The Special Permanent Residents in Japan: Zainichi Korean

Written by Jang Hawon, Peking University


As the number of foreign residents in Japan continues to grow, scholars of Japanese society are devoting increasing attention to the ways in which foreign communities interact with the Japanese state and society. The Korean community is one of the oldest and the largest foreign communities in Japan. Commonly called the Zainichi Koreans, they are a special case related to a specific Japanese historical period. As past colonial subjects living in the former imperial metropole, they have been treated as unwelcome legacies of Japan’s wartime imperial ambitions. Compounding influences such as the ubiquitous notions of a homogeneous Japanese national identity and indivisible links between Japanese nationality and ethnicity have been successful in marginalizing Zainichi Koreans.[1] Furthermore, as foreigners increasingly visit Japan and the country accordingly attempts to transform into a multicultural state, the importance of Zainichi Koreans is being blurred under the name of internationalization and diversity.

This paper covers a wide range of topics pertaining to the everyday lives of Koreans in Japan. Subjects include the history of Korean colonial displacement and postcolonial division during the Cold War; legal status of Koreans in Japan; their self-representation and unstable identities. At the same time, this paper includes an introduction to the Zainichi dobo no seikatsu o kangaeru kai [在日同胞の生活を考える会], a grassroots community created in response to the changing identity of the Zainichi Korean community.

Korean residents in Japan

In June 2017, there were 484,627 registered foreigners in Japan with South or North Korean nationality. They accounted for 19.6 percent of the total of 2,471,458 foreigners registered in Japan. The Chinese (including Taiwanese) were the largest ethnic minority and accounted for 31 percent of all registered foreigners, followed by Koreans with 19.6 percent and Filipinos with 10.2 percent.[2] However, according to Fukuoka, twenty years ago there were 657,159 registered foreigners in Japan with North or South Korean nationality.[3] They accounted for 46.4 percent of the total of 1,415,136 foreigners registered in Japan. While the large number of so-called “newcomer” migrants from Asia and Latin America has reduced the Korean percentage in the non-Japanese population, Koreans by then remained as the biggest ethnic minority in the land. The Chinese were second with 16.6 percent of the registered total, followed by the Brazilians with 14. 3 percent. The Korean community in Japan had a huge significance in Japanese society as the major ethnic minority, which continues to this day.

Koreans in Japan are commonly called “Zainichi.” In a broad definition, the term covers Koreans who came to Japan before the Japanese colonial era, Koreans who moved to Japan during the colonial period and their descendants, and Koreans who chose to move to Japan, mostly after 1965 when South Korea and Japan established diplomatic relations. However, the term usually refers to those who came over to Japan during its colonial rule over Korea, and their descendants. The aforementioned figure of 484,627 includes Korean newcomers who moved to Japan for causes such as business, study, and marriage. A true figure of the Zainichi population would probably be around 330,000, counting those who registered as “special permanent residents” through the Japanese Ministry of Justice. This category includes Koreans who moved, voluntarily or forcibly, to Japan during the colonial period and settled permanently, as well as any of their descendants that have not naturalized.[4]

In the twenty-first century, commonly hailed as the era of internationalization, the large number of Koreans living in Japan may strike as natural. However, the Zainichi Koreans represent a special case for the Japanese society, since they have been a huge ethnic minority in Japan since World War Ⅱ. To understand them better, it is necessary to review their history.

Why so many Koreans left in Japan?

Koreans moved to Japan since the early years of Japanese colonial rule. A small number of Korean workers and street vendors settled in Japan following the Japan-Korea treaty of 1876 that opened up Korea.[5] After Japan’s formal annexation of Korea in 1910, labor migration increased. The national census of 1920 recorded approximately 40,000 Koreans in Japan, the number increasing to 420,000 in 1930 and approximately 1,240,000 in 1940.[6] Japan faced a labor shortage with the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941, so Koreans were brought to construction and production sites in Japan and elsewhere. These were mostly men, but many women were also taken as workers, in some cases as forced sexual slavery for the army.[7] By the time the war ended, the number of Koreans in Japan was approximately two million.[8] The majority of those who had been forcibly brought to Japan were repatriated upon the war’s end, while those who had more or less settled in Japan stayed. The latter were estimated to be about 590,000 persons in 1948.[9] In many cases they had been living in Japan for ten to twenty years and their immediate families were living in Japan, not Korea. They had neither land nor housing in Korea. Returning to Korea would mean restarting their lives from zero, while in Japan they would experience racist contempt and systematic discrimination, such as being paid lower wages than their Japanese workmates. As a result, when the war came to an end, many Zainichi Korean must have seen continued residence in Japan as the lesser of two evils.[10] Besides, their hope to return was further shattered as their homeland was partitioned between the Soviet-occupied north and the U.S.-occupied south, and as the subsequent Korean War (1950-53) consolidated this division.

