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Moreover, Koreans in Japan had to deal with identity contrast also because they have been constantly forced to choose between one side or another: firstly, they had to choose between North Korea and South Korea; secondly, they had to choose between being Korean and Japanese; choosing Japan meant to forsake their origins and to be considered traitors; choosing Korea by proclaiming their ethnic identity meant they might face discrimination in the future. Furthermore, there is no option for them to choose both sides as part of their culture or nationality, because both South, North Korean and Japan are jus sanguinis. Therefore, zainichi Korean fought to obtain their own ethnic school, and they realized that it would have provided them a sense of identity and belonging. However, this seems to contradict what the pervious mentioned, namely the fact that most Zainichi Korean parents and their children preferred to apply to Japanese schools rather than Korean ones. As a result, one can suggest that such a decision could have been an effect of a broader process of acculturation, something that driven Zainchi closer to Japanese culture, even though the minorities were marginalized. It seems that in the period Japanese culture was perceived as a more beneficial cultural framework than the one propagated by Koreans, yet such an assumption can be a matter of further academic discussion. Around the early 60s, this trend became evident that many teachers recognized the need to provide an ethnic education (Tai, 2007.). Therefore, in 1965 – same year the ministers’ circular, which demanded that no special treatment was to be given to Korean children, was issued (Okano, 2004) – it was established in Osaka the Research Council for Foreign Educational Problems (Tai, 2007) in order to look into interethnic conflicts in Japanese public schools.

However, in 1971 the council itself was reported for discriminatory attitude towards Koreans students. One of the members from the council said Korean students were selfish and they represented a source of school disorder (Tai, 2007, p.7). While it is indicated that Korean minorities were subjects to national welfare rights, the authors also indicate that ” as “resident aliens” they still face discrimination in such areas as employment, housing, and education” (Tai, 2004, p. 356). In such regard, both the incident and the overall attitudes on the part of both parties brought to the creation of ZOK, a Club for Thinking About Education for Korean Children Enrolled in Public School (Tai, 2007). The awareness regarding Korean children’s ethnic problem, before drew only the attention of parents and teachers who were directly involved, now rising even among intellectuals. As a result, the creation of ZOK can be regarded as a crucial phase in the context of the history of Zainichi Koreans in Japan, namely because of the event initiated a chain of events that further shaped the historical role of Zainichi in the socio-historical context of Japan.

The Birth of ZOK and the censure of tsumei blog apus history essay help: apus history essay help

The Birth of ZOK and the censure of tsumei

With the growing tension between Korean minorities and Japanese majorities, as well as because people started to realize that acculturation should be directed toward diversity and not marginalization, various activist organizations started to emerge trying to change the manner in which Korean minorities are perceived in areas like employment and education. ZOK was one of such organizations formed by Japanese teachers, educational administrators, and researchers from the Osaka area (Tai, 2007), who worked as volunteers and stated holding “meetings and workshops on education for Korean children” (Tai, p.7). Their meeting confronted both education and political issues, and these activities brought up people’s attention to Koreans students’ common practice of using their Japanese names instead of their Korean ones. Using particular names was a matter of high importance. Specifically, Tai (2004) suggests that ” Resident Korean leaders and activists valued ethnic education and the Korean names campaign as ways to rejuvenate the resident Korean community, which they thought was weakening” (p. 366). As a result, organizations like ZOK started targeting practices that turned inculturation in the wrong direction. Instead of making the process negatively affect cultural practices and social identity of Zainichi Koreans in a matter that will resemble the culture of Japanese, ZOK wanted to preserve the unique social identity of Korean minorities thus granting Japan a term of diversity.

From a historical perspective, many second Zainichi Korean started attending Japanese school from the 1960s, most of them used tsumei, Japanese given name added to Korean given name. In other words, tsumei was the insurance of invisibility for Korean students in Japanese school. According to Ahn (2012) “many Koreans adopt Japanese names, known as ‘tsumei,’ in order to hide their ethnicity while others choose to become naturalized as ‘new Japanese’ in order to avoid the negative consequences of being Korea” (p. 250). In this way, many became able to hide in plain light. Tsumei permitted Korean students to conceal their ethnicity while attending schools (Tai, 2007) and to mingle with Japanese students of their own age. Using tsumei was also seen as a guarantee to get employment after graduation. Because it is known to be extremely difficult for a zainichi to find a job that was in good working conditions around that time. According to Okano (2004), “Koreans face barriers in the employment market whose extent is difficult to quantify (p. 124).” Ahn (2012) also reports that, historically, Koreans in Japan only able to find blue-collar jobs like truck drivers, manufacturers, and construction workers. While only 0.9% of Koreans were employed in professional careers, such as doctors and lawyers (p. 250). For instance, even being employed in public service, national and prefectural government jobs was difficult for the students because applicants were required to possess Japanese citizenship (Ahn, 2012). As a result, one should say that tsumei can be perceived as an approach of dual nature. From one side, it allowed Koreans to hide their ethnicity thus getting better economic and social opportunities. On another side, using tsumei made proper acculturation and diversification of education in Japan impossible.

