The last four decades have seen a significant increase in the number of Koreans immigrating to the United States. In that time, the Korean community has grown from around 10,000 to at least 800,000 today and is expected to grow to 1.3 million by the year 2000 ( Patterson and Kim48; Mayberry38, 60). Not surprisingly, this growing community has given rise to a significant Korean- American literary movement, but its existence has remained largely undiscovered by both academe and the general public.
During the thirty-six years of Japanese domination, from 1910 to 1945, Koreans were subject to political repression and economic hardship. Many Koreans went overseas to the United States in order to escape poverty and/or to fight for national liberation. (Others migrated to China or to Russia.) The first Korean immigrants to this country were farm laborers on Hawai'ian plantations, "picture brides" (who came to their prospective husbands on the plantations matched through photos), political refugees, and students. Because of restrictive immigration laws, only a few hundred Koreans were permitted to immigrate to America from 1907 until 1952 ( Mayberry18). Although the pre-World War II immigrants ultimately intended to return to Korea, most of them remained in the United States because of the continued troubles in their home country. The post-war Korean-American writers who came to, or were born in, the United