Legal status

In 1945, when the Allied occupation of Japan started, Koreans in Japan were liberated people. However, the Japanese government made them subject to the Alien Registration Law of 1947. By 1952, when the occupation ended, Koreans in Japan were a stateless people with few civil rights and extreme insecurity of residential status. The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 guaranteed Korea’s independence from Japan. However, the treaty and Japanese post-independence policy simultaneously deprived Koreans residents in Japan of Japanese citizenship.[11] Koreans in Japan received a renewable visa-like status and were subjected to tight surveillance. They were required to be fingerprinted and to carry a registration certificate at all times. They also faced the possibility of deportation to North or South Korea.[12] The 1965 South Korea-Japan normalization of diplomatic relations enabled Koreans in Japan to obtain the right of permanent residence under the condition that they apply for South Korean nationality. This arrangement restricted expatriate political power relations between Mindan and Chongryon: faced with this choice, many Korean residents, including some who had previously supported North Korea, applied for South Korean nationality. The approximately 250,000 out of 640,000 Koreans in Japan who remained stateless in 1974 had no civil status or overseas travel document until the early 1980s.[13]

The 1980s and early 1990s saw a change in the level of legal protection and the range of citizenship rights enjoyed by permanent resident aliens. In 1979 the Japanese government ratified the two International Covenants on Human Rights, and the UN Refugee Convention in 1981. In order to comply with these conventions, which require equal treatment of nationals and non-citizens in terms of social citizenship rights, the Japanese government had to revise existing laws.[14] By the mid-1980s, resident aliens gained social rights including access to public sector housing and housing loans, child care allowances, the national pension plan, and the national health care plan.[15] Permanent residency was given to stateless Zainich Koreans in 1982. In 1992, all Korean permanent residents in Japan, regardless of whether they gained residence under terms stipulated in 1965 or 1982, were unified under the category “special permanent resident.”[16]

Nationality and politics

Nowadays, people often hear news of famine and socioeconomic stagnation in North Korea, while the DPRK claims to be a nuclear power.[17]  International society is intensifying its pressure on the North Korean regime. Given the situation, it may come as a surprise to many to learn that there are Koreans in Japan who identity the North as their homeland. The Zainichi Korean population includes both nationals of North and South Korea. However, nationality has less to do with their geographical place of origin than with their political allegiance. Nearly all Zainichi families hail from South Korea, mainly from the provinces of Gyeongsang-do, Jeolla-do, and Jeju island. However, in the first two decades after the partition of Korea, these Koreans overwhelmingly supported the government of North Korea.[18] This sport ups to do with the influence from the Korean peninsula as well as the situation in Japan. To begin with, the South Korean government did little to facilitate repatriation for Koreans who had remained in Japan, while the North Korean government acknowledged that Koreans in Japan were North Korean nationals and encouraged their repatriation to the north.[19] In 1958, North Korean premier Kim Il Sung officially stated that the North Korean state would welcome the repatriation of Koreans from Japan.[20] He repeated the same statement in January 1959, referring to repatriation as the “sacred right and humanitarian need” of Koreans in Japan “to come back to the bosom of their own fatherland, in search of a decent living.”[21] In 1957, the North Korean government started to send education funds to Korean schools in Japan. This financial assistance was taken as proof of North Korean economic prosperity. The experience of poverty, racism and cruel working conditions in Japan cultivated a strong working-class identity among Zainichi Koreans. Moreover, at the time Koreans in Japan shared a heightened sense of patriotic zeal in the form of postcolonial nationalism. Many looked toward the north rather than the south as an embodiment of national independence. To them, the record of anti-Japanese guerrilla battles claimed by Kim Il Sung rendered Kim more legitimacy as a national leader than the background of U.S.-educated and U.S.-backed southern President Syngman Rhee. As of early 1955, Japanese police authorities estimated that about 90 percent of Koreans in Japan supported North Korea.[22] In 1955, North Koreans outnumbered South Koreans by a ratio of 3:1 in the Zainichi population.

