LA Times Article on the “Henequen”, Mexicans of Korean Descent

Korean Mexicans, Photo by Luis SincoAnother fascinating case of what I’d like to call “culture mash” as seen in this LA Times article, Korean Mexicans learn more of their Asian roots on visit to Southern California by Hector Becerra.

Formerly the superpower of Latin America, people immigrated to Mexico instead of vice versa. Back in 1905, a group of Koreans who were fleeing Japanese rule were “lured in 1905 by ship to plantations on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. Instead of finding a better life, they were sold to plantation owners and forced to cultivate henequen, a plant whose tough fiber was used to make things like rope.”

Evidence of both cultures is apparent in the names of descendants like Rafael Kim. Reminds me of the generations of Chinese living in Panama as well as Caribbean islands like Jamaica.

I imagine how hard it must’ve been for these Koreans to assimilate to a completely different culture,

View the article’s photo gallery, The Melting Pot.

PHOTO: Beyond the silhouette of a mariachi player is an image of early Korean immigrants to Mexico. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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