THE INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
INTERVIEH WITH: Mr. In, Yong C.
DATE: August 4, 1989
Folklife Festival - ITC
M: Good morning, this is Patrick McGuire. The 18th Annual
Folklife Festival, August 4, 1989. This morning we're
interviewing Mr. In from the Korean booth at the Folklife
M: Mr. In, I'd like for you to introduce yourself, tell us
what you do and how you are involved in the Folklife
I: My name is Yong C. In .• I'm the president of
Korean-American Association of San Antonio. We've been
involved for the past 5 or 6 years in this Folklife Festival
and we really enjoyed it. I would just say this is the best
chance to introduce traditional food and also, especially in
this year, we have a chance t o introduce the Texan for the
Korean traditional dance which we call drum dance, which we
.• they will perform that Saturday, which is tomorrow, at
4:30 and 7:00 o'clock at the Stage 5 and on Sunday, 4:30 in
the afternoon at the Stage 8.
And also we do have a chance to introduce Korean
martial art, which is Te Quan Do and Cardo, what they call
it. So we do have a chance to see these demonstrations and
In, Yong C. 2
I: today at 7:00 at the lawn ground in front of the Korean
booth and also tomorrow evening 7:00.
And I really enjoyed working with the staff here in the
Texan Cultures and I really appreciate that they are
supporting in the organization and planning and we really
did a good job on last night and we hope all the folks like
hot spicy Kimchi and grill cooked pulgogi. Thank you.
M: I think as we use words that are not familiar to in
English, we need to spell them out , too, also for our
people. Tell us about your organization. When was it
founded and how many members belong to it?
I : I .. I would say around about 1975 and '74. At that
time, what I understood, we did have Dr. Yung who is working
at the Health Science Center now and also there was a Mr.
Kim, he moved to Houston right now. They kinda organized
the Korean-American Association here in San Antonio and
since that time, we count our Korean-American population
kind of grown up to this date .. we figure around about
2 ,000 Koreans living in here in San Antonio •. this time.
M: That's very interesting. Where else in Texas do
I: I understand there's quite a number of Korean-Americans
at the Houston, that's the majority of them and then Dallas
and also Killeen where the military base is and then El Paso
•• even Del Rio they have a few, but I'm not sure how many
really in •.• all together in Texas, but there's quite a
people and also there's a lot of people coming in to the
In, Yong C. 3
M: So immigration from Korea continues today. That's very
interesting. What is the major purpose of your club?
I: You mean club •. like organization? That's a
non-profit organization •• we try to support the
Korean-American, which is second generation for the
education of the Korean language not let them forgetting
kind of homestead language and also we kind of try to
provide service - what the Korean people needed. Some of
ours have difficulty in the language problem and driving,
you know, cultures and al l kinds of things, so we kind of
plan to try to help those people and in the future, I hope
we will have a chance to get some small area in ... to deal
with those kind, you know, plan a program to the
Korean-American people in the San Antonio, especially . . M: Thank you. That's very good. It's obviously very
important to maintain the Korean culture and heritage and
language and can you tell us something about religion?
I: Uh, yes. Well, during the .• before World War II is
over, I would say in Korea, the majority of them ., there
are Buddhism and right now .• uh ., well, they're kind of
changing their religions to the Christian. There is quite a
few Baptists and what .. Assembly of God Church and
Christian, Presbyterians there are really, they are
talking right now about 30% to 40% of the population is
Christian, which is ., you know •. I'm a Christian, too, but
I am really proud of it and, you know, proud of it and thank
for the God to working on our nation, home nation, and so
In, Yong C. 4
I: the people will be here in the United States.
M: Thank you. May I ask you a personal question? For both
you and for members of the Korean-American Association here
in San Antonio, what do you think prompted you and most of
the members to come to Texas?
I: Well, is first of all, especially in San Antonio and
there's a lot of military bases and like my ca~e and I used
to work in the U.S. 8th Army and then .• that's the military
connection. That's first.
And No.2, they want to come to Texas, well, is it
Korea, thousand knows together (can't be sure about last 3
words) is but what I would say Texas is itself 2 and a
half times as big, I mean, you know, bigger than what the
Korean often knows. We are living in the kind of special, I
mean, small societies and small countries and a lot of
populations, but in my case, my view come to the San Antonio
and Texas because that we know is the biggest states, you
know, before Alaska .. so we want to have a big plan and
great view for the future of ourself and also second
M: So the Korean-American Association in San Antonio and
elsewhere in Texas is now into the second generation, but
not into the third generation, is it?
I: I frankly say quite a few third generation here
because their grandpas, they are about 60 or 70 and some of
them 80, and there are some of them. Not many of them but
many of them second generation. They are in colleges and
In, Yong C. 5
I: also there is the young people growing up to their .. I
mean, separated from their family around the 20s, 30s. Yes,
but there are quite a few third generations here, too.
M: Can you tell me in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas
how many different types of Korean-American organizations
are there? Fo r example, you are a heritage-social club.
