Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Alberto Bursztyn

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Ethnic Studies | Japanese Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Zainichi, Koreans in Japan, Third Generataion, Ethnic and National Identity


Despite Japan’s emphasis on its ethnic homogeneity, there actually are ethnic minorities in Japan. Most of foreign residents in Japan came recently, but a group of Koreans, which is called Zainichi, has been living in Japan before World War II. “Zainichi”, literally means “residing in Japan,” with a connotation of impermanence. It could be Zainichi Chinese or Zainichi Americans, but the term almost exclusively refers “to a population of colonial-era migrants from the Korean peninsula that settles in the Japanese archipelago and their descendants” (Lie, 2008, x). After decades of living in Japan, over 90% of the Zainichi population is second generation or higher, and they are culturally and structurally indistinguishable from ethnic Japanese as a result of involuntary and voluntary assimilation, while maintaining Korean nationality (Tei, 2001, p.16). In this paper, I am going to examine third generation Zainichi's ethnic and national identity, who are in this unusual circumstance. In order to do so, I am going to investigate factors that influence their identity, and then summarize and analyze three autobiographies and one autobiographical novel written by third generation Zainichi authors and a conversation with my friend's Zainichi friend, who has a third generation Zainichi father and a Korean immigrant mother.