Gary Yong Ki Pak, a third-generation Korean American, or samse, was born on April 30, 1952, in Honolulu, Hawaii to Francis Chin Chan Pak and Etta Chung Hee Pak, second-generation Korean Americans, or ise. At the age of three, Pak and his parents moved from their home in the Honolulu suburb of Makiki to the town of Kane'ohe on the Windward, or northeastern, side of Oahu where Pak, his wife, and his children reside today.
Following his graduation from 'Iolani School, a prestigious private school in Honolulu, in 1970, Pak enrolled in Boston University. During this time Pak deepened his extant interest in community and global politics, provoking his engagement in various social conflicts such as the United States' involvement in Vietnam and Boston's 1974 school bussing crisis. He graduated from Boston University in 1974 with a B.A. in Social Psychology.
After graduation, Pak returned to Hawaii and renewed his engagement in local community struggles by becoming involved in, among other things, the urban development of agricultural lands in the Wai'ahole and Waikane valleys, and the eviction of low-income residents from Honolulu's Chinatown tenements—struggles which would later find expression in his works of fiction. To support himself and his political commitments, Pak held odd jobs as a roofer, construction worker, press operator, truck driver, and private investigator, among others.
But Pak's foray into creative writing would not begin in earnest until the birth of his first son in 1980. At that time, Pak became acutely aware of the abundance and importance of stories in his life and the need to set those stories to paper for the benefit of his son and others: “I just felt this huge sense