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Japan's ethnic Koreans loyal to Pyongyang look to summit to bring peace, boost status

40 Comments
By Kwiyeon Ha

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If they are so loyal to Pyongyang, why not move there and then you can see how great you have it here.

16 ( +30 / -14 )

The numbers are lower than in other articles which have stated 150,000 North Korean with 80 schools.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

those kids were born of grandparents abducted to Japan as slave laborers, they didn't decide to be born here, a fact of history that Japan chooses to ignore.

-11 ( +12 / -23 )

Yuko Maeda: "If they are so loyal to Pyongyang, why not move there and then you can see how great you have it here."

Because then there would be nothing but intolerant bigots left here to fight amongst themselves. What would you guys do if you didn't have ethnic minorities to drive around and threaten or act superior to? They don't "have it so much better" when they constantly have to be reminded of it and looked down on all the same, same there is no such thing as "omotenashi" when you want a pat on the back and demand recognition for it. Japan is a better place FOR the increasing mix of people.

Now, that said, I can understand wanting to keep your nationality and definitely understanding spreading culture -- something all Japanese enjoy doing through travel and exports, as well as teaching, and especially with the "what do you think of us" campaigns and questionnaires -- but I don't really understand the extreme commitment to a dictatorship. I do think it has got to be better here, aside from when posters demand you leave if you don't say anything but nice stuff, and I can understand wanting to help people back in NK as well, but not the loyalty.

-11 ( +13 / -24 )

same as all the offspring of native Africans abducted as slaves to the USA. I remember demonstrations where whites would yell 'Go back to Africa where you belong' but those Black Americans had never even been to Africa. Same thing with born in Japan zainichi Koreans.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

If they are so loyal to Pyongyang, why not move there and then you can see how great you have it here.

Nothing wrong with loyalty to where your origins are, that's down to the individual.

There's people here loyal to the US, UK, France, Germany, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, the Philippines, China, Australia and so on.

If people want to celebrate their culture, be it St Patrick's Day, Eid, Christmas or the 4th of July - what's the issue?

I've been to Japanese celebrations in other countries, where nikkei, issei, nisei, sansei and so on can flout their culture and live there.

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

Some 90,000 in fact opted to leave for North Korea between 1959 and 1984, lured by the slogan "Let's go back to the fatherland!" Those numbers plunged in the 1980s as tales of the North's poverty spread.

So much for loyalty... Just go to South Korea, it's better.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

"Japan is a better place FOR the increasing mix of people."

Really? Give me an example. The way Europe is better with the mix of people? Kumbaya my lord. Kumbaya my lord. Take a look at Europe and America. WHAT A JOKE . People in Europe and America living in harmony? LOL KUMBAYA!

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

By the way, North Korean has fired missiles at Japan and kidnapped Japanese Children. Yet, the Koreans in Japan remain loyal to the government of North Korea? Could you imagine, if Muslims in the west were loyal to Islamic state or Al-Qaeda. Carrying around pictures of Osama Bin Landin? Please!

15 ( +27 / -12 )

I ain't got no quarrel with them North Koreans.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

same as all the offspring of native Africans abducted as slaves to the USA (...) Same thing with born in Japan zainichi Koreans.

Not quite the same imo. The vast majority of African-Americans no longer feel any strong ties with Africa and certainly do not 'feel' African. They aren't involved in African politics nor attend African schools. Different story for zainichi who still feel Korean, attend Korean schools etc (nothing wrong with that btw)

21 ( +22 / -1 )

"who deserve consideration as to the only home they've ever known"

Really? This what Kim Song Gi, a north Korean soccer player who was born in Japan and played for the North Korean team said, “I’ve never thought of taking Japanese citizenship,” said Kim. “My soul is 100 percent North Korean.”

OK his soul is 100% but he wants to live in Japan? If his soul is 100 % North Korean why doesnt he move to North Korea? Why did he choose to play for North Korea and not for the "only home he has ever known-Japan"?

