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Friday, 5 June 2015

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, X-tra LARGE Edition! (Part IV): He Jin and Robert Holley - An American Man who adopted Korean Name


Robert Bradley Holley (born: December 2nd 1961 in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino County, California, USA), also known by the Korean name Ha Il (하일/河一), is a naturalized 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. He is the Progenitor of Yeongdo Ha Clan (영도 하씨/影島河氏), originated from Busan Yeongdo-gu.

Holley first came to South Korea in 1978 as a Mormon missionary, remaining there for two years. 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. He founded the Kwangju Foreign School in 1996. 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.

Holley is a descendant of William Bradford, one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact. He is married to a South Korean woman - Myung Hyun-sook (명현숙), with whom he has three sons - Ha Jae-seon (하재선), Ha Jae-wook (하재욱) and Ha Jae-ik (하재익). 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. A notice confirming his loss of U.S. citizenship was published in the Federal Register in February 1998. He is a close friend of Lee Joon-ki, who would rise to fame in the mid-2000s as a film actor.