In the context mention above, organizations like ZOK bounded to offer Korean minorities a proper means of acculturation by the fact of battling practices like tsumei. However, without taking such a problem into consideration, ZOK condemned the use of tsumei as “a legacy of colonial assimilationist policy” (Tai, 2007). Therefore, some schools made a rule to call all Korean students by their true names (Tai, 2007, p. 8). As a consequence, some teachers began to post attendance roster with Korean names instead of Japanese names, revealing students’ ethnicity. This action was supposed to encourage students to take pride in their lineage (Ahn, 2012). However, most of the time they got the opposite effect. According to Ahn’s (2012) interview on the matter, most students did not like this kind of action and expressed fear and frustration when confronted on this subject.

The perception of Korean minorities in Japan ap us history essay help

From 1965 to the early 1970s there was a changing focus on the perception of Korean minorities in Japan. One can only speculate what truly stimulated groups like ZOK to urge Zainichi and other groups to present their authentic identity. Nevertheless, the changing focus started a process of social and cultural evolution among Korean minorities, the process consequences of which became more visible in 1990s. As to the adverse side of ZOK’s vision of tsumei, one should say that Ahn (2012) further explained, the danger of using a tsumei in the following statement: “it [tsumei] affirms discrimination and promotes assimilation” (p. 256). Ahn’s study points out that using a tsumei would not make Zianichi Korean students feel less discriminated. On the contrary, the fact that they use it because of discrimination would only enhance this feeling. So, what emerges from Ahn’s research is that using tsumei is not only a direct consequence of discrimination but also the trigger that sparks it off. Paradoxically, while ZOK wanted to bring forward Korean authenticity, in reality, they stripped Zainichi Koreans from the ability to avoid discrimination. As a result, in the early 1970s, organizations like ZOK should have focused on the eradication of discrimination in schools, thus creating the proper foundation for acculturation of Zainichi Koreans. In such regard, tsumei would have naturally become obsolete.


Ruth Ahn’s Research on Minority Schooling Experience african history assignment help: african history assignment help

Ruth Ahn’s Research on Minority Schooling Experience

The crucial historical phase in the context of an understanding of the socio-historical role of Zainichi Koreans in Japan emerged with an elevated academic interest of the Korean minorities. In such a context, Ruth Ahn, the author of “Korean students’ minority schooling experience in Japan” conducted a qualitative study in west Japan, examining the perceptions of Korean students in Japan junior high school, and offering substantial insights concerning the matter. As mentioned in the previous section, Ahn has drawn attention to Korean students‘ low academic performance and linked it directly with the issue of discrimination. She also argued that discrimination in school and Japanese society was the main reason for Korean students’ low school performance. Relying on the framework offered by John U. Ogbu, the authors indicates the following: “Because many Koreans were brought to Japan as forced laborers during World War II, and are historically oppressed and denied equal rights, Ogbu classifies them as involuntary minorities who do poorly in school” (Ahn, 2012, p. 251). Htun (2012) also suggests a very similar context in “passive recipients of discrimination” (p. 10). Thus, the awareness of one’s own social identity is strictly connected with discrimination’s perception, and both have a direct consequence on academic performance. This can be proved by the fact that low academic performance was something Zainichi Korean students shared with Burakumin, who were also economically and socially marginalized (Tai, 2007). Both minority groups in education and employment are unable to purse any advancement of career because of the existence of constraints to career mobility that continue to persist even in recent years (Ahn, 2012).

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Moreover, according to Ogbu, as reported in Okano (1997), the minority can be divided into two categories: voluntary and involuntary; the voluntary minorities where those who “migrated in pursuit of better life”, so they had chosen freely to move to any other countries, whereas, involuntary minorities did not. As a consequence, the latter was “more prone to failure at school than the former (Okano, 1997, p. 255). In such a context, one can assume that enforced acculturation is something that brings lower academic performance and inability of Korean minorities to properly adapt and be productive members of society. Similarly, discriminatory means on a part of majorities created the situation when involuntary migration became something that immigrants intended to escape in the first place. Another reason for low academic performance is the lack of support. Ahn’s research points the attention towards zainichi student’s parents, who wanted their children to be successful and would make everything that was possible in order to help them prosecuting their academic career in Japan- even paying for juku (preparatory school). However, Okano (1997) argues Korean high schoolers have developed their own collective perception of the working of the society, and also have a collective understanding of the world that has marginalized them as a social group (p. 525). Therefore, many of them preferred to apply for a job inside their own ethnic community (Okano, 1997). As a result, while findings themselves between two different cultural worlds and perspectives, Zainichi Koreans were torn and were not motivated to succeed academically, namely because they did not envision a professional future outside their ethnic community.