17 ( +22 / -5 )

If North Korea opens up a bit and their ports will welcome Japanese ships, Japan ought to start a one-way ferry service for people who live in Japan but are loyal to Pyongyang. I'm sure half of them are on welfare anyway, why should a Japanese taxpayer have to bust his buns at work all day to support some idiot who pledges allegiance to a regime that wants his country wiped off the map?

9 ( +13 / -4 )

But a smaller community of about 30,000 have remained loyal to Pyongyang

Should have been deported a long, long time ago.

Nothing wrong with loyalty to where your origins are, that's down to the individual.

Not if your a permanent resident or citizen of your adopted country. Why be a citizen of that country at all?

Go home.

I've been to Japanese celebrations in other countries, where nikkei, issei, nisei, sansei and so on can flout their culture and live there

Clearly not the same thing.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

"What would you guys do if you didn't have ethnic minorities(in Japan)"

They are not minorities of the ethnic sense, like the title states the are loyal to an authoritarian regime that was not even in existence when their parents/grand parents came to Japan might I add.

Basically they have been programmed to be loyal after the war by someone not of the JP government.

Why in the world should Japan/Japanese needs to serve them?

They are free to leave anytime they want.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Take a look at Europe and America. 

Yes, let's do. I just returned from my son's graduation from a university in New York (he was born and raised in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father), and he offered an incisive remark: that the multitude of races and cultures in America coexist remarkably well but don't always intermingle. While true to some extent, I was impressed with the extent that intermingling had progressed from the time of my childhood. Realistically, if Homo sapiens are to survive as a species, there is no other choice. Time and effort are required, and the progress America and Europe have made, as notable as it is, will a hundred years from now seem like baby steps; after all, a hundred years ago, such nationalities such as the Irish and Italians faced discrimination in America unimaginable today. From my perspective, Japan's attitude towards race is similar to America's back in the 1960s. Still, progress is underway, as frustratingly slow as it may be.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When a real peace comes, I hope those guys of ethnic Koreans in Japan loyal to Pyongyang meet their relatives in NK to show how Japan is a better country to follow and learn many thing for better future of their country, beyond any political ideology or stand against that past Imperial Japan 'til ww2, nothing of that kind walking down the streets of Shinjuku. And never to join the South Korean anti-Japan movements. The better vision for tomorrow will be much better than confrontations digging the past.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The fact that these hard lined pro NK schools and organizations are allowed to operate in Jaoan is something else. These groups that toe the NK party line, a country that has demonized Japan for many decades, and launched missiles towards them. For some of you folks that need help comprehending this outside of your narrow anti-Japanese lens, it would be similar to groups and schools in your country that preaches hatred of your country and sends money and support back to the motherland.

Keep this is in mind next time you read of hate crimes against ethnic Koreans in Japan. Obviously I don't condone such racism, but at the same time realize that some of these incidents are a reaction to the constant anti-Japanese hatred engaged in by both Koreas. After all if Japanese citizens in Korea were subject to racism by Koreans you'd think it justified correct?

9 ( +12 / -3 )

those kids were born of grandparents abducted to Japan as slave laborers,

That's how they were told in Korean schools but in fact no individual ever testified as such.   Koreans in Japan hear from their parents that they came to Japan for better jobs.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Saying that all ethnic Koreans living in Japan today are the direct descendants of those brought to Japan as forced laborers, is like saying all black people in America are the direct descendants of slaves from Africa. Highly inaccurate and oversimplification of the situation.

Certainly many Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan during the colonial and war period, but many Koreans voluntarily moved to Japan for better economic and educational opportunities. And after the war, while many Koreans moved back to both Koreas, others voluntarily stayed behind. Not to mention those who emigrated to Japan in the subsequent decades after WW2.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

There's a huge difference in being proud of your heritage and being loyal to a country that wants to destroy the one you currently live in. It's like being proud of your Afghan heritage or being loyal to ISIS.

Like the article stated, the only reason most of them don't go back is because they heard how bad it sucked from the ones who already did.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

There's a huge difference in being proud of your heritage and being loyal to a country that wants to destroy the one you currently live in. It's like being proud of your Afghan heritage or being loyal to ISIS.

