The Korean National Association (KNA) was one of the key anti-Japanese independence movement organizations during the Colonial Period (1905 to 1945) of Korean history. The KNA was officially launched on February 1, 1909. This February it will be 100 years since the KNA was founded and patriotically struggled to save Korea from Japanese Imperialism.
1911 Riverside, CA - Korean National Association members of the Riverside community gather to welcome Dosan Ahn Chang Ho back from a four year journey to organize the fight for independence from Japanese Imperialism. During this journey Dosan organized the Shinminhoe in Korea attempting to build a foundation for the first Korean Republic.
Dosan Ahn Chang Ho was the President of the Central Congress of the Korean National Association (KNA) which made him the leader of all KNA branches and all Korean people outside of Korea at that time. He forged the backbone of the KNA on his beliefs in the strength of honesty and civic responsibility.
The idea of vigorous truth-seeking is well elaborated in Dosan's own words: "Let there be no deception or telling of lies, and let honesty be our guide to action, such that we will be able to collectively build a capital of credit."
Dosan's famous teaching mu shil yok haeng - living truth, energetic action - embodies his philosophy and is the base of all his ethics. Though Dosan did value the external display of morality, he more urgently prioritized a program of moral discipline for the self. Broadly understood, this approach meant the individual embraces a thoroughly honorable character in the society and nation to which one belongs. Dosan believed only when such a condition is met can social activism and nationalist movements escape the trap of xenophobia to embrace the larger world and achieve the ultimate goal of world peace and shared prosperity.
How can anyone who says they follow Dosan's ideals be corrupt, manipulative and opportunistic? How do people who mislead others claim to be honest leaders in the Korean American community and the nation of Korea?
Most people involved in the KNA Memorial Foundation activities today are dishonest. They say they know Dosan's teachings and are doing the right thing. Anyone who knew the true story f the KNA could walk into the KNA Memorial Hall itself and immediately see twisted history. There is no way any person who claims to know Korean National Association history would allow any Dongjihoe or Syngman Rhee history to be on display in the KNA Hall; unless, it told how Rhee was anti-KNA and anti-Hung Sa Dan and hated Dosan. The Dongjihoe was established by Rhee to cut off money from the Korean Provisional Government (KPG) and used to support his lavish lifestyle as the self appointed President of the KPG. Rhee was impeached as KPG President after his first visit to the group in Shanghai in 1921. The people involved with the KNA Memorial Hall are presenting a history that they have manipulated instead of providing the truth. If you look carefully at the South Korean Government, The Dosan Memorial Foundation, The Hung Sa Dan, The Korean Federation, The Korean American Foundation and The University of Southern California and many other "scholarly and patriotic" participating entities you will find they are involved in a contradiction of history with the KNA. As you look further you will find key people in these groups who have taken Korean history and heritage and manipulated it into a story that fits their opportunistic personal needs and has not served the purpose of preserving the truth.
Lies have been told, people have been taken advantage of and artifacts have been damaged. None of these people involved have shown any real sense of ability to deliver the proper story about the KNA. There are many mistakes in the KNA Memorial Hall displays and wrong information. They have taken a lot of local people's money and South Korean Government funding and spent it unwisely and deceptively. Here's an example of a serious problem. Hong Myung Ki aka Mike Hong claims to be the King of Dosan's world and runs the KNA Memorial Hall Foundation. Suh Jong IL aka John Suh is a mastermind at manipulation and created Hongís throne. These two have carried out a premeditated plan to make people believe Hong Myung Ki should be seen as a patriot and historical figure. Hong made his riches from creating a type of coating not doing anything patriotic. He is a wealthy businessman not a Korean history scholar. He has dropped little money here and there selling his story to create fame, a story Suh Jong Il doctored up. If you ask Hong about KNA history itís obvious he spent his time in engineering not studying history. Suh is just as ignorant of history. They figured out how to hide Hongís story using Dosan as a shield to hide the truth to make Hong a hero. Dosanís wife Helen Ahn, my grandmother, instilled in me a sense of people trying to use Dosan in the wrong manner. I think she developed her sense of wrongdoing to keep a step ahead of the Japanese spy network and Syngman Rheeís group. The Japanese spies checked up on the Ahns