Dosan Institute, also known as Dosan Hakdang, 
is KCCNY's initiative to promote Dosan Ahn Chang Ho's Continuing Legacy in Korea and America

Dosan Ahn Chang Ho

Ahn Chang Ho (Korean: 안창호; Chinese: 安昌浩, November 9, 1878 - March 10, 1938) was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. He is also referred to by his pen name Dosan (도산; 島山). Ahn was born on November 9, 1878 near Pyongyang, North Korea. In 1894, Ahn moved to Seoul where he attended Save the World School (Gusae Hakdang), a Presbyterian missionary-sponsored school in Seoul run by Horace G. Underwood and Rev. F.S. Miller. Dosan eventually converted to Christianity. While Dosan was a student at Gusae he worked for Dr. Oliver R. Avison at Jejungwon, the first medical institution in Korea which became Severance Hospital and is now part of Yonsei University Medical Center.

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Immigration to America

In October 1902, Ahn came to San Francisco with his wife Helen (Hye Ryeon Lee/이혜련) to pursue a better education. They were the first married couple to come from Korea to the Mainland. Their passports from Emperor Gojong were numbers 51 and 52. While living in San Francisco, California, he witnessed two Korean Ginseng merchants fighting in the streets over sales territory. Ahn was apparently upset by this display of incivility among his countrymen overseas, so he began to invest time into reforming the earliest local Korean community members, rising to become one of the first leaders of the Korean-American community.

 

He founded the San Francisco Friendship Society (상항친목회) in 1903, the first group that was organized exclusively for Koreans in the United States. On April 5, 1905, he expanded the Friendship Society name to the Mutual Assistance Society (MAS, Kongrip Hyophoe/공립협회) with its headquarters at 938 Pacific St, San Francisco, California. This was the first Korean political organization in the United States. Dosan set up the first Korean newspaper Kongnip Sinbo on November 20, 1905. In reaction to the Durham White Stevens assassination on March 23, 1908 the MAS would eventually merge with the United Korean Society (Hapsong Hyophoe/합성협회) in Hawaii to become the Korean National Association (KNA, 대한인국민회; 大韓人國民會) in 1909, the official agent of Koreans in the United States until the end of World War II.

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Ahn Chang Ho picking oranges in Southern California c. 1910

Return to Korea

In 1926 departing from San Pedro, California by ship, Dosan traveled back to China, never returning to the United States to live for long. (He was resident with his family at 106 North Figueroa St, Los Angeles, on April 24, 1930. During Dosan's anti-Japanese activism in Korea, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese Imperialist government at least five times. He was first arrested in 1909 in connection with Ahn Chung Gun's assassination of Itō Hirobumi, the Japanese Resident General of Korea. Dosan was tortured and punished many times during the years of his activism. In 1932 he was arrested in Shanghai, China in connection with Yun Bong-gil's bombing at Hongkew Park (April 29, 1932). He was a naturalized Chinese citizen at this time and illegally extradited back to Korea, where he was convicted of violating Japan's "Preservation of Peace Laws" and sentenced to five years in Taejon prison.

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Ahn with his family

Death and Legacy

In 1926 departing from San Pedro, California by ship, Dosan traveled back to China, never returning to the United States to live for long. (He was resident with his family at 106 North Figueroa St, Los Angeles, on April 24, 1930. During Dosan's anti-Japanese activism in Korea, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese Imperialist government at least five times. He was first arrested in 1909 in connection with Ahn Chung Gun's assassination of Itō Hirobumi, the Japanese Resident General of Korea. Dosan was tortured and punished many times during the years of his activism. In 1932 he was arrested in Shanghai, China in connection with Yun Bong-gil's bombing at Hongkew Park (April 29, 1932). He was a naturalized Chinese citizen at this time and illegally extradited back to Korea, where he was convicted of violating Japan's "Preservation of Peace Laws" and sentenced to five years in Taejon prison.

Ahn Chang Ho is one of the key moral and philosophical leaders of Korea during the 20th century. In the turmoil immediately before and during the Japanese occupation of Korea, he called for the moral and spiritual renewal of the Korean people through education as one of the important components in their struggle for independence and building a democratic society. Dosan also emphasized economic and military strength  in his independence movement strategies.