Xenophobic wave of tips target ‘illegal’ Korean residents; immigration bureaus overwhelmed

by

Staff Writer

An Internet rumor that hundreds of thousands of ethnic Korean residents are to be deported has seen immigration bureaus nationwide deluged with “tips” from bounty seekers and others about neighbors who in fact remain legal residents.

It has so overwhelmed local offices that the Justice Ministry has spoken out to deny claims that Zainichi ethnic Koreans with “special permanent resident” status are now subject to deportation. The group comprise mostly ethnic Koreans and their descendants.

It is unclear whether the rumor arose by mistake or was maliciously devised by racists and right-wingers, but it appears to have tapped a national thread of xenophobia, given the volume of callers trying to turn their neighbors in.

The rumor says ethnic Koreans forfeited their residency status after July 8. Although Zainichi identity papers are in fact being upgraded to a new system, that date was only a deadline for foreign citizens to swap certificates of alien registration for a new identification card.

Within days, immigration bureaus witnessed a surge in calls, letters and emails from members of the public informing against special permanent residents, according to Justice Ministry official Masashi Shimazu.

“The reports came unexpectedly and the situation needs to be corrected,” Shimazu said.

Typical messages inciting tipoffs could easily be found on the Internet on Tuesday. Tweets and comments on discussion forums said that denouncing one Korean residing in the country illegally would lead to a bounty of ¥50,000. These postings pointed readers to a website operated by the ministry soliciting tips on the whereabouts of illegal immigrants.

Shimazu acknowledged that the ministry site received some emails seeking to inform on people in the country legally, but declined to divulge the number.

The ministry moved fast to try to counter the misunderstanding. Last Thursday it posted a notice on its website assuring ethnic Koreans and other special permanent residents that failure to obtain the new ID by the July 8 deadline “would not lead to deprivation of their status as a special permanent resident.”

The ministry also plans to define in clearer terms who it refers to as “illegal immigrants,” Shimazu said, adding that the chief target is people who overstay their visa.

Under the newly introduced ID exchange system, visa holders with special permanent residency are required to swap their old alien card for the new card. But unlike other non-Japanese residents, who should have swapped their ID cards by July 8, the deadline imposed on these residents varies depending on the holder’s birthday.

Failing to complete the switch by the deadline could technically result in criminal penalties, including a year in prison and a maximum fine of ¥200,000, but instant deportation is impossible, said Justice Ministry official Masahiro Yamagata.

The ministry also emphasizes that criminal penalties are handed down on delinquents by law enforcement only on a case-by-case basis and that those who have not acquired the new card yet should head to an immigration center to apply.

  • keratomileusis

    You’d think that after all the Zainichi have contributed to Japan they would be granted residency. I guess this idea escaped McArthur when he tried to set up a democracy modeled after the U.S. If Japan really wants to improve relations with the Koreas, this would be a logical and cost free step. What are these Zainichi going to do? Kick Abe out of office when they get the right to vote?

    • Charles

      I think you meant “citizenship,” not “residency.” Any foreigner living in Japan legally for more than three months, including me, has “residency.” Zainichi Koreans mostly have Special Permanent Residency.

      The vast majority of Zainichi Koreans qualify to naturalize as Japanese citizens if they want to do so. The requirements are not that difficult: live in this country for five continuous years, have a job, speak, read, and write Japanese, not have a criminal record, and file a bunch of paperwork.

      So if it’s so easy, why don’t they all do it? Simple–often, they don’t need to, and they don’t want to, because it’d require renouncing their Korean citizenship. Japan doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.

      Have you lived in Japan for 5+ years? Can you speak, read, and write Japanese at the level of an elementary school student? If so, you too can probably naturalize as a Japanese citizen (the acceptance rate once you’ve filed your paperwork is about 98%). As long as you’re willing to throw away your American, British, etc. passport (probably forever) and pledge your loyalty to Abe-land instead. And continue to be referred to as a “gaijin” and treated like one, even though you carry a Japanese passport. And continue to get racially profiled and gaijin carded by the police. Does that sound like an appealing proposition? For the vast majority of people from first world countries like America, England, or South Korea, the answer is a resounding “NO!!!”

      Last year, Korea’s Human Development Index reached 0.891–0.001 points higher than Japan’s 0.890. The reasons for a Zainichi Korean to naturalize here are getting fewer and fewer.

