Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Koreans in Japan

The presence of a large ethnic minority of Koreans in Japan, most of whom are legally aliens, is mainly a legacy of Japanese colonialism. When Japan annexed Korea in 1910, there were only about 2,500 Koreans in Japan. However, during World War II, Koreans were brought to Japan as forced laborers, many to the coal and gold mines, to solve the wartime manpower shortage. At the end of World War II, there were more than 2 million, many of whom were repatriated after Japan's surrender. In 2004, there were approximately 607,000 Koreans in Japan (according to the Justice Ministry's alien registration statistics), constituting the largest ethnic minority. About 90 percent of this population consists of Japanese-born, second- and third-generation Koreans, many of whom have never been to Korea nor learned to speak Korean. As of 1993, Korean and other permanent residents were no longer required to be fingerprinted as part of alien registration procedures. This, along with other improvements in their legal status, however, has not eliminated the discrimination many Koreans in Japan still face in their daily lives. (from Wikipedia).

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