Clothing acculturation history of Korean immigrants: 1903-1950

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2000
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Park, Juyeon
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Farrell-Beck, Jane
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Abstract
Clothing acculturation is defined as the "changes within a individual in clothing as well as cultural attitudes, values, and behaviors as a result of continuous firsthand contact between the cultural group to which he or she belongs and another cultural group". The Purpose of this research is to discover and present the clothing acculturation process of the early Korean immigrants. On January, 1903, 101 Koreans first arrived in Hawaii, and until 1924, when the Immigration Act barred Asians' Entry to the United States, about 8,000 Koreans came to the United States, pursuing freedom and quick wealth. Like other ethnic groups, in the initial stage, the Korean immigrants tried to retain their tradition, while they gradually acculturated to the new culture. This study employed an oral history method to provide vivid insights of historical events and cultural phenomenon several decades ago. In addition, photos, old historic documentation, and autobiographies written by the early Korean immigrants were examined. From the analysis, several interesting conclusions were deduced. First, in Korean immigrant families in Hawaii, men were the first acceptant of the western culture, and then children and women followed in order. Men's clothing acculturation was completed in the late 1910s, and children's in the 1920s, and women's in the 1930s. Second, depending on geographical regions, interesting differences were found. Compared to those in Hawaii, Korean immigrants in the mainland showed that they acculturated more rapidly, regardless of gender and age. Several research questions remained unanswered were suggested for further research, and summary of conclusions was presented at the end.
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