Like the article stated, the only reason most of them don't go back is because they heard how bad it sucked from the ones who already did.

I can't plus you enough extanker. This in a nutshell explains it all.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@oldman_13

Not to mention those who emigrated to Japan in the subsequent decades after WW2.

And those people don't have the special green cards that make them deportation-proof even for murder. Only the descendants of those who were present in Japan prior to Japan's surrender are granted this deportation-proof special green cards, in place of the Japanese citizenships that they were stripped of.

@extanker

the only reason most of them don't go back

Going back is hard for established populations, since they already have properties and businesses in Japan. For those who did, they took their Japanese wives, some 3,000 of them, with them and Japanese governments were fine with 3,000 Japanese women and their uncounted number of children moving to North Korea all because of Japanese government's hatred of Koreans.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@samit basu

Directly from the article:

Some 90,000 in fact opted to leave for North Korea between 1959 and 1984, lured by the slogan "Let's go back to the fatherland!" Those numbers plunged in the 1980s as tales of the North's poverty spread.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It's really pathetic that Japan has still not resolved its issues from its atrocities from the 20th century. Japan conscripted 5.4 million Korean into forced labor on top of the brutal oppression and resource drain. This is the sole reason why Korean make up the largest ethnic minority group in Japan. If you're wondering why these battered people are loyal to North Korea, it's because they were starving and oppressed in post WWII Japan and North Korea was the only country to offer aid and assistance to ethnic Korean minority in Japan. South Korea was in shambles politically and ethnically following the Korean War. North Korea was doing much better economically than China or South Korea due to aid and assistance from the Soviet Union. They sent money offered governmental assistance fo repatriation. As a side note, where is "Korea University" being mentioned in the article. Korea University is in Seoul.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

As a side note, where is "Korea University" being mentioned in the article. Korea University is in Seoul.

There's a 'Korea University" in Seoul, but there's also one in Tokyo. I'm pretty sure they are completely unrelated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_University_(Japan)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In years to come, the children in the photograph could become a great asset to Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There's a 'Korea University" in Seoul, but there's also one in Tokyo. I'm pretty sure they are completely unrelated.

There is a Japanese school in many cities of the world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is a Japanese school in many cities of the world.

They are both actually named 'Korea University'. The one in Seoul is considered a top prestigious private university. The one in Tokyo is loyal to, and funded by, Pyongyang, so probably not quite so prestigious.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

https://www.history.com/news/japan-colonization-korea

Nearly 725,000 Korean workers were made to work in Japan and its other colonies, and as World War II loomed, Japan forced hundreds of thousands of Korean women into life as “comfort women”—sexual slaves who served in military brothels.

At least 84 percent of all Koreans took on the names, since people who lacked Japanese names were not recognized by the colonial bureaucracy and were shut out of everything from mail delivery to ration cards. “The whole point was for the government to be able to say that the people had changed their names ‘voluntarily’,” writes historian Hildi Kang.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

"Nearly 725,000 Korean workers were made to work in Japan and its other colonies, and as World War II loomed, Japan forced hundreds of thousands of Korean women into life as “comfort women”—sexual slaves who served in military brothels.

At least 84 percent of all Koreans took on the names, since people who lacked Japanese names were not recognized by the colonial bureaucracy and were shut out of everything from mail delivery to ration cards. “The whole point was for the government to be able to say that the people had changed their names ‘voluntarily’,” writes historian Hildi Kang."

That might all be true. However, that was in 1945.

We're in 2018 if memory doesn't betray me. If they'd rather hang on to the past they might as well go worship Korea over there.

Japan is certainly not begging them to stay.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Certainly many Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan during the colonial and war period, but many Koreans voluntarily moved to Japan for better economic and educational opportunities. And after the war, while many Koreans moved back to both Koreas, others voluntarily stayed behind. Not to mention those who emigrated to Japan in the subsequent decades after WW2.

