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Korean diaspora : comparing the Chosunjok and Zainichi Koreans on their political statuses in China and Japan Shim, Suhan


Many Koreans were forced to relocate to China and Japan, an involuntary diaspora, in response to the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910. With the liberation of the Korean peninsula, the Japanese government sought to repatriate the Koreans to their homeland, a largely successful effort. With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, however, the Korean diasporic communities in Japan and China were forced to remain in their adopted nations, eventually forming one of the oldest Korean diasporic communities around the world. In this paper, I will discuss the involuntary Korean diaspora during the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, distinguishing the Chosunjok in China and the Zainichi Koreans in Japan from other Korean diasporic communities around the world that have resulted from voluntary migrations. I will proceed to compare and contrast China and Japan’s post-war policies towards the Chosunjok and the Zainichi Koreans, respectively, focusing the differences between China and Japan’s citizenship and cultural/linguistic policies towards the Korean migrants, differences that resulted from disparities in territorial sizes and political systems. China, as a means to unify the country as a multi-ethnic state, established generous policies for ethnic minorities, whereas Japan maintained a restrictive policy towards Koreans, regarding them as alien residents as opposed to citizens. I will conclude the paper by exploring how the differing citizenship and cultural linguistic policies impacted the Chosunjok and Zainichi Koreans’ political status in respective countries.

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