Can you tell me how many churches are in San Antonio?
I: In San Antonio, the Lord is really blessing the Korean
people here. We do have ., I would count about 10 of the,
you know .. including Korean Baptist Church and Southwest
Korean Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church and
Catholic Church and Assembly of God and Church of Christ and
also .• and there's in the churches .• Korean-American
Church. And I would say about 10 of them but the majority
of them here, like I say, we'kind of thank to God and bring
us to here and, you know, planning for second generation and
the futures for these different cultures and different
terrains and territory, but there's a lot of Korean church
and I'm glad to see or hear you know, Korean people go to
M: That's very fine. How important is it to you as an
adult for your children and grandchildren to know old Korean
traditions, legends, and customs?
I: That's really important. That is the main thing which
we try to do., with the youngster. Like I do have a
youngster, too. The main thing is in horne, we try to kind of
teach them the Korean and especially respect to the elder.
In, Yong C. 6
I: That's the main thing and also what we educate for the
eating and dealing with the people and dealing with the
teachers and so and so.
They also quite a few problems and I can't escape
but dealing with those young second generation because they
are kind of westernized and we can't stop it but they're
still I mean, fundamental and their homeland is Korea and
their blood is kind of Korean. So one thing is kind of
interesting is a lot of time I deal with those young people,
I told them well, when you eat, what are you eating? And
they says of course, rice and kimchi and pulgogi. I said
well you see that's Korean Korean foods, you know. You
never change it in your .. I mean taste it .. even you go
to salads and all. So Africa or Saudi Arabia or America,
whatever .• but I would say that's important for those
people to know where they're from and what kind of language
they use and what is it that is traditional and what is it
their ancient people did that for .. for the bringing them
up to this point.
M: On line with this question, what about the fields of
entertainment and holiday celebrations, especially those
that emphasize the things from Korea?
I: Yes, we try not to forgetting here in the United
States. Like you know, first born, we had planned to 11th
of October, I mean 11th of August, which is this month, for
the 41st anniversary of Liberation Day, which is Korean
Korea was occupied by the Japanese between 1919 to 1945
In, Yong C. 7
I: in 36 years and that's what we kind of try to
celebrate. But a lot of young people they says well, what
is about the Liberation Day? But we do older and our
father, grandfather, they really suffered those 36 years and
we really enjoyed it for the high level people, low level
people, everyone of the Korean people was enjoyed it and
celebrate those days, that time. So like those Korean
national holiday; we try to let them remember what was it,
like in 25th of June 1950. But that's not ., we're not
going to celebrate but we emphasize it to the young people,
what is that day? What happened? And how much does Korean
people and innocent people suffer for the war against, you
know, Communist and Democratic country, you know, so holiday
is important and we try to emphasize them not to
M: Thank you. Let's talk a little bit about the
experiences that you are having this year as the head of the
Korean booth at the Festival? I noticed a little while ago
when I came out to meet you that 4 young men carne up to you
and each one of them shook your hand and gave you a very
respectful bow . Can you tell us why this custom?
I: That's .. that's shows the respectson to the elders and
uh .. the first met the people in Korea, you know, you
show to the others how much or how many degrees of your
bowing your body to the other, which is some of them about a
45 degree angle, 15 degree angle, like that - but that's a
In, Yong C. 8
I: That's what we learn from the our grandparents and
great-grandparents when you are respected, when you, I mean,
greeting to the elders - you have to say, I know how you
say, oh, and bow your head down and then mean you
M: Thank you, that's a very interesting custom and it
obviously signifies very strong family life amongst the
Korean-American community. When the youngsters go through
high school, do they anticipate going to an American
university or t o go to Korea to university?
I: Well, here, the majority of them, circumstances, you
know, for their education, a l o t o f Korean people even in
Korea, they want to come to the United States for the
education only. So our •. most of our second generation,
they go to the American unive r sity and college most of them,
because for their career and then most of them, they want
to go back to Korea some day and stay there for build up
the Korean nation.
But even we are here and though second generation go to
the university and go through to the Doctor's Degrees and
Master's Degrees here and they state for their American and
also career for the future fo r the improvement, the
development, and you know, even for the self-satisfaction.
M: When the youngsters go to college, what type of
occupations do they want to have when they finish their
education? What type of jobs did their parents have and
what are the young people looking forward to?
In, Yong C. 9
I: Why the majority of them, I would say, they want to be
a doctor and they want to be the engineers and •. uh ..
computer programmer and business management. But a lot of
human beings like we are and we don't want to be low income
people, but that's a different story. But those people in
second generation especially and they have a great hope
because there is no restriction in the education. I'm not
talking about there is a restriction in the education in
Korea but there's so many students that have to have a
computer for to get the job and get the good school.
But here in the United States, if you want to study,
you could study. You gotta so much material, so much time,
and so much freedom for the education and you can get it.
