Robert Holley

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For the American biochemist, see Robert W. Holley. For the American cartoonist, see Robert M. Holley.
Robert Bradley Holley
Born 1961
California, United States
Citizenship South Korea
Occupation Lawyer, founder and president of Gwangju Foreign School
Known for Speaking in Busan dialect during television appearances
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Korean name
Hangul 하일
Hanja 河一
Revised Romanization Ha Il
McCune–Reischauer Ha Il

Robert Bradley Holley (born 1961), also known by the Korean name Ha Il, is a naturalised South Korean lawyer and television personality. A native of California and a former U.S. citizen, Holley relinquished his birth citizenship in 1997 in order to take South Korean citizenship.[1][2]


Holley first came to South Korea in 1978 as a Mormon missionary, remaining there for two years.[3] He returned to the country in 1982 to study at Yonsei University, and after graduating from West Virginia University in 1987 with a law degree, began pursuing a legal career in South Korea.[1] He founded the Gwangju Foreign School in 1996.[4] He began his rise to television stardom in the early 2000s, becoming well known for his spoken Korean which showed heavy influence from the Gyeongsang dialect spoken in his adopted hometown of Busan.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Holley is a descendant of William Bradford, one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact.[6] He is married to a South Korean woman, with whom he has three sons; the eldest was born in 1988.[2][7] He decided to naturalise as a South Korean citizen in 1997, which would require him to give up U.S. citizenship. He describes this as a difficult decision, especially since South Korea was then not a member of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program; a U.S. consular official tried to discourage him from giving up citizenship, threatening that he might not be able to get a visa to return to his country of birth, but Holley decided to go through with it in the end.[1] A notice confirming his loss of U.S. citizenship was published in the Federal Register in February 1998.[8] He is a close friend of Lee Joon-gi, who would rise to fame in the mid-2000s as a film actor.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Wallace, Ross (2001-03-23). "Robert Holley: Pusan's favorite son". Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  2. ^ a b "로버트할리, `꽃미남` 아들 공개 '누나들 열광'". Korea Economic Daily. 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  3. ^ York, Rob (2011-11-15). "Many Mormon missionaries come to Korea, some stay". Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Welcome Messages". Gwangju Foreign School. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  5. ^ "Robert Holley, hoping for a happy multicultural society". Korea Magazine. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  6. ^ Baker, Michael (1999-12-06). "Ex-Americans embracing Korea find gesture returned". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  7. ^ "로버트 할리, 뚝배기 아저씨 아니라예! '하일'로 불러주이소". InLive. 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  8. ^ Doug Rogers, Internal Revenue Service (1998-02-09). "Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, as Requried by Section 6039G". Federal Register. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  9. ^ "TV Personality Robert Holley Calls Lee Joon Gi Ugly". Yahoo! News. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-03-20.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

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