Founded in 1943, the Korea Collection at UHM was one of the earliest in the United States. It supports one of the largest programs of Korean Studies outside Korea. It has been developing collections in the arts, humanities, business, and social sciences and holds considerable resources in history, language and literature, film, and on North Korea.
As the needs of Korean resources have been increasing based on the rapid growth of Korean Studies, the Korea Collection continues to develop, creating new collections such as the North Korean Collection, Cheju Collection, and the Collection of the Collected Works of Korean Literature (문학전집).
Among the Collection’s notable resources are microfilms of the Kyujanggak ( 奎 章 閣 ) Collection (Choson Dynasty royal collections) and the Imanishi ( 今 西 ) Collection of the Korean historical sources owned by the Tenri Central Library in Japan; the Korean Old/Rare Books Collection; and more than 400 volumes of the Collection of Survey of the Government-General of Korea (朝鮮總督府 中樞院).
Since 1994, the collection has participated in the cooperative collection development program of the Korean Collections Consortium of North America funded by the Korea Foundation. The University of Hawaii’s responsibilities in this resource-sharing program are to build a comprehensive collection on Cheju-do, architecture, pre-Chosŏn dynasty history, modern social conditions, nationalism, public health, traditional music, and urban planning and urban studies. Another responsibility as a part of this program is the acquisition of resources on Korea and Koreans published in Europe.