Thursday, August 26, 2010

101 East and the Korean Zainichi

Al Jazeera English's 101 East did a program last week on the Zainichi.  They are ethnic Koreans living in Japan who remain loyal to North Korea.

Their numbers are somewhere in the 600,000 range and they are mostly concentrated in the urban areas of Tokyo and Osaka.  More than one hundred years ago colonial Japan annexed the Korean peninsula.  Then, for more than fifty years they kidnapped and enslaved Koreans and forced them to relocate to Japan.  The Zainichi are the decedents of these former forced laborers, many of whom are third or fourth generation.

The video starts out following the fame and popularity of North Korean World Cup Striker Jong Tae-Se.  He is a soccer star born and raised in Japan, drives a Hummer, and respects and remains loyal to the communist dictator, Kim Jong-Il.  The piece gives us an excellent glimpse at the contradictions and complexities that face ethnic Koreans living in Japan.  North Korea pumps millions of dollars and financial aid into their communities and schools.  In response to this, Zainichi children never learn about the state atrocities committed by the communist regime and regard North Korea as their spiritual homeland and a place to respect and admire.

Assimilation into Japanese society is also near impossible, as the decedents of the ethnic Koreans brought to Japan do not automatically obtain Japanese citizenship.  Japanese citizens also discriminate and resent the Zainichi because they fear that their tax dollars are either directly or indirectly supporting the communist regime that routinely threatens them and violates international law.

A fascinating watch:

1 comment:

teaching said...

The Chosun Ilbo posted an article this week boasting about how the number of people worldwide learning and studying Korean has been increasing. But of course the number of students worldwide studying Korean has dramatically increased over the last decade. The same has to be true for the rest of the world's top languages as computers and emerging media makes studying foreign languages easier, more affortable, and more practical.

In relation to this, you may want to visit our online English academy is bases in Cebu City, Philippines. It is an institution with competent, effective, and efficient ESL teachers well-equipped to provide easy and fun way of learning English at a minimum amount of time per session.

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