      • tisho

        You keep referring to these people as ”Zainichi Korean” which is how most Japanese people have been conditioned to call them, but in reality these people are as much Japanese as Abe or the emperor is. Also, they do not have a Korean citizenship. That would be like saying i am a 5th generation American, but because my great great great great grant parents came from Italy, therefore i am an Italian and not a real American, and keep being referred to as Italian American or something like that even accused of having Italian citizenship and should be shipped back to Italy. It’s just insane and ridiculous. The people known as Zainichi Korean are something like 4 or 5th generation Japanese, their ancestors got dragged from Korea to work as a slave laborers in Japan and after the war ended many did not return to Korea, instead they kept living in Japan, that was 4 or 5 generations ago. To say they are somehow related to Korea is no different than saying a 5th generation American whose ancestors came from Italy is somehow related to Italy and should return to Italy. Only a mentally ill braindead individual can say something like that, which is why only the right wingers in Japan say it. Trying to engage in conversation with these people would be like trying to communicate with a humanoid ape, it’s just not possible, literally. Japan as we know it today wasn’t even a country until 1890 when the meiji restoration ended and a strong centralized government was established for the first time on that island which begun this identity installation into people’s head, prior to that there wasn’t any Japanese in the sense you know it today, probably most people on that island were from China anyway. Their ancestors were from China. Ever since the centralized government was established in Japan, they begun this massive effort which continues to this day to make the Japanese identity great as China and European/Americans. Pretty much something like 90% of Japan’s culture, traditions, religion, ethics, clothing, food etc. comes from China, they copied all of that prior to the meiji restoration, but after the meiji restoration, they would try to turn all that stolen culture into Japanese culture and claim it as their own. Later they would do the same with America and Europe. Good luck trying to explain that to any Japanese though. It would be like explaining to a mentality retarded kid that it’s retarded, sorry for the horrible example but it’s quite true.

      • Charles

        Although I agree with the basic sentiment of what you wrote (that keeping ethnic Koreans in a perpetual state of “foreignness” and not permitting them to become Japanese, either legally or socially, is wrong), there are a number of technical errors with what you wrote.

        “You keep referring to these people as ”Zainichi Korean” which is how most Japanese people have been conditioned to call them, but in reality these people are as much Japanese as Abe or the emperor is.”

        Were you under the impression that I was using “Zainichi Korean” to refer to Japanese citizens of Korean ethnicity? As far as I know, I wasn’t doing that. Maybe some racist ojisan in a back alley does that, but I don’t. I think I’d normally call them “Japanese” or “Korean-Japanese” (and before I’m called a “racist” for the latter, I frequently refer to myself, proudly, as a German-American, because I see no need to purge my ethnic identity–it is the reason my family does the main celebration of Christmas on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day, after all, and why my last name is German).

        Here, this is the belief I have held for many, many years:

        – Koreans in Japan, without Japanese citizenship (regardless of whether they were born in Japan), are NOT JAPANESE. They are Zainichi Koreans.

        Sorry if that bursts your bubble, but mere fluency in the language and knowledge of the country does not make you an automatic member of that country. That would be like me demanding to be called “British” just because I speak English natively, was born less than 200 miles from London, and know British history relatively well. All those things are well and good, but they don’t change the fact that I do not have British citizenship (yet) and am therefore NOT BRITISH.

        – Former Koreans (who have naturalized in Japan) or ethnic Koreans (who are descended from Koreans, but Japanese citizens themselves) are JAPANESE.

        You are confusing “what is” with “what should be.”

        Under international and Japanese law, Zainichi Koreans (and I am using the international definition here, not the narrow-minded, racist, ojisan definition) are NOT Japanese, for the simple reason that they are not citizens of this country. Do they deserve to be citizens? Maybe so. But they currently aren’t. So your statement that “in reality these people are as much Japanese as Abe or the emperor is” is incorrect. Both Abe (as much as I hate him) and the emperor have Japanese citizenship; unnaturalized Zainichi Koreans do not.

        And as for most Zainichi Koreans not having Korean citizenship…not true. Most have South Korean citizenship, now. Stateless Zainichi Koreans are the minority.

