Early morning on January 13th, 1903, a steamship named SS Gaelic, carrying about 100 Koreans, docked in Honolulu Harbor. They were the first Korean immigrants to Hawaii and wanted to start new lives. Between 1903 and August in 1905, approximately 7,400 immigrants, most of them male, arrived in Hawaii to also start new lives. Finding it difficult to marry, they entered a program to bring them Korean picture brides. From harsh, impoverished beginnings, the roots of Koreans in Hawaii has spanned over 120 years, creating a genealogy that contributes to the cultural fabric of Hawaii today.
THE STORY OF DREAMS: PICTURE BRIDE explores some of these genealogies and the family bearers who have documented them–Mary Zarbough, aged 103, a daughter of the late Chun Yun-hee who left 24 cassette tapes of oral record and filled 7 notebooks as evidence of her life as a picture bride; and Esther Kwon, aged 94, a daughter of the late Lee Hee-kyeong, the picture bride who got arrested and imprisoned after she traveled to Korea and delivered independence movement funds even after she settled down in Hawaii. By looking at their lives, we retrace the lives of the Korean diaspora and ruminate on the meaning of the great legacy that is family.