S.R. NO.



S.D. 1













     WHEREAS, Koreans have a long history in Hawaii which started with sixteen Koreans in 1902 and the first group of Korean laborers arriving in January 1903; and


     WHEREAS, with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Koreans have become one of the fastest growing Asian groups in the United States which spurred the opening of the University of Hawaii's Center for Korean Studies in 1973; and


     WHEREAS, immigration has continued, resulting in a population of 23,537 Koreans in Hawaii, according to the 2000 United States Census, and causing the Center for Korean Studies to broaden the teaching of Korean history and culture; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii has been at the forefront of encouraging the federal government to approve a visa waiver program for Korea; and


     WHEREAS, on June 16, 2003, the Korean Consulate, Hawaii Korean Tourism Association, and Korean Air formed the Hawaii Tourism Promotion Association for the purpose of promoting tourism and a visa waiver program for Koreans; and


     WHEREAS, on August 19, 2003, the Korean-Hawaii Visa Waiver Action Committee was created to promote and advocate the necessity of a visa waiver program for Koreans; and


     WHEREAS, on April 26, 2004, the Legislature adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 202, urging the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation to introduce federal legislation to provide additional resources to expand visa processing capacity in the Consular Section of the United States Embassy in Seoul in the Republic of Korea, and to include the Republic of Korea in the Visa Waiver Program; and


     WHEREAS, on October 17, 2008, following several years of advocacy and lobbying efforts by the Korean-Hawaii Visa Waiver Action Committee in Washington, D.C. and in Korea, President Bush announced the visa waiver program for Koreans, effective November 17, 2008; and


     WHEREAS, Koreans entering Hawaii between 2005 to 2008 totaled 35,008 in 2005, 37,911 in 2006, 42,140 in 2007, and 38,110 in 2008, and the number dramatically increased to 54,739 in 2009; and


     WHEREAS, the upward trend has continued, totaling 81,921 Korean visitors in 2010 and 100,172 visitors in 2011, with projections that the number of Koreans entering in Hawaii will continue to grow at thirty to fifty percent annually; and


     WHEREAS, Korean Air schedules fourteen flights a week to Hawaii; Asiana Airlines schedules two flights a week to Hawaii and will increase to seven flights a week starting in July 2012; and similarly Hawaiian Airlines schedules four flights a week to Hawaii and will also increase to seven flights a week starting in July 2012; and


     WHEREAS, more than ninety-two percent of the Korean tourists in Hawaii visited Oahu, of which approximately eighty-two percent are first-time visitors to Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, many Koreans have given their time and expertise in serving the State of Hawaii, one of the most notable being Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, whose grandparents were among the first Korean immigrants to Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, Census Tracts 36.01 and 36.02 give the general boundaries encompassing areas west of Kalakaua Avenue to Pensacola Street and north of Kapiolani Boulevard to South King Street which has become known as the Korean business district; and


     WHEREAS, according to numbers from the 2000 United States Census, Census Tract 36.02 was home to 1,008 Koreans and part-Koreans, making it the neighborhood with the highest concentration of Koreans in the State; and


     WHEREAS, areas surrounding, in, and around Census Tracts 36.01 and 36.02 are home to approximately eighteen percent of Hawaii's Korean population; and


     WHEREAS, as Hawaii continues its efforts to overcome the existing global financial crisis, it must look to its own state resources as well as develop international partnerships to plan for its current recovery and future to prevent another economic crisis; and


     WHEREAS, Koreatowns or Korean themed streets or districts exist in large U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, and internationally Koreatowns exist in Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, Osaka, London, Auckland, Hong Kong, and Beijing; and


     WHEREAS, establishing a Koreatown is the first and natural step in recognizing the long history and bonds developed throughout the decades of Korean immigration and influence in Hawaii; and


     WHEREAS, as Korea globally grows in recognition as an economic power, Hawaii must be at the forefront and establish itself as a gateway to Korean investment; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2012, that this body urges the establishment of a Koreatown; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Office of Planning in coordination with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting develop a master plan for the development of a Koreatown to include but not be limited to the following:


     (1)  Area boundaries;


     (2)  Incentives to promote and perpetuate further investment with Korea;


     (3)  A museum and cultural center highlighting Korea's contributions in culture, music, fashion, art, and society in Hawaii and the world and including statues of Korean leaders from Hawaii; and


     (4)  Specialized design plans to reflect Korean architecture; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Office of Planning submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2013; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Director of the Office of Planning, and Director of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.

Report Title:

Koreatown; Office of Planning; Counties