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Diaspora without Homeland

Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Diaspora without Homeland
    Book Description:

    More than one-half million people of Korean descent reside in Japan today—the largest ethnic minority in a country often assumed to be homogeneous. This timely, interdisciplinary volume blends original empirical research with the vibrant field of diaspora studies to understand the complicated history, identity, and status of the Korean minority in Japan. An international group of scholars explores commonalities and contradictions in the Korean diasporic experience, touching on such issues as citizenship and belonging, the personal and the political, and homeland and hostland.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-91619-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Between the Nations: Diaspora and Koreans in Japan
    (pp. 1-20)
    Sonia Ryang

    How many Koreans are there in the world today? Answering this question would appear to be a relatively simple endeavor, considering that Korea is a small nation. Yet it quickly becomes complicated, involving the calculus not only of demography but of political allegiance, social affiliation, and cultural identity. Divided among North and South, the population of the Koreas today amounts to seventy-two million, or so the readily available statistics say. However, millions more Koreans live outside the Korean peninsula. According to one set of data, as of 1995 there were 4,938,345 Koreans residing permanently overseas, with 1,661,034 in the United...

  4. 1. Occupations of Korea and Japan and the Origins of the Korean Diaspora in Japan
    (pp. 21-38)
    Mark E. Caprio and Yu Jia

    The announcement on August 15, 1945, by the Japanese emperor declaring Japan’s intention to accept the Allied forces’ terms of unconditional surrender sent Koreans throughout the empire into the streets in celebration. For the first time in decades they could freely associate with their fellow countrymen, communicate in their language, and wave their national flag [taegeukgi] as Koreans without fear of punishment.¹ The United States estimated that three to four million Koreans resided overseas at this time. Korean communities could be found throughout the eastern part of the Asian continent (including the Russian Far East), as well as in other...

  5. 2. Freedom and Homecoming: Narratives of Migration in the Repatriation of Zainichi Koreans to North Korea
    (pp. 39-61)
    Tessa Morris-Suzuki

    In the nonfiction essay that concludesWar and Peace, Leo Tolstoy wrestled with a problem that haunts all history writing. When we look at the “infinitesimal” histories of individual lives, each person appears as a free human being, determining the course of his or her actions. But when we look at the “ocean of history,” with its vast movements of peoples, revolutions and wars, each person seems caught up in a tide of events beyond individual control (Tolstoy 1978: 1339).

    This age-old conundrum of freedom versus determinism lies at the core of many historical and political narratives, but nowhere is...

  6. 3. Visible and Vulnerable: The Predicament of Koreans in Japan
    (pp. 62-80)
    Sonia Ryang

    Whereas the national security keyword in the United States since 2001 has been “9/11,” in Japan it is “9/17.” On September 17, 2002, the Japanese media reported that North Korea had abducted Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s. With sensational and sentimental language, reporters relayed the shocking news that North Korean secret agents penetrated Japan’s coastal prefectures and kidnapped a total of thirteen Japanese citizens, and then put them to various tasks including tutoring North Korean spies in Japanese. The victims of these bizarre crimes apparently were chosen at random, and many points, including the getaway route and other...

  7. 4. Reinventing Korean Roots and Zainichi Routes: The Invisible Diaspora among Naturalized Japanese of Korean Descent
    (pp. 81-106)
    Youngmi Lim

    Responding to my e-mail thanking her for an interview, Mika,¹ a fourth-generation self-identified “ex-zainichi” [moto zainichi], a naturalized Japanese of colonial Korean descent,² wrote:

    On my way home, on the train, I realized one thing that I could not instantly come up with an answer to; you asked me when or on what occasions I would feel I am a Japanese. Now I know what it is. When I run into ultra-thickzainichi[monosugoku koi, baribari no zainichi] such as the outspoken people on the mailing list,³ I truly feel I am nothing more than Japanese.

    Mika realizes her Japaneseness...

  8. 5. Pacchigi! and Go: Representing Zainichi in Recent Cinema
    (pp. 107-120)
    Ichiro Kuraishi

    The highly regarded Japanese cinema magazineKinemajunpō(Movie Times) named as its 2005 film of the yearPacchigi!(Head-butt), a film about love and friendship between ethnic Japanese andzainichiyouth.¹ The magazine’s decision came as a surprise: in 2001 the same prize had been awarded to the similarly themedGo, making it the second time in only four years that azainichimovie had won.²

    On the one hand, the recent attention given tozainichiyouth films is a welcome turn in Japan’s film industry in that it signals, finally, acceptance of the representation ofzainichibyzainichiin...

  9. 6. The Foreigner Category for Koreans in Japan: Opportunities and Constraints
    (pp. 121-146)
    Chikako Kashiwazaki

    The termforeignerin general signifies the status of an outsider, and is therefore likely to be employed by the dominant group in society to exclude such persons. In today’s Japan, however, there are a number of instances in which the wordforeigner[gaikokujin] is being used as a positive categorical term.

    Gaikokujin mo jūmin desu(Foreigners are residents, too)

    Gaikokujin tono kyōsei(Living together with foreigners)

    Gaikokujin ga kurashiyasui shakai wa nihonjin nimo kurashiyasui(A society that is comfortable for foreigners to live is also comfortable for the Japanese.)¹

    Teijū gaikokujin no chihō sanseiken(Local electoral rights for resident...

  10. 7. The Politics of Contingent Citizenship: Korean Political Engagement in Japan and the United States
    (pp. 147-167)
    Erin Aeran Chung

    Despite similarities in time period, country of origin, and labor composition, Korean migration to Japan and the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present has produced strikingly different communities. The current Korean resident population in Japan numbers a little under 600,000 and constitutes the oldest foreign resident community in Japan, with mass settlement beginning during Japan’s colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Spanning four generations, this community shows few signs of maintaining a strong Korean sociocultural identity through the traditional indicators of language, education, and marriage. For example, intermarriages between Koreans and Japanese now constitute over...

  11. 8. The End of the Road? The Post-Zainichi Generation
    (pp. 168-180)
    John Lie

    In the early years of the twenty-first century, South Korean stars illuminated television screens in many Japanese households. Fanatical fans flocked to the location of a popular South Korean soap opera,Fuyu no sonata(Winter Sonata). Less ambitiously, they snapped up expensive photo books of its lead actor. Enthusiasm for South Korean popular culture—variously known as Kanryu, Hanryu, or K-pop—was powerful enough to elicit a countervailing movement, Ken-Kanryu (anti-Korean wave). At the same time, North Korea remained a major external threat. In particular, the fate of Japanese women kidnapped in the early 1970s and the present danger of...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 181-198)
  13. References
    (pp. 199-218)
  14. Contributors
    (pp. 219-220)
  15. Index
    (pp. 221-229)