Recently I have read the following book. Its main points are:
Book title: Ryang, Sonia. North Koreans in Japan. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997.
- ch. 4 – (The structure of coexistence) – what had be emphasized that just as the Japanese government lacked the perspective on Koreans as resident aliens, so Chongryun defined Koreans in Japan as overseas nationals of north Korea, not as citizens of Japan. Chongryun’s self-identification as overseas organization of north Korea coincided with its break with the Japanese Communist party. (115)
- by establishing it new identity, Chongryun successfully avoided being drafted into assisting the revolution on a foreign land. Because of its political opposition to the south Korean regime and its loyalty to the North, it required a specific political identity by labeling its members as overseas nationals of north Korean, even though the majority of its members came form southern Korea.(115)
- “although the Japanese government and Chongryun pursue their policies separately, the effect of these polices often coincide.” (119)
- in 1965 the Japanese government entered into normal diplomatic relations with south Korea. In 1979, the Japanese government ratified the international covenant on human rights. In 1981 it joined the UN convention relating to the statue of refugees. In 1982 the Japanese Ministry of Justice installed a new category of permanent residence called ‘exceptional permanent resident’ for Koreans who had not been eligible to obtain permanent resident under the 1965 treaty.
- in 1991 Japan and south Korean Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed a memorandum putting into effect various reforms to the alien registration law and the immigration control act: fingerprint was abolished. Improvements were made with regard to civil right. In 1992 all Korean permanent resident, including most Chongryun Koreans, were made ‘special permanent residents’. Chongryun Korean thus became eligible to apply for various social benefits. (125)
- when the legal status of Chongryun Korean was extremely uncertain in the 1950s and 1960s, Chongryun’s identify was relatively stable. During the 1970s it could fortify itself as an organization following Kim II Sung’s idea of juche. Today the state-centered identity of Chongryun as an organization of overseas nationals of North Korean clearly remained in it official discourse. (127)
- generational difference within Chongryun were increasingly coming to the surface. Things that the first generation took for granted were not necessarily so for the second generation and definitely not so for the third and fourth generations. (128)
- ch. 5 – (Hesitation and transition) -for Chongryun Koreans, their Korean identity meant primarily a north Korean political identity, but they adjusted and readjusted it depending on the political conditions. Individuals had their own ways of adapting, sometimes re-ordering their memory, as did the first-generation Korean, and sometimes quickly switching between two different modes of existence, as did the third generation schoolchildren. (140)
- on 7 July 1994 Kim II Sung died, Ae-son a female Chongryun Korean could not stop crying. She was sad because she felt she had not always fulfilled her duty to the great leader. She was sad because she could not bring about the reunification while the great leader was alive. (144)
- out of the author’s numerous visits to Chongryun schools, one of the most interesting incident was an open hours where she could observe the interaction between parents and teachers. There was certain regularity in the languages they chose. On the one hand, if both the husband and wife or one of them worked for Chongryun, their conversion would be in formal Korean. On the other and, if they were not involved with Chongryun on a professional level, their conversation in public would normally be in Japanese. (151)
- as we look at this shift in language, it was not our concern to ask the speaker’s motivation. The point was, rather, to view the shift as a practice or a series of practices closely related to identity constitution. In the case of Chongryun Koreans at least, the process of the language shift itself was already part of their Chongryun Korean identification; going from Japanese to Korean or vice versa was how they lead the Chongryun lifestyle.(152)
- in other words, in this case identity could not be the essence; it is the process of identification that matters. And what enabled such a process in ordinary day-to-day life was language use – not the languages as it was but the act of using the language. (152)
- habitus alone cannot explain the transitional (changeable) state of social process; it could not answer the question how social individuals coped with reality. The first generation could stick to the old language. The third generation was flexible; their performative skill would enable them to shift. The second generation was somewhere in between, caused by the transitional nature of their identity.
(to be continued)