By Sonia Ryang, John Lie
Greater than one-half million humans of Korean descent dwell in Japan today--the biggest ethnic minority in a rustic usually assumed to be homogeneous. This well timed, interdisciplinary quantity blends unique empirical study with the colourful box of diaspora stories to appreciate the complex background, identification, and standing of the Korean minority in Japan. a global team of students explores commonalities and contradictions within the Korean diasporic adventure, concerning such concerns as citizenship and belonging, the private and the political, and place of origin and hostland.
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Extra resources for Diaspora without Homeland: Being Korean in Japan (Global, Area, and International Archive)
To historians, this distinction is often superimposed on the division between “free labor” and “slavery”—a topic about which there has been long and heated controversy. There is widespread acknowledgment that most migrations throughout history have been “forced at some level” by social or ecological pressures. Yet many scholars still accept Theodore Schultz’s insistence that it is useful to differentiate between “those compelled to migrate against their own perceived self-interest” (for example, victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade) and “those who are able to exercise choice over the decision” (quoted in Eltis 2002: 5–6).
The exception was the Japan-based Korean. While most Koreans would accept them, he felt that they should not be offered positions of high responsibility (Yi 1992: 316). Loyalty was also central to Kim Chengnei’s distinction (which we have already mentioned) between educated and less-educated Koreans repatriated from Japan. ” Educated Koreans, by contrast, were not so likely to be inculcated and thus would be less pro-Japanese. He also cited individuals’ activities in Japan as an important determinant of how they would be received upon their return.
The August 16, 1948, “Staff Study Concerning Koreans in Japan” claimed that these Koreans served as “the link between Japanese communists and those of the continent of Asia—Korean, Chinese, and Russian” (United States Department of State Diplomatic Section GHQ SCAP 1948). Beginning in 1948, the administration of Syngman Rhee in the newly formed Republic of Korea (ROK) instituted staunchly anticommunist policies that essentially prohibited repatriation for most Japan-based Koreans suspected of having joined left-wing organizations.