“El Chemulpo”

Far from Distant Shores: Identity Limbo in the Korean Diaspora

“El Chemulpo”

Mérida, Mexico, 2016

According to a story passed down in the Korean-Mayan community, the first generation of Koreans in Mérida used to gather in the “Bar Santiago” at this street corner. After a few drinks, yearning for their homeland, they would cry and shout, “Chemulpo! Chemulpo!”—the name of the East Asian port from which they had departed in 1905 (present-day Incheon, South Korea). The owner of the bar, touched by their story, changed the name of the establishment to “El Chemulpo.”