Philip Ahn and Dosan Park

A few months ago I went to Korea for the first time. My food highlights were eating beondegi (silkworm larvae) and drinking persimmon juice. I didn’t get to do anything movie related aside from meeting someone working on a documentary about a Buddhist monk.  The trip was short so I didn’t see much but overall had a great time.

It was only a few weeks ago that I lamented a part of my trip. I did not go to Dosan Park. I had never heard of it until my worldly multilingual Korean-loving friend promoted a Korean Speakeasy class. My mission in life is to always educate others on Hollywood classic movies so of course I have to plug 1930s-70s Hollywood actor, Philip Ahn, an American actor of Korean parentage.

Philip Ahn was the first Asian-American film actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

with Shirley Temple

He played opposite Shirley Temple in Stowaway and opposite Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon. His  long filmography includes The Story of Dr. Wassell(1944), Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955) and Thorougly Modern Millie (1967). Throughout the 1950s-70s he guest starred on numerous television shows  from Dragnet to Police Woman but is mostly remembered as Master Kan on Kung Fu.

as Master Kan

I just learned Philip Ahn’s father was Ahn Changho (1878-1938), a Korean independence leader against the Japanese, known as Dosan.

Ah Chang-ho

With the aid of the Korean government, Philip Ahn helped build Dosan Park in Seoul in order to bury his parents there. His father was originally buried far from Seoul by the Japanese. The ten acre park was opened in 1973. The Memorial Hall displays photographs, documents, letters and Dosan’s diary. There are walking paths, a flower garden and sports facilities. Admission is free. Apgujeong station.