      • tisho

        If you weren’t referring to the Japanese with Korean ancestry, then who you call ”Zainichi Koreans”? You said ”Koreans in Japan without Japanese citizenship are not Japanese”, but this is exactly what i was talking about. The ”Koreans in Japan” are not Koreans, they are Japanese. How can you be Korean if you were born in Japan, your parents were born in Japan, your great great great great grand parents were born in Japan? I understand what you are saying about the citizenship but the thing is that, they should not even be asked or made to apply for citizenship, they should be automatically given Japanese citizenship just as any other Japanese is given citizenship at birth. Again, that’s like my great great great great grant parents came from Italy so now i have to choose if i want an American citizenship. That’s ridiculous, there should be no ”choosing”, they are as much Japanese as the emperor is. If you’re talking about newly immigrated Koreans, then yes, sure, any new immigrant should apply for citizenship the normal way ,but somebody who is a 5th generation Japanese, should not have to apply for Japanese citizenship. Also, your example with Britain is completely off because the people you are talking about are born in Japan, their great great great grant parents were born in Japan, yet they have to apply for citizenship. That’s just ridiculous.

      • Charles

        “If you weren’t referring to the Japanese with Korean ancestry, then who
        you call ”Zainichi Koreans”? You said ”Koreans in Japan without
        Japanese citizenship are not Japanese”, but this is exactly what i was
        talking about. The ”Koreans in Japan” are not Koreans, they are
        Japanese.”

        Did you read anything I wrote? I consider Japanese citizens of Korean descent/ethnicity to be “Japanese” or “Korean-Japanese” first, not “Korean” or “Zainichi Korean.” Why do I need to explain and re-explain this to you?

        Most people use “Zainichi Korean” to refer to the Special Permanent Residents who are either stateless or citizens of NORTH or SOUTH KOREA. Your use of the term to refer to Japanese citizens of Korean ethnicity is both atypical, and different from the way the article was using it.

        Regardless of your bleeding heart emotional feelings of “BUT THEY’VE BEEN HERE FOR FIVE GENERATIONS!!!” you are confusing “what is” with “what should be.” The 350,000 Koreans with Special Permanent Residency, those who are generally termed “Zainichi Koreans,” DO NOT (yet) have Japanese citizenship. They are therefore not Japanese. That is what “is,” currently. Your feeling that they “should be” citizens is understandable, but _is not the current situation under international or Japanese law_.

        Your repeated example of “I’m a fifth generation Italian-American, NOT Italian” is ridiculous and not comparable. You are an American CITIZEN. Under the laws of America, you were either born an American citizen, or one of your ancestors naturalized, which built a LEGAL FRAMEWORK for the people in your family to be Americans, not Italian. LEGAL FRAMEWORK. That’s the whole basis on which everyone calls you American. The fifth-generation part is absolutely irrelevant. In fact, generation-counting is actually bad social science because it allows a fifth-generation person to say to a second-generation person “I’m more ____ than you.”

        So what’s your point? That Japan should adopt “Jus soli” (citizenship through birth in the country), automatically, like America? Need I remind you that Jus soli (which encourages and rewards anchor babies) is the main reason that America has 11 million illegal immigrants today, and the absence of Jus soli in Japan is one of the main reasons Japan only has 60,000?

        Or is your point that Japan should make a special exception in its no-dual-nationality laws for Zainichi Koreans? Japan doesn’t allow any Japanese adult to have two passports. So are you saying that Japan should give Zainichi Koreans special treatment that other people in Japan, including Yamato Japanese and other foreigners, don’t have, and give ONLY THEM two passports?

        Well, if Japan did that, then wouldn’t it also have to do the same thing for third-, fourth-, fifth-, etc. generation Chinese and Taiwanese from the days of colonialism? How would that be fair to native-born Japanese or non-Korean, non-Chinese foreigners, who still couldn’t have dual nationality?

        Of course, what would be really nice would be if Japan just permitted dual citizenship for everyone. But that is a very contentious issue.

        I lived in South Korea for five years and have also visited North Korea. My guess is that you have not. I have graduated from a Korean school and have many Korean friends, including Zainichi Koreans, so I know a thing or two about Korea and Koreans.

        Koreans are extremely, ummm, shall we say, “ethnically cohesive,” to try to put it nicely. They do not accept foreigners in their own country. Until 2008 or 2009, the only way to get permanent residency in Korea was to either invest $500,000+, marry a Korean, or have Korean blood. Their military was off-limits to non-Asians until 2011 when they finally desegregated it. Discrimination, such as refusing service to someone based on race, is still completely legal (see recent Korean supreme court case about the Uzbekistani-Korean who was refused entry to a bathhouse). Korea has finally started to make some progress (especially around 2010/2011), but all of this should explain to you two things:
        1. Zainichi Koreans are still Korean citizens, not Japanese citizens, because of their own “ethnically cohesive” choices, generally, NOT because Japan prevents them from naturalizing as Japanese.
        2. Koreans sure are ones to complain about discrimination. They DEMAND rights when they’re abroad, but their own country isn’t exactly a bastion of racial tolerance and harmony for non-Koreans.