However, with the balance of power on the Korean peninsula shifted in favor of the South, the Japanese and South Korean governments steadily strengthened the inducements to claim South Korean nationality, and as a result, a growing number of Zainichi Koreans switched allegiance from the North to the South. By 1969, South Koreans became a majority in the Zainichi population, and by 1992 the ratio was 7:2 in favor of ROK nationality.[23] (Nomura 1996: 266-7).

Mindan and Chongryun

Following the end of the Korean war, the Korean community in Japan saw the emergence of two ethnic organizations: the South Korea-supportive Korean Residents Union in Japan (abbreviated as Mindan) and the North Korea-supportive General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (called Chongryun). The differences are ideological but also politically motivated, reflecting much of the division on homeland peninsula. Antagonism based on difference between ideology and perception of the Zainichi situation has existed between Mindan and Chongryun ever since Mindan’s inception. This acrimonious division is often described as ‘the thirty-eighth parallel’ in Japan, demonstrating how state-based ideologies and geopolitics often influence overseas diaspora communities.[24]

Chongryun has upheld safeguarding the honor of North Korea, the homeland, as its organizing principle. It insists it is lawful in all its activities in Japan. The repatriation zeal has to be seen in conjunction with Chongryun’s goal of unifying all Koreans in Japan, as well as its self-definition as a Japan-based North Korean organization working for the prosperity of homeland and its people. It has not been an organization of Koreans in Japan operating with an eye to their future well-being in Japan. Chongryun has constructed a nationwide organizational web extending to every Japanese prefecture. It built more than 150 Korean schools including nursery schools, primary, middle, and high schools, a college, and a graduate school for which North Korean funds were provided, while Korean families in Japan paid on their own to support their ethnic schools. The education system was crucial in creating a pedagogical mechanism for reproducing a discourse and ideology which uphold North Korea as the authentic homeland and Kim Il Sung as the national leadere for Koreans in Japan.[25]r Furthermore, Chongryun actively carried out the repatriation of Koreans in Japan to North Korea. From 1959 to 1984, a total of 93,339 Koreans in Japan went to North Korea through such repatriation.[26]

However, these days Chongryun cannot exercise much political leverage. Due to the problem of abductions and the development of nuclear weapons, Japanese public opinion regarding North Korea has become extremely negative.[27] With the international society imposing strong sanctions on North Korea, Japan is pressuring Chongryun to not send money to North Korea. Nevertheless, Chongryun is still in touch with North Korea and supports its proclaimed homeland unconditionally.

Mindan has gained momentum since the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan in 1965. Since then, many Zainichi Koreans acquired South Korean nationality. According the the agreement, only those of South Korean nationality could apply for permanent residence from the Japanese government. Mindan has been contributing to the life of Zainichi Koreans, helping them acquire permanent residence in Japan and protecting their rights. Nevertheless, it has represented the position of the South Korean government and has not always reflected the will of all Zainichi Koreans.

Change in Zainichi Identity

Cambridge Dictionary defines identity as who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others.[28] According to Fukuoka, “Japanese conventional wisdom has tended to divide the Zainichi Korean population roughly along the following lines: first generation, resentful of Japan and nostalgic for the motherland; second generation, disheartened by experiences of discrimination and poverty, and determined to establish the foundations for a successful life in Japan; third generation, well enough adjusted to Japanese society to get by without too many problems.”[29] As Fukuoka notes, there has been generational changes in the Zainichi Korean community as well as in how they are perceived by the Japanese and Zainichi themselves. For a few decades since 1945, the identity of Zainichi Koreans was a collective one based on the members’ common experience of colonial history and resistance to Japan. The main discourse was their simultaneous desires to dissimilate from and assimilate into Japanese society.[30] Chongryun and Mindan denigrated naturalization as an act of betrayal to the homeland and the Korean ethnic nation (minzoku). Underlying the Japanese state’s naturalization policy as well as the resident Korean organizations’ betrayal discourse was the discourse of equating nationality and ethnicity.[31] In a word, a Zainichi’s identity was dependent on their choice between their Korean ethnicity and Japanese society.

