Ray Cho comments

Posted in: Pro-Korean, anti-Korean forces face off in Shin-Okubo See in context

I am Korean-American so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Many Koreans in Japan haven't naturalized because doing so would require giving up their family names. Look up Son Masayoshi of Softbank, who naturalized by first changing his Japanese wife's family name to Son.

I know many Korean-Japanese. They are all 3rd, 4th gen and strike me as totally Japanese in their behavior. None of them speak any Korean. All of them come from families that have worked hard and achieved economic success in Japan (e.g. own a shoe factory, own a textile factory, etc). They seem like fine people.. and very Japanese.

I have no idea whether their families were forcibly brought to Japan or came as post-war immigrants, but as I said they were all 3rd and 4th generation. Most of the 3rd and 4th generation Asian-Americans that I know are Japanese-American and their families all came pre-WWII.

Koreans in Korea don't dislike Japanese. They admire and respect the Japanese. However, they are upset because unlike the Germans, who are broadly repentant about their actions during WWII (Holocaust memorials and museums, mandatory education, etc), the Japanese attitude seems to be "sh*t happens, let's move on." There is not the same self-flagellation in Japan about their wartime actions as in Germany.

That said, I agree that Koreans are too obsessed with history and are far more nationalistic than the Japanese. No question. But (1) that is changing with the younger generation -- Koreans in their 30s/20s and younger just doesn't care as much and (2) Korea is to Japan as Canada is to the US. Canada obsesses about the US and how it is perceived in the US; whereas in the US, hardly anyone thinks about Canada. Same situation.

Finally, there is not a large community of Japanese in Korea. However there used to be a large Chinese community in Korea. They were actively discriminated against during the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee. Most left Korea for Taiwan in the '70s/'80s. Many moved to the States (where they opened Chinese-Korean restaurants). Some remained in Korea. My understanding is that many have Taiwanese citizenship, and I don't know whether they are allowed to get Korean citizenship. The point here is that Koreans have their own issues with ethnic minorities and they weren't on their best behavior. That is of course changing now as there are large Southeast Asian communities in Korea that have come there to work in factories.

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