International Education Journal

WCCES 2001 Commission 6 Special Congress Issue: Japanese Education in Transition


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"Identity Politics" and Korean Youth in Japan:
A Case Study of a Junior High School Student

Taeyoung Kim
Fukuoka University of Education, Fukuoka, Japan


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There are approximately 630,000 North and South Koreans living in Japan. Today, 90 per cent of the Korean children in Japan go to public and private Japanese schools, and the remaining 10 per cent go to Korean schools. Some schools, mostly in the Kansai area, give classes for Korean students after regular school lessons are finished. These ethnic studies were offered as a measure against discrimination, but they have actually resulted in creating racial images of Koreans. These images may result in restricting their activities, while at the same time young Koreans insist on flexible ethnicity that cannot be restricted by ethnic essentialism. This article uses an example of a Korean in Japan to examine the possibility of ethnic minorities asserting their identity and approving the notion of flexible identities.

Koreans in Japan, ethnic minority, identity politics, multicultural education,cultural essentialism



Kim, T. (2002) "Identity Politics" and Korean Youth in Japan: A Case Study of a Junior High School Student. International Education Journal, 3 (5), 56-63.

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