However, as mentioned before, the Zainichi Korean community experienced great changes over time. Collective identity is neither fixed nor innate, but rather emerges through the interactions among various members of that identity. The salience of any given collective identity affects mobilization, trajectory, and even the impacts of social movements.”[32] The idea of a “third way,” first articulated in a 1979 discussion between Japanese scholar Iinuma Jiro and second-generation Korean Kim Dong-myung, began to be celebrated as a guiding principle for second- and third-generation resident Koreans.[33] Kim argued that unlike first-generation Koreans, who wanted to go back to their homeland, Japan-born Koreans had stronger attachments to Japan, its culture and its people. For Japan-born Koreans, a third way, or “zainichi” (“residing in Japan”), was a way of life and not a temporary condition; in that sense, they were different from first-generation Koreans. This realization was a breakthrough for Japan-born resident Koreans who had hitherto been pressured to choose between naturalization or a return to their homeland.[34] Another debate in 1985 between two Japan-born second-generation Koreans elucidated what Zainichi could mean. In an article in Kikan sanzenri, Kang Sang-jung, a college professor, argued that the term meant an attachment to the Korean homeland and a critique of the Japanese nation-state. The other debater was Yang Tae-ho, a member of Mintoren, a grass-roots movement created by young Zainichi Koreans to combat ethnic discrimination by encouraging a multicultural and positive approach to integration of Koreans into Japanese society.[35] Yang argued that “Zainichi” implied a civil rights effort to achieve “co-living” with the Japanese majority.[36] The meaning of Zainichi has therefore become even more diverse as third- and fourth- generation Koreans have begun to express themselves.[37]

Figure 1.


Source: Japan’s Ministry of Justice

This shift in the identity of zainichi Koreans can be traced in naturalization trends as well. As can be seen in Figure 1, greater numbers of Zainichi Koreans began to seek naturalization after 1991. In part, this was because they were beginning to redefine ethnicity as separate from nationality, allowing them to retain their Korean identity even after naturalization. Naturalization was no longer an act of betrayal but rather an option available for individual, free choice. This development, coupled with the rise of a multiculturalist movement in Japan, set the stage for the emergence of a new option for  Koreans in Japan: “Korean Japanese,” that is, Japanese nationals who identifies themselves as ethnically Korean.[38]

Figure 2.

Capture 1

[39] Source: Hirajiri Hideki (1989). Zainichi Chōsenjin no Seikatsu Sekai. Tōkyō : Kōbundō.

Considering this diversification of identities, Harajiri attempted to categorize Zainichi Koreans based on their identities in the mid-1980s.[40] The third- and fourth- generations of Zainichi Koreans, however, have lived in diverse environments and thus resist categorization into a collective identity. To explain this diversity in identity, Fukuoka additionally argues that the identity of young Zainichi Koreans are “given” based on two main elements. One set is their Japanese experience, growing up in a Japanese society, using Japanese as their mother tongue, and naturally acquiring Japanese culture. Aspects of their lives such as ways of thinking, emotions, values and lifestyles, have much in common with those of the Japanese people around them. This set of elements may be called the “assimilated self.”  Yet however deeply these people may be submerged in Japanese society, a second set of elements, based on their ethnic Korean inheritance, will always be present. The strength of ethnic awareness varies greatly according to each individual’s living environment: the degree to which ethnic culture is maintained within the household; whether or not one has attended a Korean school; and degree of involvement with ethnic organizations or groups. In ways of thinking, emotions, values and lifestyles, Zainichi Koreans also stand out from the surrounding Japanese population. This distinctive character is referred to as the “differentiated self.”[41].

Regardless of these diverse ways of identification, Sonia Ryang, a leading scholar on Koreans in Japan, correctly warns against these attempts to categorize different Zainichi identities, characterizing them as fragmented and failing to take their “collective concerns” into account.[42] In other words, she hopes that researchers pay attention to the change in Zainichi Korean identity, while at the same time never forget the commonly shared Zainichi experience in Japan as a ethnic minority.

It is impossible to grasp an absolute standard for the identity of Koreans in Japan. Nevertheless, the author feels that the identity of Zainichi is changing from a collective identity to an individual identity. The colonial period victim-oriented collective identity cannot serve a variety of individual identities. The old collective identity does not match the new individual identity anymore. Therefore, Zainichi Korean community is experiencing a period of confused identity.

