Happy Korean American Day

Today is Korean American Day, a celebration of the first Korean immigrants’ arrival in the U.S. on Jan. 13, 1903.

“From small business owners to religious leaders to military service members, Korean Americans have enriched American life with their significant contributions and accomplishments,” said Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Early Korean immigrants, who landed in Honolulu onboard the SS Gaelic, worked on the state’s sugar cane plantations as contract laborers.

According to Pew Research Center, the majority of today’s Korean population in the U.S. arrived after 1965 — as of 2010, Korean Americans numbered 1.7 million across the country, with the highest concentrations in California and New York.

“With nearly two million Korean Americans living in the United States, their cultural, economic, and civic impacts are far reaching,” Rep. Ted Lieu, whose congressional district is based in Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “From Korean cuisine to Korean pop culture, or ‘Hallyu Wave,’ our country has vastly benefited from a more diverse and inclusive society, once again reminding us of America’s legacy as a nation of immigrants.”