings — one of whom was his twin brother. The first episode of aka DAN, a four-part series, is available now on the International Secret Agents YouTube channel. The documentary also includes appearances from fellow adoptees, including Danish Korean rapper Niko Yu and identical twin sisters Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier.
Checkout this heartfelt story about a Korean American meeting his twin brother for the first time at iamkoream.com!
Anthony Bourdain: Korean American Chefs Leading American Cuisine
by PETER KANG
Former chef and popular TV show host Anthony Bourdain said that Korean American chefs are at the forefront of American cuisine.
In an interview with food author Michael Ruhlman, Bourdain said a “reverse snobbery” currently exists among chefs and food aficionados, which dictates that in order to experience the best and most authentic food, one must seek out hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop restaurants that don’t cater to the mainstream.
“That’s great but when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American,” said Bourdain. “And they don’t care. They may know what straight-up Korean food is but they sure aren’t cooking it. And they’re pushing everything forward and they’re having an effect on the non Korean Americans. Eric Ripert is messing around with kimchi—how can that not be good?”
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February Issue: 100 Years of Susan Ahn Cuddy
Compiled by Julie Ha, with Philip “Flip” Cuddy and John Cha
Actually, the Korean American Navy officer and NSA code-breaker technically turned 99 last month, but about 175 of her admirers gathered Jan. 18 at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate her centennial birthday, based on Korean age. Cuddy grew up the eldest daughter of two of the most revered Korean independence patriots (and among the earliest Korean immigrants to the U.S.), Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and Helen (Hye Ryon) Ahn. The couple’s tireless work to liberate their mother country from Japanese colonization would play a crucial role in Cuddy’s upbringing, identity and values. At the same time, their heroic shadow didn’t seem to keep her from paving her own unique and trailblazing path. Here’s a look back at the incredible life of Susan Ahn Cuddy.
Read one our featured articles for our February issue at iamkoream.com and be sure to purchase a copy of this month’s KoreAm Journal for more featured stories!
February Issue: Korean American Foster Parents Wanted
by STEVE HAN
When Yohan (a pseudonym), a Korean American child, was 4 years old, his immigrant mother abandoned him. He then bounced around from one foster home to another—none of them Korean-speaking or familiar with his culture or even the type of food he was used to eating. Already feeling insecure from the trauma of abandonment, he struggled to communicate with those entrusted to care for him and make him feel safe again.
Children’s advocates in Los Angeles cited this real-life example at a press conference last month announcing the launch of a new campaign to find Korean-speaking families to become foster parents. Even one family would make a difference, as currently there is not a single Korean-speaking foster home in Los Angeles County for children like Yohan.
Get more on this story and weekly updates at iamkoream.com!
Also, don’t forget to check out our new February issue with our cover guest Arden Cho!
NJ Doctor Sued by Korean Women Claiming to Be Abandoned Daughter
by PETER KANG
A Korean American radiologist based in New York City is being sued by a South Korean woman who claims he abandoned her as a 7-year-old child and again as a cancer-stricken adult in 2011.
The Bergen County Record reported that Juhee Myung filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court against Edgewater, N.J. resident Dr. Kwang Ha Myung.
Juhee Myung said her father abandoned her and her mother in 1973, marrying another woman and immigrating to the United States. The action led to Juhee Myung’s mother to attempt suicide, the lawsuit says.
Juhee Myung tracked down her father three years ago and told him she had been diagnosed with cancer. He advised her to seek treatment at a better hospital and assured her he would pay for the expenses. Two months later, he cut off all contact with her and changed his phone number, the lawsuit contends. She is seeking a paternity test and child support arrears and other damages.
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AP via Yahoo News
A debate between Japan and South Korea over what to call the body of water that separates their countries is being played out in the Virginia Capitol.
At issue: whether textbooks approved by the state board of education should note that the Sea of Japan is also called the East Sea.
South Koreans want the change and the sizeable Korean American community in Virginia has put pressure on state lawmakers to make sure it’s a legislative priority this year. The Japanese do not want the textbook requirements changed.
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Va. textbook bill on alternative Sea of Japan name heads toward a partisan showdown
Two little words. They looked like an easy way to make a lot of people happy.
On the campaign trail, Terry McAuliffe (D) said that as governor, he’d make sure that new school textbooks note that the Sea of Japan is also known as the East Sea.
The promise was important to Northern Virginia’s large Korean American community, who see the Sea of Japan designation as a painful relic of Japanese occupation.
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Seniors’ truce good at eatery
Queens Chronicle (New York)
The truce is holding between Korean-American seniors and the McDonald’s at Northern and Parsons boulevards.
That’s the status report from Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who last week brokered a deal so that the seniors will not monopolize space in the McDonald’s during peak business hours.
Many seniors use the eatery for social gatherings, where they spend many hours and few dollars with their elderly friends.
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February Issue: California Assembly Candidate Sam Kang Fights for Access
by NAMJU CHO
At the tender age of 10, Sam Kang filled out paperwork and drafted business letters in English for his immigrant parents. By high school, he was helping his parents obtain government permits and licenses.
“I grew up watching my immigrant parents run all kinds of small businesses, including a motel, a T-shirt print shop and a sandwich shop, where they would fail and start again, over and over,” Kang recalled. “I saw my parents struggled a lot from what they didn’t know and that they would have been more prosperous had they had more access to information.”
This issue of access—especially for individuals striving for the American Dream that is becoming ever elusive—would become a common thread in Kang’s life, motivating him first to become an attorney helping underserved communities, and propelling him today to seek elected office and fight for those principles on a larger scale.
Kang is running for the California Assembly seat representing the 15th District, which includes Berkeley and other East Bay cities. If elected, Kang would become the third Korean American to win an Assembly seat in California.
Korean American business wonder why they’ve been singled out
KING5 News (Seattle, Wash.)
A downtown high-rise is going through a major remodel, and two of its tenants say they’re unfairly losing their leases.
The tenants are both long-time Korean American family owned businesses, and they wonder why they’ve been singled out.
Every weekday, Missy and Sung Bang make sandwiches at the Original Deli.
“My husband gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning, to bring everything here to start breakfast,” said co-owner Missy Bang.
The couple moved here from Korea, took out a loan and bought this business seven years ago for $200,000.
Read more and stay updated on the latest weekly stories of each week here!
Congressman enters fray over monument to Korean comfort women
Southern California Public Radio
A California Congressman has waded into a months-long controversy over a statue the city of Glendale installed to honor Korean comfort women forced to serve Japanese soldiers during World War II.
A vocal contingent of Japanese in the US and abroad say that Japan has been unfairly vilified, with some denying the plight of the women from Korea and other Asian countries as they call for the monument’s removal. A petition to the White House has generated more than 126,000 signatures.
But Rep. Adam Schiff, whose district includes Glendale, said such protests threaten to destabilize relations between Japan and its neighbors. And that, he said, is a matter of international security for the US.
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Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The council seat left vacant by Jason Kim, the first Korean-American to serve on the governing body and who resigned earlier this month, will be filled by Christopher Chung.
Chung, 46, who has served on the Board of Education for the past several years, was sworn in on Tuesday night after council members chose him among three names submitted by the Democratic Municipal Committee.
Mayor James Rotundo said Chung, who is also Korean-American, would be an asset to the council.
“He’s young, and he’s energetic,” said Rotundo, calling him a hard worker as well.
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