The representation of 'Zainichi-Chosenjin'(Korean residents in Japan) in South Korea in the 1970s: Mass-media and representation of home-visiting project of Korean residents in Japan

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Friday, April 7th, 2017

Friday, April 7, 201710:00AM - 12:00PM023N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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In this speech I would like to tell you how the ‘home-visiting project’ in 1975 has represented in the mass media in South Korea, and that this particular method of representation has been targeted. I want to talk about the representation of the Zainichi- Chosenjin(在日朝鮮人) in the 1970s reflect today’s South Korea rather than the realistic reconstruction of the surrounding home-visiting project of Korean residents in Japan. The Zainichi-Chosenjin refer to ancestry of chosen(Korea) peninsula and their descendants who defected to Japan from colonial rule, regardless of nationality, belong to the Japanese colonial rule. In the 1970s, however, Zainichi-Chosenjin was understood as the image of ‘Pro-North Korea’ and ‘Converted chongnyeon (在日朝鮮人總聯合會)’ in South Korea. In 1975, the home-visiting project of Korean residents in Japan began in the South Korean government’s intention to gain dominance over the North Korean regime. At the same time, it was an active national anti-communistic tourism project, which is distinguished from the “North Korea Repatriation Project”(歸國事業) in 1959.

On the surface, the home-visiting project of Korean residents in Japan appeared to be based on humanitarianism. By December 29, 1975, the number of visitors to South Korea was about 1,600. If the North Korea Repatriation Project was exodus for the settlement of paradise of socialism, home-visiting project of Korean residents in Japan was the anti-communistic tourism for the purpose of denying the dark past as pro-North Korea by showing the rapid development of South Korea. In the 1970s, the mass media in South Korea represented Zainichi-Chosenjin as the converted to South Korea(“Total System converted collectively, 總轉向體制). However, the anti-communistic project planned by Yushin government, the National Intelligence Service, were not intended for Zainichi-Chosenjin. In Conclusion, the issue of dispersed family between North and South Korea, legal status concerning Zainichi-Chosenjin was not discussed. Instead converting of Zainichi-Chosenjin to South Korea was represented as victory of South Korea in competition of Cold War.

Kim Won is an associate professor of political science at the Graduate School of Korean Studies, Academy of Korean Studies. Now he reserches at Hiroshima University in Japan for investigating memories of Zainichichosejin in era of cold war. Recently he presented “Stow away, border and nationality : Atomic notebook tial by Sohn Jin-doo victim of Korean atomic bomb”(2016). His interests include reemberinig of East Asia, labor history, and oral history. He is the author of several books including Factory Girl: Antihistory of Her (2006), Ghost of Park-Jung Hee Era(2011), Uprising June in 1987 (2009), The Disappearing Place of Politics (2008), Memories about the 1980s: Subculture and Mass Politics of Korean Students in the 1980s (1999).


Rachel Ostep


Kim Won
Associate Professor, Political Science, Graduate School of Korean Studies, Academy of Korean Studies

Yoonkyung Lee
Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Toronto


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