Reinventing Korean Roots and <i>Zainichi</i> Routes: The Invisible Diaspora among Naturalized Japanese of Korean Descent

Youngmi Lim

in Diaspora without Homeland

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520098633
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916197 | DOI:
Reinventing Korean Roots and Zainichi Routes: The Invisible Diaspora among Naturalized Japanese of Korean Descent

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Lineage took over from color as the key racial marker in the twentieth century. Japan is a classic instance of this strain. In relation to the Zainichi—the community of Japanese of Korean descent—this article delves into the ambivalent relationship between diaspora and assimilation. Mutual repugnance between the original and the derived results from phenotypically identical characteristics. Both the communities are condescendingly content with their authentic racial traits, to the point of absolute non-reflection and, hence, it is taken for granted. The focus in this chapter shifts to the co-existence of the other with the self and, hence, the resultant incompatibility. The supralegal definition of Japaneseness based on lineage continues to affect the identities of naturalized Japanese of colonial Korean descent. Despite generations of residence and legal citizenship status, Japan represents a conditional, step-homeland for ex-Korean descendants. Subjective notions of incompatibility actually manifest in objective terms.

Keywords: lineage; Zainichi; assimilation; phenotypical; supralegal definition; stop-homeland

Chapter.  10763 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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