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Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America: 1903-2003 edited by Jenny Ryun Foster, Frank Stewart, and Heinz Insu Fenkl + Authors Profile [in AsianWeek]

Century of the TigerTo Tame the Tiger

In a word, Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America: 1903-2003 is remarkable. One hundred years after the first group of 102 Koreans arrived in Honolulu Harbor on Jan. 13, 1903 aboard the SS Gaelic, their achievements and those of the immigrants who followed throughout the century are celebrated and immortalized through the literature, poetry, art, and photography captured in Tiger.

Published by Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing and the University of Hawai‘i Press in conjunction with the Centennial Committee of Korean Immigration to the United States, Century of the Tiger is edited by Jenny Ryun Foster, a writer and librarian in Honolulu, Frank Stewart, editor of Manoa, and Heinz Insu Fenkl, author of Memories of My Ghost Brother and co-editor with Walter K. Lew of Kori: The Beacon Anthology of Korean American Fiction. Tiger is also an aesthetic masterpiece, thanks to the vision of two gifted designers, Elsa Carl, a granddaughter of one of the first Korean immigrants, and Clarence Lee, designer of the annual
Chinese New Year stamp for the U.S. Postal Service.

“The Korean American story has long been hidden in American history, overshadowed by stories of larger immigrant groups such as the Chinese and Japanese. Despite a presence of a hundred years in the United States, Koreans remain largely invisible in American society. [T]he centennial presented a unique opportunity to tell [our] remarkable story,” says Esther Kwon Arinaga, a retired attorney and activist, whose father arrived in Hawai‘i from Korea in 1907 and whose mother was one of the first picture brides from Korea to arrive in 1912. All involved with Tiger point to Arinaga as the “person most responsible for getting the book finished,” says the book’s co-editor Frank Stewart.

“Koreans are only minimally included in anthologies of Asian American literature,” continues Arinaga. “Indeed the writings of Korean American poets, essayists, fiction writers, and memoirists are scarcely known, even to Koreans in the United States. [That’s how] the idea to publish a book devoted entirely to Korean American literature took hold.” …[click here for more]

Authors profile: “To Tame the Tiger: Celebrating One Hundred Years of Korean American Literature,” AsianWeek, January 24, 2003

Tidbit: Co-editor Heinz Insu Fenkl was a most informative guest for the Smithsonian’s Korean American Centennial Commemoration‘s fall program, “Literature,” on October 24, 2003.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2003


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