      • tisho

        There is so much wrong with what you just said, i can’t possibly talk about all of it. First of all, you seem very confused and irritated, you are also clearly a Japanophile based on what you just said about Japan and Korea, which i am going to address briefly below. The fact that you feel you can make a judgement that i have never been or lived in Korea based on completely nothing means that the likelihood of your views being based on groundless emotions is very high, you seem to make decisions emotionally rather than based on facts and evidence. Very briefly on your points, i am aware of what the current situation is with the so called zainichi koreans, i am aware who they are, my point is that they are as much Japanese as the emperor is, and the very fact that they are put in a situation in which they have to apply for citizenship is wrong on so many levels, but also explains why they refuse to do it. They are not related in anyway to Korea, like i explained but you obviously missed while raging under the keyboard, a 5th generation Japanese is not related in anyway to Korea even if asked to apply for citizenship. The solution is they are simply given citizenship as they are Japanese already just not on paper, this does not mean Japan should adopt citizenship by birth policy, those are two different subjects. Second point, what you said about the 11 million illegal immigrants in the US is so ignorant, i don’t think me explaining anything to you regarding US immigration would have any meaning, it will just go over your head. People immigrate where they can get opportunities to work and get a better live, they don’t immigrate to where they have no opportunities. Even if Japan had completely open borders, hardly anyone would want to come to Japan. If you are really American, you are also illegal, your parents came to the United States illegally, and they sure did not naturalize. Third point, briefly, I lived in Japan and graduated from a Japanese university, i have also lived in Seoul for 2 years and only few months in Beijing, China as well. I have many Japanese, Korean and Chinese friends from various social statuses. Let me tell you something you obviously don’t know, nobody, and i mean nobody, no country on this planet is more close, ethnically cohesive and group oriented than Japan and the Japanese people. The foreign born population of Korea is 3 percent, in Japan it’s 1.9, which means Korea has more immigrants than Japan, not to even mention the fact that the person in charge of the immigration bureau of Korea, not sure the correct tittle, is a foreign-born, something you will never see in Japan, not even in 1 million years. From my observations i can say that Chinese people are by far the most open-minded and open to foreigners people in Asia. Koreans rank second on my list, Japanese rank at the bottom. There are many Japanese scholars that agree with me on this one. I don’t expect a Japanophile such as you to understand or accept this. Discrimination in Japan is far worse than in South Korea or China. You probably don’t speak Japanese well enough, which explains why you’re a Japanophile. I’m just going to end it here and leave you enjoy the pretty anime bubble land you’re living in. Don’t hurt yourself reading this.

      • Charles

        Wow, I can see I made you really mad. You refer to me as “brain dead,” “mentally ill,” a “Japanophile,” etc. It’s unfortunate that you lack the debating skills or the self-control to use more mature debate tactics.

        By the way, about the little “Japanophile” bit, I was recently racially profiled and asked for my ID. I said I would only show the ID if the police officer showed his first and let me copy down the information so I could make a complaint to the NPA. Do you know what they did? They called in reinforcements. And those reinforcements called in more reinforcements. They all refused to show me their police IDs long enough for me to copy down the information, in violation of the law. It took over an hour before one of the SEVEN police officers that showed up would show me his ID long enough for me to copy it down. Only then did I show my ID. So yeah, I do know a thing or two about racial discrimination in Japan, and am not a Japanophile. What have YOU done to resist Japanese racism, besides writing asinine comments on the Internet on English-language websites that few Japanese people even read?

        I can only pity the Zainichi Koreans to a point. Sure, their history, like 70 years ago, was tragic, but today, I think discrimination against them is minimal compared to discrimination against VISIBLE minorities in Japan. They are not “as Japanese as the emperor” as you say–if they were, they’d naturalize. Not naturalizing is making a conscious loyalty choice to Korea, not Japan. They already get nearly citizen-level rights. Why don’t you take up a crusade on behalf of Filipinos, Nigerians, or some ethnic group in Japan that has to deal with REAL discrimination?

