Koreans in Japan

Although Koreans in Japan prior to World War II suffered racial discrimination and economic exploitation, the Japanese authorities nonetheless counted ethnic Koreans as Japanese nationals and sought to fully assimilate Koreans into Japanese society through Japanese education and the promotion of intermarriage.  Following the war, however, the Japanese government defined ethnic Koreans as foreigners, no longer recognizing them as Japanese nationals.  The use of the term Zainichi, or “residing in Japan” reflected the overall expectation that Koreans were living in Japan on a temporary basis and would soon return to Korea.