Ho-Am Byung-chull Lee was born as the last child among 4 siblings in Jung-kyo-ri, Jeong-gok-myeon, Uiryong-gun, South Kyongsang Province on Feb. 12, 1910. His father's name was Chan Wu Lee, and his mother's surname was Kwon of the An-dong Clan. He spent a relatively affluent childhood under the family tradition of honesty, as his classical family which respected Confucianism was wealthy.
He went to the private school, Munsan-jung, established by his grandfather, Munsan Hong Seok Lee. There, he studied Chinese Classics from the age of five and when he was 10, he transferred to Jisu Middle School in Jinju. The following year, he transferred to Su-song Middle School in Seoul. Later on, he studied modern sciences in Jung-dong Middle School and, married Doo Eul Park, descendant of Park Paeng Nyeon who was a member of Sayuksin in 1926.
He devoted himself to his studies after marriage and went to Japan to study Economics at Waseda University in April of 1930. But he moved back to Korea from Tokyo after seeing and learning from a confused society caused by a whirlpool of the global crisis. Finally he decided to launch into a business since he concluded that the most urgent task was to establish the national economy under the Japanese colony after several years of speculations and plans.