Why we do not learn much about Zainichi Koreans at school?

Sae Tamagawa

Japan annexed and colonized Korea in 1910. After that, a lot of Korean people were forcefully brought to Japan as labors from the Korean Peninsula. Japan made Korean people change their nationality to Japanese one, and they were even forced to change their name.

Japan made use of Korean people during the war; however, on losing the war, Japan took their Japanese nationality and forced them to go back to their country. What is worse, their country also tended not to accept them, so they confused where to go. I do not know whether Japanese government regarded as they are disposable, but they are not a robot, they are human like us. Nevertheless Japan changed Zainichi Korean’s life completely, and hurt them, Japan force them to go back after the thing went. Moreover, Zainichi Korean were ousted their franchise. As for franchise, there is no progress until now and not only Zainichi but also foreigner living in Japan do not have right to vote in Japan. Japan ignored Korean people’s human right completely, but Zainichi Korean did not just passively observe.

In April 1948, Monbu-sho decided to close school for North-Korean, and Zainichi Korean resisted fiercely against it. A lot of Zainichi Korean who participated to the resistance were arrested, and surprisingly, 16-year-old boy was killed in Osaka. This incident is called “Hanshin Kyoiku Tousou”.

Furthermore, Zainichi Korean resisted to a lot of unfair system that Japanese government forced them to obey, and insisted their right. As a result, the situation became better and better step by step. For example, All the Zainichi Krean people had to register their finger print despite they do not commit a crime. In the late 1980’s, anti- fingerprint movement became hot, and it came up as a diplomatic problem. Zainichi Korean did not give up, and registration of finger-print was amended finally. They were struggling in order to survive in Japan.

As I wrote above, what Japan has done to Zainichi Korean was unbelievably irrational. However we did not learn much about them in school as if the government hides the fact. If I did not learn about them voluntarily, I might not know exactly who they are. I said the situation is getting better now, but still, there is discrimination against them. It might be difficult to teach it at school, but it has to be taught. Otherwise, young generation will not have proper knowledge, and they may just discriminate Zainichi Korean because other people do so.

3 thoughts on “Why we do not learn much about Zainichi Koreans at school?

  1. Quite an interesting post. As you have clearly mentioned, there are numerous incidents and issues about discrimination and inequality towards Zainichi Korean people.

    However, we do not actually know it. I, personally, do not have clear memory of learning this issue in my primary and secondary school. That might be because these issues are in the course of history studies.

    Especially about the incidents after the WWⅡ, I have not learnt that much deep. What I remember is just facts something happened and its year. Also this issue is presented as just one of many of historical incident in Japan.

    For most of students, even for me, it is never easy to see the pages of textbook with something sad and dark. Everybody says those issues are ‘kurai’ (=dark) or ‘omoi'(heavy), thus it does not remain our heads to have a consideration.
    Have you ever felt so while you were learning history in your school??

  2. Thank you for the comment.
    So do I. I also do not have clear memory of learning it. I took Japanese history class as a voluntary subject in high school, but it had rather focused on the primary stage of the history, so I did not learn about the issue.
    I have sometimes felt “kurai” or “omoi” when I learned the history; for example, military’s comfort woman’s issue. Despite it was a kind of “kurai” history, I remember clearly. It is a bit hard to think about these issue because it is “omoi” as you said. However it is also important to make take these kind of issue account.
    but really thank you for your interesting comment.

    Reference of my blog post above.
    http://www.l-o-a.net/history/zainichi.html (last access date: 2011/12/2)
    http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~mingakko/koen05424.htm(last access date: 2011/12/2)

  3. I have never heard the detail of those sad and miserable history of Zainichi during my junior and junior high school days. My teacher just taught us that there were bad images toward Zainichi and Buraku people and that was why they has been discriminated. I don’t know how much degree we need to know about those people and their history, but I cannot help but doubt that education committee and prefectural government intentionally decided not to teach those to us.
    But, in a book about Buraku people, one old woman who lived in Buraku area said that she didn’t want to talk how much terrible live she had spent. Then I wondered how we need to treat them. As a second step, what can, or should, we do to them, without treating as a pitiful people?

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