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Expertise on Korean-American War Hero Available

Expertise on Korean-American War Hero Available

UC Riverside scholar offers comment on U.S. Army Col. Young Oak Kim, who appears on list of American war heroes.

(June 21, 2011)

Edward ChangEnlarge

Edward Chang

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Edward Chang, professor and director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at UC Riverside, is available to comment on Col. Kim, who is one of 16 U.S. war heroes featured this week on

Col. Kim is revered in Korea and by Korean Americans. A highly decorated U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he was the only Korean-American officer in a mostly Japanese-American unit in the Army. He earned numerous decorations from the United States, Italy, France and Korea, and became a role model in the Los Angeles community after his retirement from the military. He helped found the Go For Broke Monument in Los Angeles that honors the U.S. military service of Japanese Americans during WWII, as well as the Japanese American National Museum, the Korean Health, Education, Information and Research Center, and the Korean American Museum.

“He was a war hero who transcended ethnic rivalry and a humanitarian who worked for children, battered women and Korean Americans,” Chang said.

The UCR center named for Col. Kim opened in September 2010. Funded by a 3 billion won (approximately $3 million U.S.) grant from the Overseas Koreans Foundation and significant support from the Korean American business community in Southern California, the center is one of only a few in the United States to focus its research on questions such as what it means to be a Korean American in the 21st century, the history of Korean Americans, the Korean diaspora in the United States and globally, and the role of Korean Americans in the reunification of South and North Korea.

In April the center published its first book, “Unsung Hero: The Story of Colonel Young Oak Kim.” The book is an English translation of the Korean title “The Beautiful Hero Young Oak Kim,” which was written by award-winning journalist Woo Sung Han. Chang translated the book.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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