(Author’s Note: I am grateful to Edwin Lee, the youngest son of Lee Bum Young and Kim Hey Soo, for the many hours of interviews, for providing the NARA files and other family documents, and for the inspiration his family history gave me to write about Korean immigration.)
About 1,000 Koreans are believed to have arrived at the port of San Francisco during the 30-year period that the Angel Island Immigration Station was open. Of those, some 650 Koreans arrived between 1910 and 1918. These were the early years of the Japanese occupation in Korea, and the Japanese government had a strict prohibition against Koreans leaving the peninsula. As a result, many of these early Korean immigrants are known to have fled Korea secretly, and traveled to the U.S. by way of China or Manchuria under assumed names and identities.