One just can not use this argument with some Japanese, to explain the situation. As accurate as it may be, this is the same argument used with regards to the sex-slaves issue too. It's all or nothing, and it's the few that came on their own, that are used to justify the entire situation.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

With a reported 13000 Koreans visa overstayers/illegal residents in Japan it must be better ther than at home. Or do some people maintain that they are being kept against their will?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

References to African slaves in the USA---Liberia was set up as a home for freed slaves and their dependants but not many took up the offer. Despite untold amounts of money flowing into the country from FOC ship registrations the place is still an economic and social mess. Despite the racial problems in the USA today surely most African Americans would rather stay in the USA.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There's a huge difference in being proud of your heritage and being loyal to a country that wants to destroy the one you currently live in. It's like being proud of your Afghan heritage or being loyal to ISIS.

There are plenty of Americans here who are proud of their heritage and don't want to see their country threatening, bombing and killing others.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Laguna - You make a very good point in your post about the "tribal nature" of human beings. I am really glad you brought this up and your son is very insightful.

I would like to share a similar experience. When my kids were in a fairly large international school in Japan it was interesting to watch. The school really pushed the fact that the environment was multi-cultural and international, which it truly was. The kids gained alot from this experience.

We would have dinners or fund raisers during the school year for the school where most of the school staff and parents would attend. I noticed during these dinners that the Japanese parents would sit together, the Korean parents would sit together, the Chinese parents would sit together, for the most part the American and Canadian parents would sit together and the Europeans would sit together, or mix with the North Americans. There were several black families from the U.S. at the school and they would all sit together.

The tribal nature of human beings is difficult to overcome. Of course in the ideal and perfect world people would ignore these differences, however this is so much easier said than done.

Unfortunately there are those that attain power who try to use this very human trait to their advantage. Perhaps this is what is happening with those who support the North Korean regime in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting that North Korean regime schools would be allowed in Japan when they would never be allowed in South Korea.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Interesting that North Korean regime schools would be allowed in Japan when they would never be allowed in South Korea.

Interesting in what way? In that Japan is less authoritarian than South Korea in this case? Is that it?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"But it now feels so much closer," said Paeng, who wears traditional Korean dress along with her classmates, although not beyond school walls to avoid attacks from right-wing nationalists.

This should not happen in a country claiming to respect human rights.

Because then there would be nothing but intolerant bigots left here to fight amongst themselves. What would you guys do if you didn't have ethnic minorities to drive around and threaten or act superior to? They don't "have it so much better" when they constantly have to be reminded of it and looked down on all the same, same there is no such thing as "omotenashi" when you want a pat on the back and demand recognition for it. Japan is a better place FOR the increasing mix of people.

Well said Smith!

Nothing wrong with loyalty to where your origins are, that's down to the individual.

exactly!

There's people here loyal to the US, UK, France, Germany, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, the Philippines, China, Australia and so on.

As well as many Japanese living overseas who are still loyal to japan.

If people want to celebrate their culture, be it St Patrick's Day, Eid, Christmas or the 4th of July - what's the issue?

Toasted- in a civilized society, there is never an issue.

I've been to Japanese celebrations in other countries, where nikkei, issei, nisei, sansei and so on can flout their culture and live there.

And we should welcome that as that is what gives us our strength.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Peeping_TomJune 8  04:27 am JST

"Nearly 725,000 Korean workers were made to work in Japan and its other colonies, and as World War II loomed, Japan forced hundreds of thousands of Korean women into life as “comfort women”—sexual slaves who served in military brothels. At least 84 percent of all Koreans took on the names, since people who lacked Japanese names were not recognized by the colonial bureaucracy and were shut out of everything from mail delivery to ration cards. “The whole point was for the government to be able to say that the people had changed their names ‘voluntarily’,” writes historian Hildi Kang."

That might all be true. MIGHT BE TRUE? Ya mean it might have all been fantasy? 725,000 Koreans and historians made this stuff up? Shame on them. Your memory doesn't betray you - your hypocrisy does.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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