Changing our thinking about identity

Zainichi Koreans had been discriminated against. The first or second generations of them really know the hardness of living as Zainich in Japan. On the other hand, the third and fourth generation of them have grown in Japan same as other Japanese. They also have been suffered from discrimination, but their problems are related to identity rather than discrimination. They would think and think again about their identity: “Am not I Japanese? Am I Korean?” I think there are some hints in plural society, the US.

“Cultural Pluralism” is one of the thought that deal with plural society. It said that ethnicities are always being re-made. Ethnicities are not fixed, but they keep changing. Glazer and Moynihan said in ‘Beyond the Melting Pot’, that Ethnicities “are continually recreated by new experiences in America”. They meant Irish American are not same as Irish in Ireland. In the light of these, I would say Zainichi Koreans are neither Japanese nor Korean; they are “Zainichi Koreans”. They are different from Korean in Korea because they did not grow up in Korea with Korean culture. They grew up in Japan same as Japanese, but they are quite different from other Japanese because their background is in Korea. If they really want to be Japanese and cannot, it would be bad for them and really unfair. However, at the same time, they do not have to be Japanese. They can be different and claim their right and identity. Who have to change their way to think is rest of Japanese. They need to accept diversity in Japan.

by Nana Uno

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