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Legacies of the Korean War

The Legacies of the Korean War project aims at educating the wider public about the Korean War.  Its online archive documents survivor, witness, and participant experiences, focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on the first-person stories of the Korean immigrant community in California, the second largest ethnic Korean population outside Korea. 

Launched October 17th, 2015 in Berkeley, California, the Legacies of the Korean War project was supported in part by the California Council for the Humanities, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation, and individual donors, with sponsorship from the Korea Policy Institute (KPI). The project brought together a team of Korean Studies and Asian American Studies scholars and filmmakers who created this website of primarily California-based Korean American survivor memories and legacies of the Korean War.

 

The project’s launch year marked the 70th anniversary of both the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonialism and the division of the country into north and south.  The year was also the 62nd anniversary of the signing of the July 27, 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement – which temporarily stopped the fighting, but has yet to end the war.  In this historical juncture in which first-generation Korean Americans, many of whom are part of the generation of living memory, are rapidly passing, the Legacies of the Korean War project seeks to tell the story of the war from a much-needed testimonial lens and to record these invaluable perspectives for posterity.

 

We encourage Korean Americans to help create more resources like this site by doing any of the following:

  • INTERVIEW: These can be of a parent, grandparent, other relative or community member about their memories of the war.  These can be audio- or video-recorded and/or simply transcribed.

  • TELL YOUR OWN STORY: Any account—diverse formats welcome—that conveys a Korean American family’s experience of the Korean War.

  • REFLECTION: A first-person account that centers on what the war means to first-, 1.5-, second-, or third- generation Korean Americans.

  • CREATIVE PROJECT: A video essay, an art piece, a poem, etc.

  • FOUND OBJECTS: A scanned or photographed family or community member’s memento of the war (e.g., a photograph, a letter, a diary entry, an article of clothing, a medal) accompanied by an account of the meaning (historical, familial, personal) attributed to it.