在日同胞の生活を考える”: An Organization with a new vision for the Zainichi Koreans

The shifting identities of Zainichi Koreans have also affected the ways in which they affiliate with Zainichi Korean organizations. While Zainichi Koreans used to belong to one of the two representative organizations, Mindan or Chongryun, Fukuoka argues that in recent years Zainichi Koreans have increasingly left both organizations, sometimes in favor of new groupings that do not always reflect mainland Korean politics.[43]

 “在日同胞の生活を考える会” (Zainichi doho no seikatsu o kangaeru kai [The Group Caring for the Life of Zainichi Koreans], hereafter referred to as Kangaeru Kai) is a sociocultural movement and grassroots community focusing on the life of Zainichi Koreans. The Kangaeru Kai differs from the peninsula-oriented political ethnic groups Mindan and Chongryun, and pursues a better daily life for Zainichi Koreans.

In 1980, a memorial ceremony was held in Japan for the Gwangju Incident, a violent government repression of civilian demonstrations for Korea’s democratic reform in the southwestern city of Gwangju that yielded hundreds of casualties.[44] Zainichi Koreans, regardless of North or South Korean nationality, gathered together to express their respect for the victims. The gathering prompted some of the ceremony participants to think about what really matters for the life of Zainichi Koreans, which served as a momentum for the establishment of the Kangaeru Kai in 1983. On of these participants included Kim Gyu-Il, an ex-Chongryun member who used to actively advocate Zainichi repatriation to North Korea. However, when he heard that returned Zainichi Koreans were suffering in North Korea, he began to question Chongryun and was subsequently pushed out. Kim emphasized the life of the Zainichi themselves, and although Mr. Kim has passed away, there are people who continue to carry out his will. Though not large, it is a practical community trying to help Zainichi Koreans in their daily lives in aspects including employment, marriage, education, and social networking. The group often holds sessions to study the objective history of Zainichi Koreans, countering the ideological education of Chongryun. Recently, the group has been trying to publish a history book based on the Kim Gyu-Il’s view of history. This work has a significant meaning for the Zainichi Koreans.

This paper interviewed a number of Kangaeru Kai members to better understand the organization and their thoughts on Zainichi Koreans. While most would think Zainichi Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan and feel sorry about their situation, Chul-Hae Lee, a member of Kangaeru Kai, says that he has never met a Zainichi Korean who claims that his or her ancestors were brought to Japan by force. Instead, most of them came to Japan for work or better life. Just like how people today immigrate to developed countries for better working or living standards, Zainichi Koreans came to Japan for the same reasons. From this point of view, Zainichi Koreans are not victims but pioneers. Lee argues that the Korean diaspora has spread across the world, in China, Russia, the U.S. and so on. What is more, just as North Korea is ethnically Korean but has its own features, the Korean race has diversity in it, and Zainichi Koreans are the prime example of this diversity. They belong to the Korean race but at the same time are also Japanese citizens. Their existence is positive and future-oriented, and they deserve a better life in Japan.

The Kangaeru Kai members not only offer a new starting point for Zainichi identity but also highlight the importance of historical lessons. For instance, as Tessa Morris-Suzuki argues in her book “Exodus to North Korea Revisited,” they believe the repatriation of Zainichi Koreans to North Korea was a political consensus of the North Korea government and Japanese government.[45] What North Korea wanted was the labor force and technology that Zainichi would bring with them, while Japan was trying to eliminate an ethnic minority in Japan. Misled by political interests, most of Zainichi Koreans who returned to North Korea didn’t enjoy a better life. The case of returned Zainichi Koreans highlight the need for Zainichi Koreans to develop self-awareness and be responsible for themselves.

In sum, Kangaeru Kai is emphasizing the importance of the individual daily lives of each Zainichi Korean. It offers an alternative for the complicated identity of the whole Zainichi Korean community. Their viewpoint may become a major force in the Zainichi Korean community.