tracking who came and went from their home. Suspicion never left the back of her mind. The US Department of Labor investigated her and Philip Ahn when Syngman Rhee accused Dosan, The KNA, and the Hung Sa Dan of being Bolshevik communist and threats to the United States in 1924. Rhee was always a problem and Mrs. Ahn couldnít trust her own people. I sensed something wrong about Hong Myung Ki and more so from John Suh. I never trusted Hong Myung Ki since the second I met him in Riverside. In November of 2009 inSeoul the South Korean Government released the latest "Chinilpa - List of Pro-Japanese Koreans" during the Colonial period. One name in particular was stunning. The story was devastating to Dosan's legacy. If Hong Myung Ki would have stepped up front about his father he might be less of an opportunist. Yoon Kyung Noh released the updated "Chinilpa" list and there was Hong Chan who is Hong Myung Ki's father. Hong Chan became one of the richest people in Korea before the Occupation ended in 1945. Hong Chan prospered by selling out Korea to the Japanese. Had the Ahn family known Hong Myung Ki's father was showing Pro-Japanese movies in his theaters in Korea while Dosan was in jail, Hong Myung Ki would have not been allowed to associate with Dosan's name for any reason. He covered up his family story and hid behind Dosanís legacy to gain his position in the Korean community. Kim Ji Soo of the KoreanEducationCenter and Song Jae Seung of the Hung Sa Dan and the Korean National Association Memorial Hall Board knew about Hongís past and were bought off by their hopes of getting some of Hong's money. These people used Susan Ahn Cuddy as a front for their KNA scam. Susan was too old to figure out the scam when Kim Un Ha stole KNA artifacts and sold them to Suh Young Hoon of the Dosan Memorial Foundation in Korea. Yi Man Yeul assisted in the illegal transfer of KNA artifacts from the KNA Memorial Hall here to Korea. They manipulated court documents to do this. Kim Un Ha was paid a lot of money for his lies by Suh Young Hoon. When Susan Ahn Cuddy found out the truth she was upset but it was too late for her to change things. She made the South Korean Government cancel Kim Un Ha's visa to travel on the same plane as her to Seoul. Susan told them she knew Kim was a lair and a thief and would not get on the same plane with him. Kimís visa was cut. But, the Koreans did not follow up on Kim Un Ha and Hong Myung Kiís scam and took the stolen KNA artifacts anyway. The other disappointing part of Hongís story is his fatherís association with the political thugs of Syngman Rhee. Hong Chan went from pushing Japanese propaganda to pushing Syngman Rheeís propaganda. Thatís another story that shows Hong Myung Ki should never have been allowed to use Dosanís name.
Susan Ahn Cuddy feels duped by Hong Myung Ki and Suh Jong IL. When she got them an appointment to see President Kim Dae Jung at the Blue House she began to see her mistaken support. After watching their manners she realized things were no the same as they told her. She said a lot of self promoting went on by the two when she introduced them to President Kim. This doesn't surprise me. Suh Jong IL took advantage of 11 Korean American clothing companies including one I worked for and duped everyone during Seoul Fashion Week in 1997. I never trusted Suh after he took my money and used me to promote himself just like he used Susan. Suh clearly and willfully mislead us. He has always been a man with hidden agendas. Hong is his puppet.
These KNA Memorial Hall Foundation people are trying to con the South Korean Government for funds. The South Korean Government is really ignorant about what happened here during the Independence Movement. They are listening to people who could not pass a Korean American History test and paying them for their misguidance. The Korean scholars are greedy and think they will benefit from Hong and Suh and the rest of these opportunists. When I see Hong Myung Ki and Suh Jong IL I see the "chinilpa" character more than anything Korean. They way the took over the Korean National Association is similar to how the Japanese took over Korea. The problems with the KNA Memorial Hall Foundation are deeper than this and involve more people and more corruption and deceit. Itís a shame people donít see the truth.
Korean National Association
In 1904 under the leadership of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, Koreans in California had developed the Mutual Assistance Association as the political organization to represent all Koreans outside of Korea. The Headquarters was established in San Francisco. By 1907 there were offices in Los Angeles, Riverside, Redlands and Rock Springs, Wyoming. In 1908 two offices in Siberia were established. Many Koreans coming to the mainland from plantations in Hawaii were seeking better job opportunities. Dosan and his followers created a system of improving immigrantsí lives socially, economically and politically through the Mutual Assistance Association. This organization was the predecessor of the Korean National Association.
