Monday, July 17, 2017


Korean Peace Memorial
Marpi, Saipan
In memory of the Korean fallen in Saipan in World War II

Long before more recent Chamorro-Korean marriages, a few Chamorros in the Northern Marianas married Koreans in the 1920s and 30s.

Japan invaded Korea in 1910 and colonized it. In 1914, Japan occupied the Northern Marianas and the League of Nations later recognized Japanese rule in the Northern Marianas.

Over time, Japanese, Okinawan and Korean settlers moved to Saipan and vastly outnumbered the Chamorro and Carolinian population. During the war, Koreans in the Imperial Japanese Army were sent to defend the Northern Marianas from the oncoming American invasion.

Serafina King Nabors, a well-known resident of Tinian, is the child of one such Korean-Chamorro marriage. Serafina has served in elected office and has always been active in civic life. Here she tells of her discovery of her Korean paternal roots.

Serafina went to Korea and did some digging and found out that her father's last name was Kim, the most common Korean surname. It wasn't unusual for some last names to be changed by clerks and priests who recorded them. Kim became King.

Her father moved to Luta (Rota), working on a tapioca farm and the sugar cane fields. There he met a Chamorro lady from Saipan, whose mother came from Guam, from the del Rosario family. Serafina is related to the Ngånga' and Seboyas clans.

After the war, the Kings resettled in Tinian. All four main islands of the Marianas are involved in Serafina's family history!

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