      • tisho

        I received your reply on my email but i don’t see it here in the conversation, you’re reply is either pending approval or you must have deleted it. Anyway, i thought it was interesting so i wanna reply to it. First of all, why are you lying? When did i called you ”brain dead” or “mentally ill”? Your story is pretty common, were you talking to the police in Japanese? I thought what they did is pretty natural, this is not the United States, there is no police confrontation, demanding your rights, demanding justice and all that in Japan. The police probably didn’t know how to deal with you and because you resisted, they called for more assistance. I am not saying i agree with it, i am just saying it is a very predictable outcome. You should’ve know this will happen. If demanding your rights be protected was common practice in Japan, there wouldn’t be so many UN human rights violation reports against Japan. I can’t say i’ve done a lot, i have done as much as i could under my circumstances. I have experienced tons of discrimination not just in Japan but in Europe as well which is where i grew up. If the example you gave me is the only type of discrimination you’ve encountered in Japan, then i think you definitely haven’t experience anything yet. Once you learn the language on the same level you understand English, and once you learn the Japanese culture in details, then the real discrimination will hit you very hard like a hammer in the head. Until then, the type of discrimination you described to me can be categorized as mild, compared with the one you are experiencing but just don’t realize it. I am not saying the type of discrimination you have experienced is justifiable, i am just saying it is nothing compared to the one you will experience when you get on their level in terms of language and cultural understanding. The best way to deal with discrimination would be to understand it. What causes it and all that. In my case i have studied a lot about human behavior and discrimination, so that helped me a lot. I guess knowing the reasons behind it, takes away the anger you feel, because you now understand what is happening. There is absolutely no doubt that the core reason for discrimination in Japan is the insane group think/mentality the Japanese people have, and this is drilled into their heads since school. Pretty much it means you take the information you have about a group and you apply it to an individual you have associated with that group. That’s it. And this does not apply only for foreigners, this applies to Japanese people themselves. I have a friend who is 3rd generation atomic bomb survivor. He told me that, his dad divorced his mom the moment he found out she was an atomic bomb survivor. He told me he is afraid to tell that to anyone not even his friends because he knows he’s going to get excluded automatically. People will discriminate anybody who is different in anyway, anyone who isn’t part of the group. There is also heavy discrimination against people from Okinawa, people from Hokkaido to a lesser extend, and now people from Fukushima and the surrounding area. There was even a manga recently that was very insulting against people from Fukushima, it described them as all having cancer and that people should stay away from them, there was a scandal about it but the manga still stays. Ask somebody from Fukushima if he experiences discrimination, i think people from Fukushima probably experience more discrimination right now than any foreigner does. Like i said, it is not about being anti-foreigner, it is about the group think. If you are associated to a group with a bad image or that has something bad about it, you are going to get discriminated, regardless of who you are. Nigeria does not have a good image, the moment someone hears Nigeria the first thing they would think would be Africa and poverty and all that. So that’s the info. they’re going to apply to that individual, because that’s the group he is associated with in their minds. It is stupid, but that’s the reality. Greece is right now in poorer than Nigeria, but in most people minds Greece still has positive image, hence no discrimination. Solution is pretty simply, and i have talked about this many many times before to many many many people, online and offline. You simply stop associating individuals to groups, or at least research the info. you have associated before you apply it. It is that simple. If you do not associate individuals to groups, there cannot be discrimination. I have talked about this online in Japanese forums such as Chiebukuro, OKWave and on Facebook all in Japanese intended for Japanese people. Generally speaking people quickly ”get it” but in reality it’s difficult to apply it, and it’s difficult to explain that to 130 million people.

      • Charles

        You’re right about my gaijin card check with the seven police officers being a relatively mild instance of racism. In Korea, much worse happened–I was assaulted just walking down the street by people I had never met. One second, I was walking to the convenience store. Suddenly, I heard “HEY, WHITE PERSON!!!” turned around, and before I knew it someone was punching me in the face. Fortunately, a random, unprovoked assault by people I’ve never even met has not happened to me in Japan (though I do not deny that it does occasionally happen, even in Japan) in the four years I’ve been here.

        I’m aware that Japanese are quite racist–I am not the Japologist you make me out to be (I’m just sick of the never-ending pity party for the Zainichi Koreans who have it much better than almost any visible minority member in Japan). In addition to this never-ending pity party for the Zainichi Koreans, there is a lot of plain, outright misinformation like “It is almost impossible for them to get citizenship.” or “They have it worse than (insert name of visible minority here) people.” Totally untrue. They are relatively privileged compared to any VISIBLE minority. I’ve spent 14 years in Asia (four in Japan, five in Korea, three in Hong Kong, and 1 1/2 in Taiwan [by the way, I noticed that, as you said, Chinese are less racist than Koreans or Japanese]), so believe me, I know a thing or two about racism and discrimination. It doesn’t just reset every time I change from one East Asian country to another.