So it is what we emphasize in the second generation and
put your time ..• a lot of time, most time, for the
studying. That's for your future. That's for your
foundation. That's .. I mean, that's for the, I mean,
depend on how your life be great or whatever and plus we try
to emphasize those second generation make sures accept Jesus
in your mind for as a Saviour and we are human being and we
are just a little one but the Lord controls everything.
M: Thank you very much. In a city like San Antonio, do
Korean-Americans, especially immigrants, attempt to live in
neighborhoods or close to one another?
I: Oh, yes, they are living in allover the place in San
Antonio, like we send mail to each individual, each house,
monthly almost, but majority of them, there's quite a few
In, Yong C. 10
I: percentage of it, they are living in the Fort Sam
Houston, Randolph and that area, and also Lackland area.
Then some of them they live in the northeast, 281 and
Bandera Road and like that, but they are willing to and we
appre •. I would say I'm proud of it, you know, we appre ..
kindly, I mean, we are kind of pretty adaptable people to
any other kind of people. The only problem is that sometime
the lot of Korean ladies and they are kind of sort of shy
because of the language. They have a feeling to express
their good feelings and everything but they don't want to
make a mistake to the others.
M: In living in a larger community, how do the
Korean-American families network together? Is it through
church membership or through club membership or how is
contact made and maintained between different families?
I: Main thing is like in San Antonio, I would say church
and also like if they .. people working together like
Health Science Center, they have a group together and they
are friends get together, you know, family together
occasionally and also we have some of the elders .• elderly
people, they do gather together maybe once a month and, you
know, call each other .. like •. that's the main thing is
here in the United States a difference situation like in
Korea, there's so much public transportation and you can
visit your friends, just walk a block, two block, whatever,
but here it's the main thing is transportation and you have
to drive and a lot of times their children, you know, have
In, Yong C. 11
I: two jobs and some of them working in the evening, so it
didn't match you know the time to the elderly want to get
together, but, you, we do have most people gathering
together within church in different church and different
church and group by group.
M: Thank you. At the Folklife Festival, the
Korean-American community works very hard to present the
food, the dance, and the Karati or Tai Quando deomonsrations
what do you use your profits for?
I : We like I say .. only in this interview, we don't
have our own building for the Korean-American Associations
which will be necessary to .. most of them .. all of them I
would say go t o the building fund .. foundation funds and
for the .• for the Korean Association •. uh •.
Korean-American Association of San Antonio and also, we do
have a Korean-American •. I mean, Korean Community School
here during the springtime. We have about 3 months schedule
and we do have once every week, like we used to have a
Friday evening between 7:00 to 9:00 and some of the church
or Catholic School, they kind of offered us to use those •. ,
their facility. I really thank you for this time for those
people and so those funds go to the building fund for the
Korean-American Association and also the Korean Community
M: So the Community School, which is education directed
toward teaching the Korean language.
Is that correct?
In, Yong C. 12
M: It is •. and the culture of Korea to the young people
so it's very much a part of the community life in addition
to the churches and to the Association. Does the
Korean-American community in San Antonio, or anywhere in
Texas, maintain any other institutions like insurance
companies or retirement homes or anything like that?
I: I really can't say that. I'm sorry. I don't have any
knowledge of it but I overheard the two people working in
the Killeen and also the Houston and Dallas, those areas,
there's a lot of, I mean, Korean people own the insurance
company and other companies for the Korean people so the
American but I'm sorry I couldn't give you much answer
M: That's very good. Certainly, the Korean booth is very
colorful and is a very excitlng part of the Folklife
Festival. Do you anticipate that the Association is going
to come back year after year to be part of this multicultural
celebration in San Antonio?
I: Yes. We really have hard work on that but this time and
myself and my staff and really we didn't do much because the
past five years, those former Presidents and Board of
Directors and all the members, they really hard work. And
we just put up a booth, set up together, and just get ready,
but yes, we would like to have a kind of •. enlarge that
booth and show more Korean culture display and also, you
know, which is Mo Go Ghee, that's the best food in the world
really and we could, I mean, present to the Texas and all
In, Yong C. 13
I: over the United States to American people and also the
Kimchee, which is hot spices. One of the gentlemen and a
lady stopped by last night and she says well, that's the
best food I ever tasted in here, you know.
M: Oh, you need a phone? Here's a phone right here. All
you need to do is dial 9 to get an outside line. Let me
stop this. I want to thank you very much Mr. Yong In. Is
I: In is my last name.
M: So it's Mr. In, Mr. Yong C. In .• Y-o-n-g C. I-n, who
is booth chairman for the Korean-American Association this
year. We've covered a lot of ground in a very short period
of time and I know that we're getting near opening on Friday
and you need to go back and supervise your high school
youngsters and get all of the good food ready to go. Thank
you very much for being with me this morning and for taking
part in our interview session. Thank you, sir.
I: Thank you so much .. being here together and thank you
for your organization and thank you for your staff for
the recording. Thank you.
END OF TAPE.
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