In 1908 in San Francisco two Korean immigrants Chun Myung Un and Chang In Hwan assassinated Durham Stevens, an American spokesperson for the Japanese government, who publicized Japanese imperialism in Korea was the proper course of action regardless of what the Korean people claimed about the unjust take over and occupation of their country. The court trail and defense of these two Korean patriots became the basis for the founding of the Korean National Association. Out of the need to defend the two Korean patriots the Korean community in California joined forces with the United Korean Society of Hawaii and moved ahead to form the KNA in February of 1909.
The United Korean Society of Hawaii was formed by the large group of Koreans who came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations in 1903. Japanese laborers had gone on strike and American businessmen who knew about the hard working Koreans brought them to Hawaii as replacement labor. The Koreans in Hawaii were a major factor in raising funds to support the fight to free Korea.
The Japanese were trying to take over Korea and erase the Korean culture. The KNA lead the anti-Japanese efforts. The main goal of the KNA was to provide support for the independence movement activities. Koreans living outside of Korea contributed their hard earned wages to save Korea from Japan and replace the monarchy with democracy.
ďThe Korean Government has failed but the spirit and yearnings for democratic nation still exist stronglyĒ. This statement indicated the growing nationalistic ideal for a Republic of Korea instead of the Korean Empire ruled by a king. The KNA was the main representative of the democratic political ideology that Koreans abroad had at this time. The old corrupt ideal of monarchism was replaced with new ideals of republicanism and nationalism.
The KNA representing all Koreans outside of Korea worked with Koreans inside Korea to achieve independence from Japan. Korean people united under the leadership of the KNA to do everything they could to save their country from the unjustified and cruel Japanese occupation.
In June of 1913 a group of Korean laborers in Hemet, CA were attacked at a train station. Local people thought they were Japanese and tried to prevent them from working in the citrus groves in Southern California by throwing rocks at them and not letting them get off the train. There was a heavy anti-Asian feeling at the time. The Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles tried to intervene on behalf of the Koreans. Dosan and Lee Dae Wi contacted the American Government and explained the situation that Koreans had been unjustly colonized by Japan. Dosan further explained many Koreans left before Japan officially annexed Korea and were not subject to Japanese rule. William Jennings Bryant, Secretary of State at the time, agreed with Dosanís declaration all Koreans who were outside of Korea were represented by the KNA not the Japanese Consulate in the US. Korean people in America and the KNA were politically distinguished as different from Japanese.
In 1915 Dosan became the president of the Central Congress of the Korean National Association and was in charge of all Koreans outside of Korea.
The Korean National Association assumed responsibilities of Korean Consulate General to protect lives, assets, interests, and rights of Koreans.Any problem or matter related to Koreans had to be consulted by the KNA to be resolved.The KNA developed into the first national organization of Koreans in America and established offices across the US. The headquarters remained in San Francisco for many years. There was an office in Washington, DC and it constantly petitioned the US Government to stop Japanese imperialism in Asia. The KNA had offices in Siberia, Russia, Manchuria, Cuba, Mexico and China.
The KNA created political and educational programs to make Koreans good citizens of Korea and America. The KNA also financially supported the independence movement and the struggle to save Korea from Japan. Korean people in America gave most of the money they earned at their jobs to support the fight against Japan. The Korean Provisional Government was established following the March First Movement in Korea in 1919. Dosan brought $25,000 US from the KNA with him in April of 1919 to establish the KPG headquarters in Shanghai. Without the KNA Japanese would be the official language of Korea today.
The KNA established a new headquarters in Los Angeles in 1937. This historical building which was completed in 1938 still stands today on Jefferson Boulevard East of Vermont near the University of Southern California campus.
The KNA was the central organization of the Independence movement until 1941 when the United Korean Committee was created in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Korean National Association was finally dissolved in 1988 and left everything it had to the YoungKoreanAcademy which was another organization Dosan founded in San Francisco in 1913.
Nothing on this website is to be used for any purposes without written permission from the owner. Materials on this website are subject to copyright and use right regulations.