Marginalized in Japan and viewed as foreigners in Korea, Koreans in Japan have fragmented identities. Since the lives of Zainich Koreans vary according to their environments and experiences, it is difficult to categorize their identity as a singular, collective identity. Over time, with generational change and improvement of living conditions in Japan, Zainichi Koreans have endeavored for better lives in Japan. Regardless, discrimination still affects their daily lives both visibly and invisibly. Japan should pay attention to Zainichi Koreans, one of the largest ethnic group in Japan, for the purpose of promoting a more mature multicultural society. As for the Korean peninsula, Koreans, including the author himself, should strive to better understand their compatriots and their situation, as people sharing the same ethnic identity. Further research is needed to study the changes in the Zainichi Korean community and how the Zainichi are accepted in the Korean peninsula and Japanese society. However, what is most important is the well-being of Zainichi Koreans. The author sincerely hopes that Zainichi Korean will have confidence in themselves and live happy lives.


I would like to thank the following people for their assistance, comments, advice, inspiration and encouragement: Hirakawa Sachiko, Michael Cucek, Nakabayashi Mieko, Kim Young-Hua, Lee Chul-Hae and other members of 在日同胞の生活を考える会,, Choi Si-Young, and many others who helped me.


[1] David Chapman, Zainichi Korean Identity and Ethnicity (New York: Routledge, 2008), 2.

[2] Data from Japanese Ministry of Justice.

[3] Yasunori Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan (Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2000), 21.

[4] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, 284.

[5] Keizo Yamawaki 山脇啓造E, Kindainihon to gaikokujinrodosha 近代日本と外国人労働者 [The Modern Japan and Foreign Workers] (Tokyo: Akashi shoten, 1994).

[6] Morita Yoshio 森田芳夫, “Senzen ni okeru zainichi chosenjin no jinkotokei” 戦前における在日朝鮮人の人口統計 [Prewar Demography of Koreans in Japan], Chosen gakuho 朝鮮学報 48 (1968): 66. Quoted in Sonia Ryang, Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin (London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), PAGE NUMBER.

[7] Yun Jong-ok, Chosenjinjosei ga mita “ianfumondai” 朝鮮人女性が見た”慰安婦問題” [The “Comfort Women Issue” Seen by Korean Women] (Tokyo: Sainichi shobo, 1992). Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

[8] Morita Yoshio. 1996. Suji ga kataru zainichi kankokuchosenjin no rekishi 数字が語る在日韓国・朝鮮人の歴史 [The History of Resident Koreans Illustrated by Statistics] (Tokyo: Akashi shoten, 1996), 156-7. Quoted in Sonia Ryang, Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin (London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), PAGE NUMBER.

[9] Edward Wagner, The Korean Minority in Japan: 1904-1950 (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1951), 95.

[10] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, 10.

[11] Chikakao Kawashiwazaki, “The Politics of Legal status: The Equation of Nationality with Ethnonational Identity,” 2000, in Sonia Ryang, Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin (London: Routledge, 2005),

[12] Sonia Ryang, Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin (London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), 4.

[13] Lee ChangSoo, “The Legal Status of Koreans in Japan,” in Changsoo Lee and George De Vos (eds.), Koreans in Japan: Ethnic Conflict and Accommodation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), 144-5.

[14] Onuma Yasuaki, 1992. “Interplay Between Human Rights Activities and Legal Standards of Human Rights: A Case Study on the Korean Minority in Japan.” Cornell International Law Journal 25 (1992): 520-1.

[15] Ogawa Masaaki. “Zainichi gaikokujin no shakaihosho hoseijo no jokyo” 在日外国人の社会保障法制上の状況 [The Legal Status of Resident Aliens in the Social Security System], Horitsu jiho 法律時報 57, no. 5 (1985): 47.

[16] Ryang, Koreans in Japan, 53 note 10.

[17] North Korea New Year’s message, 2018

[18] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, PAGE NUMBER.

[19] Ryang, Koreans in Japan, 33.

[20] Ibid., 34.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Hiroyama Shibaaki. 1995. “Minsen no kaisen to chosensoren no keisei nitsuite” [Dissolution of Minjon and Emergence of Chongryun], Koan joho 22: 10. Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

[23] S. Nomura, Korian Sekai no Tabi コリアン世界の旅 [A Journey Round the Korean World] (Tokyo: Kodan-sha, 1996), quoted in Fukuoka Yasunori, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan (Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2000), ORIGINAL PAGE NUMBER.

