Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan (Global, by Sonia Ryang, John Lie

By Sonia Ryang, John Lie

Greater than one-half million humans of Korean descent live in Japan today--the greatest ethnic minority in a rustic frequently assumed to be homogeneous. This well timed, interdisciplinary quantity blends unique empirical learn with the colourful box of diaspora reports to appreciate the advanced heritage, identification, and standing of the Korean minority in Japan. a global workforce of students explores commonalities and contradictions within the Korean diasporic event, referring to such matters as citizenship and belonging, the private and the political, and native land and hostland.

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On the positive side, the report applauded Japan-based Koreans for their remittance of a “high percentage of earnings” to their families in Korea (United States Office of Strategic Services 1945: 7–15). The report noted recent trends that showed Korean residents opting for extended, if not permanent, stays in Japan. This was evidenced by increases in Korean families (as opposed to individuals) in Japanese-Korean marriages, and in Korean births in Japan. More Koreans in Japan now realized the importance of acquiring Japanese language proficiency to escape from economic hardship.

They told him that he was not, as he had always naturally and unthinkingly assumed, Japanese but Korean; and his real name was not Rika Hiroshi but Yi Yang-Su. “I felt,” he says, “as though my whole being had been negated. I didn’t speak Korean. I’d never been to Korea. ”5 Yi Yang-Su’s father had come to Japan with his family as a small child in the 1920s. He had an enthusiasm for learning, had taught himself to write poetry, and held a job in the local government of the town of Toyohashi Freedom and Homecoming / 45 when he met and married Miyo, a Japanese woman from the same town.

In adulthood, Yi became a passionate campaigner for the rights of zain- 46 / Tessa Morris-Suzuki ichi Koreans and a harsh critic of Chongryun. In the 1980s, he took part in the campaign to resist the fingerprinting of foreigners by the Japanese government, became Secretary General of the Society to Help Returnees to North Korea, and participated in the founding of the North Korean Refugee Relief Fund. He is deeply critical of the fact that many Chongryun leaders encouraged others to go to North Korea while remaining in Japan themselves, and he has worked to highlight the plight of the large but unknown number of returnees who fell victim to political purges, particularly in the 1970s, disappearing into North Korean labor camps from which many never returned.

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