Contradiction of Japanese Society Regarding Zainichi Koreans

Kyoto is one of the prefectures which hold some areas where Zainichi Koreans live densely such as Yamashina area and Utoro area in Uji City. In this post, I would like to make the definition of “Zainichi Korean” clear and introduce the situations of Zainichi Koreans in Kyoto. As a conclusion I would like to discuss about the contradiction within Japanese society towards Zainichi Koreans.

The narrowest definition of “Zainichi Korean” is “Koreans remained in Japan with Korean nationality after WWII, including their descendants”. When complied with this definition, the population of Zainichi Korean in Japan overall reached 650,000 (excluding those became naturalized as Japanese citizen). If those who naturalized were included, the population could be predicted to be over 2,000,000.

As a situation of Zainichi Korean in Kyoto, let me pay my attention to the problem that Zainichi Koreans face in applying to university. There are 150 ethnic schools in Japan, including some in Kyoto just like the one showed up in the film “Pacchigi!”. If a Zainichi Korean wanted to apply to Kyoto University for example, he/she would have a difficult time in order to do so. Because the Ministry of Education excludes Zainichi Koreans from the qualification of examination, Zainichi Koreans must take extra work, such as going to correspondence school and writing numerous essays just to be allowed to apply to Japanese university. Moreover, since ethnic schools are not approved by the government as a legitimate school, they must pay extra fees compared to regular Japanese students.

Don’t you see a contradiction of this situation with another stream within Japanese society, “Hanryu Boom”? On one side Japanese prefer Korean culture while they try to exclude Zainichi Koreans out of the society at the same time. In my opinion, this contradictory situation indicates the gap of consciousness between the Japanese and the Japanese government. Therefore, Japanese government is trying to exclude and foreclose Zainichi Korean, or even any other foreigners, while Japanese people are accepting the situation.

by Minami Hosokawa 

2 thoughts on “Contradiction of Japanese Society Regarding Zainichi Koreans

  1. References
    ・外務省ホームページ (last accessed: 2011/12/11)
    ・京都における韓国・朝鮮人の形成史 (last accessed:2011/12/10)

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