[24] Lee Yu-hwan, Nihon no naka no sanjuhachidosen 日本の中の三十八度戦 [The thirty-eighth parallel in Japan] (Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 1980). Quoted in David Chapman: Zainichi korean identity and ethnicity (New York: Routledge, 2008), PAGE NUMBER; David Chapman, Zainichi Korean Identity and Ethnicity (New York: Routledge, 2008), 31.

[25] Ryang, Koreans in Japan, 36.

[26] Kyoto Shinbun 1994.

[27] During the 1970’s and 1980’s, a string of incidents occurred involving the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea. The Government of Japan has so far identified seventeen Japanese citizens as victims of North Korean abduction. In September 2002, North Korea admitted that it had abducted Japanese citizens and apologized, while promising to prevent any further recurrences. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

[28] Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary. Cambrige Dictionary Online. Accessed July 27, 2018.

[29] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, 43.

[30] Ibid., PAGE NUMBER.

[31] Eika Tai, “Between assimilation and transnationalism: the debate on nationality acquisition among Koreans in Japan,” Social Identities 15, no. 5 (2009): 6.

[32] George Ritzer, “Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology,” NAME OF WEBPAGE, DATE 2007, accessed January 28, 2018. LINK.

[33] Iinuma, Jiro, 21-86.

[34] Eika Tai, “Korean Japanese,” Critical Asian Studies 36, no. 3 (2004): 10.

[35] Fukuoka, Yasunori; Tsujiyama, Yukiko. “MINTOHREN: Young Koreans Against Ethnic Discrimination in Japan”. The Bulletin of Chiba College of Health Science 10, no.2 (1992): 147–62.

[36] Yang Tae-ho, 146-51; Kang Sang-jung, 174-80.

[37] Ibid., 11.

[38] Eika Tai, “Between assimilation and transnationalism,” 12.

[39] Chosen: It does not mean North Korean nationality. It is a categorical code and Chosen referred to the geographical region of the whole Korean peninsula (Nozaki, Inokuchi, &Kim, 2006), which existed before the division of North and South Korea. Some Zainichi Koreans maintain Chosen nationality for their hope of a unified Korea.

[40] Hirajiri Hideki, Zainichi Chōsenjin no Seikatsu Sekai (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1989). Quoted in Chung Ok-ja:  Ilbon han’in’ui yeoksa 일본 한인의 역사 [Korean Experience in Japan] (Gwacheon: National Institute of Korean History, 2010), PAGE NUMBER.

[41] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, PAGE NUMBER.

[42] Ryang, Koreans in Japan, PAGE NUMBER.

[43] Fukuoka, Lives of Young Koreans in Japan, PAGE NUMBER.

[44] For more information on the Gwangju Incident, please refer to Sallie Yea, “Rewriting Rebellion and Mapping Memory in South Korea: The (Re)presentation of the 1980 Kwangju Uprising through Mangwol-dong Cemetery,” Urban Studies 39, no. 9 (2002): 1551-72.

[45] Tessa Morris; Suzuki. 2011. “Exodus to North Korea Revisited: The Repatriation of Ethnic Koreans from Japan.” Korean Journal of Japanese Studies, no.4: 186-203.


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——————. Zainichi Kankoku-Chosenjin [Koreans in Japan]. Tokyo: Chuko Shinsho, 1993.

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Morita Yoshio. 1968. “Senzen ni okeru zainichi chosenjin no jinkotokei” (Prewar Demography of Koreans in Japan), Chosen gakuho 48: 63-77. Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Morita Yoshio. 1996. Suji ga kataru zainichi kankokuchosenjin no rekishi (The History of Resident Koreans Illustrated by Statistics), Tokyo: Akashi shoten. Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Yun Jong-ok. 1992. Chosenjinjosei ga mita “ianfumondai” (The “Comfort Women Issue” Seen by Korean Women), Tokyo: Sainichi shobo. Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Wagner, Edward. 1951. The Korean Minority in Japan: 1904-1950, New York: Institute of Pacific Relations.

Lee, ChangSoo.1981. “The Legal Status of Koreans in Japan,” in Changsoo Lee and George De Vos (eds) Koreans in Japan: Ethnic Conflict and Accommodation, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Chikakao Kawashiwazaki. 2000. “The politics of legal status: the equation of nationality with ethnonational identity” in Sonia Ryang Koreans in Japan: Critical voices from the Margin, London: Routledge.

