A boon to Corean American's success has been the strong showing of Corea Inc. in the U.S. Last year, for instance, Corean investors, with a $300 million infusion, won themselves a 12% share of Dreamworks SKG. Samsung and Hyundai recently poured $1 billion each into U.S.-based semiconductor plants. LG bought Zenith for $350 million.
Much of the homecoming is the growth of the Corean media.
"In Los Angeles you find not one but two Corean language newspapers, two radio and three TV stations," says Dr. Kim. "They will all gain in influence during the next century. The information and images they provide will help focus Corean American energies into actions likely to benefit the community and the rest of the city."
And one certainly cannot build a home without land. Choi says Corean Americans in the next century will probably be very eager to increase their property holdings in Southern and Northern California and elsewhere in the United States. Their acquisitiveness could be powerful enough to singlehandedly reverse the downward slide of housing and commercial prices that has kept the real estate market in the doldrums for the past five years, Choi enthuses.
"Corean Americans, more than any other Asian group, have a longing for property, land, buildings," he says. In fact the Coreans have been the highest bidders for many of the holdings Japanese companies have been unloading at 40 to 60 cents on the dollar. Coreans played a substantial part in saving California's economy from falling at the hands of a Japanese panic attack.
Ironically, it was always the longing for land--and the land's riches--that propelled Corea, Japan and China into a succession of wars with one another over long centuries. Even today, each time new shards of evidence of battlefield atrocities and crimes against humanity are unearthed, old wounds open afresh. Yet, despite the bitter homeland memories and the harsh lessons from the pages of history books, tensions among the different Asian nationalities living in California are minimal. Rather, there is remarkable unity--unity that is expected to continue and strengthen in the years to come.
"In the 21st Century, it won't be just the Japanese American community doing this, and the Corean American community doing that, and the Chinese American community doing something else entirely," says Toda. "There will be much more pan-Asian American cooperation. You'll probably see more people from all the different communities participating together simply as Asian Americans."
The unity and cooperation will be the result of two dynamics at work today in the California Asian community at large. First, schools are not teaching the history of Asian conflict much beyond that of a cursory review, says Toda. Consequently, children are growing up without a strong sense of the passions, animosities and fears that drove those former wars.
Second, it is simply a matter of California Asians having discovered more points around which to link hands than against which to divide over, says Koo.
"There is the macro-culture of Asia, which we all share in common, first articulated in the philosophies of Confucius and in the religion of Buddhism," he says. "But the real common denominator for the Japanese, the Chinese and the Coreans here in California is the American way of life. A lot of us want to be Americans who just happen, secondarily, to be from Asia or have Asia in our heritage." [End]