NEW IL HAN: He became a towering international business tycoon and an independence movement leader.
He was a pioneer of business-led independence movement leader as he fought against the Japanese occupation. He was the one who returned all of his fortunes to society by providing a national education channel with his scholarships. He strongly argued that ‘only the healthy people can regain their lost sovereignty’ and he could do this through setting up a pharmaceutical company in Korea. He truly was a forerunner to foresee the coming Korean independence with his wisdom, courage and insight. At age 9, he immigrated to America in 1904. He entered a primary school in Nebraska and enrolled a military school by Park, Yong-man when he was 14 years old. In 1919, at the age of 21, he graduated from the University of Michigan. During a Philadelphia Convention, he declared in his speech on the need of Korean independence. He established La Choy Co with his college pal which turned out to be a smashing success earning a moniker King of Bean Sprouts! In 1924, he started YUHAN Company. He invited Dr. Philip Jaisohn to be the president of his business. He married Ho Mee-ree, a Chinese American, and he returned to Korea to permanently reside. Muriel, daughter of Dr. Jaisohn handed him a willow wood carving as a gift and this present later became his business logo: YUHAN Company. During this era, he authored a book “When I was a Boy in Korea” depicting his experience to the American society. When he returned to Korea in 1926, Korea was under the colonial occupation of Japan. He quickly sensed that he would need three things for the people: 1) Education, 2) Job and 3) Health. When he was asked to serve as a professor at now Yonsei University and his wife to lead the pediatrician department, he politely declined the offer to stay on his dream. Later, he lived in Los Angeles where he earned his MBA at USC. He had a personal friendship with Pearl. S. Buck. In 1942, he helped establish Korean national flag day at Los Angeles City Hall. He prepared a “Memorandum on Korea and the Pacific War” to legitimize Korean independence and financial help. He also wrote an article “Do Business with Korea” for the world to know about Korea. He participated in the Institute of Pacific Relation (IPR) in Virginia in 1945 to declare the justification of Korean independence. His pharmacy business expanded and he set up the first Korean company that produced antibiotics in 1967. Mr. NEW passed away on March 11, 1971 at the age of 76. In 1955, the South Korean government posthumously recognized him with the Order of Merit of National Foundation / Independence Award for his dedication and contribution for the Korean independence movement.