Nomura, S. 1996. Korian Sekai no Tabi (A Journey Round the Korean World), Tokyo: Kodan-sha. Quoted in Fukuoka Yasunori: Lives of Young Koreans in Japan. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2000.

Hiroyama Shibaaki. 1995. “Minsen no kaisen to chosensoren no keisei nit suite” (Dissolution of Minjon and Emergence of Chongryun), Koan joho 22: 5-11. Quoted in Ryang, Sonia: Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London ; New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Lee, Yu-hwan. 1980. Nihon no naka no sanjuhachidosen (The thirty-eighth parallel in Japan), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. Quoted in Chapman, David: Zainichi korean identity and ethnicity. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Hirajiri Hideki. 1989. Zainichi Chōsenjin no Seikatsu Sekai. Tokyo: Kobundo. Quoted in Chung Ok-ja:  일본 한인의 역사 (Korean Experience in Japan), Gwacheon: National Institute of Korean History, 2010.

Ryang, Sonia. 2005. Koreans in Japan: critical voices from the margin, London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon.

Journal Articles:

Sallie Yea. 2002. “Rewriting Rebellion and Mapping Memory in South Korea: The (Re)presentation of the 1980 Kwangju Uprising through Mangwol-dong Cemetery”. Urban Studies 39, no. 9: 1551-72.

Eika Tai. 2004. “Korean Japanese.”, Critical Asian Studies 36, no.3: 355-82.

Eika Tai. 2009. “Between assimilation and transnationalism: the debate on nationality acquisition among Koreans in Japan.” Social Identities 15, no.5: 609-629.

Ogawa Masaaki. 1985. “Zainichi gaikokujin no shakaihosho hoseijo no jokyo.” (The Legal Status of Resident Aliens in the Social Security System) Horitsu jiho 57, no.5: 43-55.

Onuma Yasuaki. 1992. “Interplay Between Human Rights Activities and Legal Standards of Human Rights: A Case Study on the Korean Minority in Japan.” Cornell International Law Journal 25: 515-33.

Kyungsik Suh. 2010. “‘Zainichi’ Who? – The Other Who Cannot Move across Borders.” Trans-Humanities 2, no.1: 129-151.

LEE Hong-jang. 2016. “Towards a New Perspective on Zainichi Korean Identity: A Discursive Analysis on the Historicity of Daburu (Doubles)”. Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies 2, no.1: 57-80.

Chee Choung-Il. 1982. “Japan’s Post-war Mass Denationalization of Korean Minority in

International Law.” The Korean Journal of International Law 27, no.1: 333-364.

Tessa Morris; Suzuki. 2011. “Exodus to North Korea Revisited: The Repatriation of Ethnic Koreans from Japan.” Korean Journal of Japanese Studies, no.4: 186-203.

Fukuoka, Yasunori; Tsujiyama, Yukiko. 1992. Translated by John G. Russell. “MINTOHREN: Young Koreans Against Ethnic Discrimination in Japan”. The Bulletin of Chiba College of Health Science 10, no.2: 147–62.O

在日同胞の生活を考える会. 2017. Interview by author. Tokyo. December 16.

2018. Interview by author. Tokyo. January 20.

Choi Si-Young. 2017. Interview by author. December 20.

在日同胞の生活を考える会. Official website. Accessed January 31, 2018.  

Japanese Ministry of Justice. Accessed December 2, 2017.

The History Museum of J-Koreans. Visited November 17, 2017; December 22, 2017; January 20, 2018. Official website. Accessed January 31, 2018.

Yang Tae-ho. “Jijitsu toshite no ‘zainichi’” (Zainichi as a fact). Kikan sanzenri, August 1985, 146-51. Kang Sang-jung. “Hoho toshite no ‘zainichi’” (Zaincihi as a method). Kikan sanzenri, November 1985, 174-80.

George Ritzer. 2007. “Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology” Accessed by January 28, 2018.

Kim Dong-myung, interviewed by Iinuma Jiro, “Zainichi Chosenjin no ‘dai san no michi,’” Chosenjin 17, August 1979, reprinted in Iinuma Jiro, Zainichi Kankoku-Chosenjin [Resident Koreans in Japan] (Osaka: Kaifþsha, 1988), 21-86. Iinuma published Chosenjin for Japan-born Koreans to express their opinions freely without pressures from first-generation Koreans.