Ethnic Korean Returnees from Japan in Korea: Experiences and Identities

  • Sug-In Kweon


This chapter examines the ethnic return migration of the descendants of “old comer” Koreans in Japan (whose ancestors migrated voluntarily or involuntarily to Japan during the colonization period) to South Korea. It deals with how they are perceived and received in South Korea, and how this influences their sense of belonging. The “old-comer” Koreans in Japan are highly assimilated to Japanese culture, and most of the second or third generation returnees have legal nationality of Korea and/but are inept in Korean culture and language. South Koreans are often intolerant toward them and hesitant to accept them as fellow Koreans. Facing various institutional barriers and prejudices in their ethnic homeland, these ethnic Korean returnees from Japan tend to be disenchanted with their “homeland” and come to embrace “jaeilgyopo” identity instead of that of “Korea.”


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sug-In Kweon
    • 1
  1. 1.Seoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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