Discrimination Against Zainichi Korea

1636 Words7 Pages
An outsider in their own homes: Discrimination against Zainichi Koreans in Modern Japan Today, Japan has almost one million ethnic Korean residents and a majority of them are referred to as “Zainichi-kankaku” or simply “Zainichi,” meaning foreign national residing in Japan. Being forced to live in Japan when Korea was under the Japanese colonial rule, there are large communities of Zainichi spread all over Japan today. However, due to a long and problematic history between Japan and Korea, there is much prejudice and discrimination towards Korean residents in everyday Japanese society. They are kept from completely integrating into Japanese society because of the social stigma and hurdles imposed by Japan. In order to avoid discrimination,…show more content…
It was not until 1991 that the Japanese government established a special permanent residency system for individuals born in former Japanese colonies and their descendants (LAZAK, 5). These special permanent residents, however, still experience social discrimination simply on grounds that some citizens don’t consider the Zainichi to be as Japanese as they are. Principles set by the government further encourage discrimination based on nationality and ethnicity among the Japanese population. In 2010, the Japanese government introduced a tuition fee waiver program for high schools in Japan but decided to exclude Korean high schools which most of the children of Korean residents attend (McCurry). The government’s decision to create such a divide only helps to define a sense of division between the Japanese and Zainichi. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of anti-Korean groups in recent years. One such group who calls themselves the “Zaitokukai” regularly holds demonstrations seeking to eliminate privileges held by Zainichi Koreans referring to them as “cockroaches” who consume the benefits of Japanese society in a parasitic way (Ghosh). Zaitokukai even resorted to committing hate crimes when members of the group harassed Korean students at a Korean School in Kyoto (Ota). The Economist reported that a…show more content…
With the upcoming Olympics set to be held in Tokyo in 2020, the country has taken such measures as promoting tourism in order to boost its economy. Funds have even been created by the government to promote the uniqueness of its culture abroad in an attempt to entice foreigners into visiting Japan. The country has even gone so far as to alter its educational curriculum from preschool through high school in an attempt to promote its students to learn foreign languages. The goal of such alterations is for Japanese citizens to have a better grasp and understanding of English by 2020. Despite the fact that Japan is making big changes in its image to seem more foreigner-friendly, the country has yet to address the serious problems of racism that already exist and are still a prevalent part of society. While Japan seems to want to change as a country, the task of changing the mindset of individual citizens may be, by far, a more daunting and potentially impossible task. After years of being indoctrinated into a country characterized by pride and a culture in which racism can be justified, the perceived threat of the Zainichi and the racism they endure may prove to be a problem not just for the Zainichi. If Japan perpetuates and strains tensions among the countries that surround it, Japan could find itself in a social and political crisis. While it seems unlikely in

    More about Discrimination Against Zainichi Korea

      Open Document