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  • Writer's pictureSayaka

Basics for studying Zainichi society 3: How Japanese Officials Viewed Zainichi Koreans

Updated: Jan 26

I want to introduce three representative books that show how Japanese officials studied and viewed zainichi Koreans in the immediate postwar period. Notice the first two were published in the mid- to late 1950s, right after the Korean War. During the Korean War, both the leftist Koreans (plus their ally, Japanese Communist Party members) and the U.S. Occupation/Japanese police radicalized in their confrontations. Leftist Koreans were considered a great "security problem" and became the target of surveillance in the 1950s onward.

1. Morita Yoshio. "Zainichi Chōsenjin shogū no suii to genjō." Hōmu kenkyū hōkokusho 43, no. 3 (森田芳夫『在日朝鮮人処遇の推移と現状』1955年 法務研究所). Morita Yoshio is famous for his later work collecting various statistics related to zainichi (『数字が語る在日韓国・朝鮮人の歴史』). This booklet, too, claims he tried to "be objective," sticking to statistics, without delving into issues related to social order or policy debate. But his view in the 1950s, both sympathetic and biased, comes out in his narrative.

2. Shinozaki Heiji, "Zainichi Chōsenjin undō. 1955. Tokyo: Reibunsha. (篠崎平治『在日朝鮮人運動』1955年 令文社). He published a number of articles related to zainichi Koreans in Keisatsu Jihō. He must have been a researcher within the police or the police academy. Prefaced by the head of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the book quite blatantly said things like Koreans' "ethnic deficiency" (民族的欠陥). A fun fact: The digitized copy at the National Diet Library is a copy owned by someone disgusted by the book's racism so you will get to see some interesting comments between pages.

3. Tsuboi Toyokichi, Zainichi Chōsenjin undō no gaikyō. Hōmu kenkyū hōkokusho 46, no. 3. 1959. (坪井豊吉『在日朝鮮人運動の概況1959年 法務研究所). This copy might be difficult to find, but his report was expanded and reprinted in 1977 (『在日同胞の動き : 戦前・戦後 在日韓国人(朝鮮)関係資料』). The expanded version is a 700+page volume, and if you are doing historical research, this is a go-to reference book on the names, years, and incidents.

The first two are digitally available through NDL's 個人送信 function (hurray!). These three are very useful primary sources to find out how these government officials viewed zainichi Koreans. Here's a warning to college students: they offer valuable information, but use your critical thinking, triangulate the descriptions with other (non-governmental) sources, and mobilize your skill to historicize the material. Otherwise you end up being another Ramseyer.

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