Korean Empire passport

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Korean Empire passport
Revised Romanization Daehanjeguk Jipjo
McCune–Reischauer Taehanjeguk Chipcho

Korean Empire passports were issued to subjects of the Korean Empire for international travel. The first English-language passports of the Korean Empire were issued in 1902 by the People's Comfort Agency (수민원; 綏民院) to Koreans migrating to Hawaii.[1] By 1904, passport issuance was conducted by the Imperial Korean Foreign Office (대한제국 외부). The passport was written in English, French, and Classical Chinese, and contained the bearer's name, address, age, and destination.[2]

Soon after the 1910 advent of Japanese rule in Korea, Koreans began having to use Japanese passports. These were not always easy to obtain, and some Koreans resorted to naturalising as citizens of China and acquiring Republic of China passports instead. However, for those aiming to travel to the United States this method created its own difficulties, as the bearers of such passports then became subject to the provisions of the United States' Chinese Exclusion Act.[3]

Surviving examples of Korean Empire passports are rare. One specimen is the passport of An Cheol-yeong, preserved by his son An Hyeong-ju of Hawaii; in 2012, the younger An donated that passport and his collection of nearly 2,500 other documents of Korean American history to the National Library of Korea in Seoul.[4] Another specimen is the passport issued in 1903 to diplomat Min Yonghwan, which is held by the Soongsil University Museum.[5]


  1. ^ Choi, Zihn (Winter 2002). "Early Korean Immigrants to America: Their Role in the Establishment of the Republic of Korea" (PDF). East Asian Review. 14 (4): 43–71. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  2. ^ "한국이민사박물관 소장품: 1904년 대한제국 여권". Dongpo News. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  3. ^ Lee, Erika; Yung, Judy (2010). Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  4. ^ "대한제국 여권 등 하와이 이민史 자료 2500점 기증". Munhwa Ilbo. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  5. ^ "한국 근대의 민족운동". Soongsil University Museum. Retrieved 2012-08-11.