        As for which country is more or less racist, Japan or Korea, that’s strictly academic since both countries are quite racist. In a nutshell, “Korea is getting better, Japan is getting worse, but Japan had a major head start on Korea, so it’s hard to tell at this point.” Maybe you have more experience with Japan than me, and therefore, you might know about Japanese discrimination more than me, possibly, but I lived in Korea for five years and graduated from a university program there, so I know about that discrimination more than you. So it looks like we’re at an impass there–can’t we just agree that both are quite racist, that both have lots of UN human rights violations, both need to address their serious human rights issues, and move on from that particular topic?

        And you are wrong to think I don’t speak Japanese. I passed the Kanji Kentei Level 4, which is normally taken by 9th graders (which I know because I took it with my ninth graders). I also passed the JLPT N3 more than three years ago, and my Japanese has improved substantially since then (planning to take the N2 in December–I failed it by one point last time). That’s to say that I’m not fluent, but I insist on speaking Japanese unless I’m on the job (which requires me to speak English) and I have enough Japanese to know, quite often, when I’m getting discriminated against, which happens in subtle ways (microaggressions) almost everyday, and occasionally in less subtle ways. Oh, and by the way, before you even get started on Fukushima and how residents of Fukushima are discriminated again, that’s where I live.

      • tisho

        This might sound weird, but are you ”Shinchon” from Yahoo Answers? I was a big fan of yours when i first discovered your perhaps infamous long answers on racism in Korea. I actually have some of them copied on my computer, i plan on using them for future projects. I’ve always wanted to tell you that what you say about Korea pretty much applies to Japan as well, but the difference is that it is very difficult to notice it due to the tremendous amount of energy they put into hiding it. And this has always been something that irritates me when people visit China and Korea and they quickly notice the bad sides of their society which are for the most part exactly the same as in Japan, but when people visit Japan they never notice any of it, which is again as i said because the Japanese people put so much energy and effort into hiding all of this that if they were to put all that efforts into acknowledging their mistakes and correcting them, they would’ve been so much ahead by now.

        I wouldn’t say Zainichi Koreans are privileged at all, i would say they are lucky because unlike other minority groups, they can easily blend in, while others may not be able to do that. I am not sure if you know this but there is far more discrimination against zainichi koreans thn other groups. Most Zainichi Koreans use their Japanese names because they know if they use their real Korean name, they’re going to get discriminated against instantly. I’ve heard many stories like this in the past, i’ve heard Zainichi Koreans themselves tell me that he is afraid to tell people his real name because he knows he’s going to get fired and nobody is going to hire him. The moment people hear a Korean name, that instantly triggers the alarm – ”stay away! avoid!”. Did you saw a recent video of a school girl in the center of Osaka screaming in a microphone that she wants to kill and massacre all Koreans and a crowd behind her cheering in joy? If you haven’t saw that it’s still in YouTube, most copies got removed as expected, but i think there is still one or two left. The Japanese nationalists will eliminate anything that portrays Japan in a negative way. And that’s one of the difference between Korea and Japan. You make a video saying how racist Korea is, you’re going to get very few dislikes and that’s it. You make a video saying anything negative about Japan and your video will be taken down without hours. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me. There was a Japanese American few years ago made a video on YouTube about racism in Japan, he pretty much just cited basic facts that should be known to anyone about the burakumin and people from Okinawa. His video got reported so many times that it got taken down. Few months later he made another video saying that he had received death threats via the phone to leave Japan and take down the video, the Japanese nationalist have also called his boss at work, somehow they found one where he works, and threaten that he must fire him instantly. Needless to say he stopped making videos after that, but YouTube re-uploaded his video and it’s still online. Does any of that ever happens in Korea? I just want to give you one more example, few months ago a university called hokusei university received a threat that if they don’t fire professor who is an ex journalist at Asahi shinbum, they are going to blow the university. The media barely reported on this , i followed the story mostly in Twitter as i follow a lot of activists and other anti-right wing people. There were also other cases of people that protect Korean memorial statues in rural Japan, receiving death threats to destroy the statues. New York Times reported on this story. I doubt any of that happens in Korea. There is this insane fanaticism in Japan that only now making its way on the surface after being suppressed for so many years. I can tell you more than 5 hard core anti-Korean YouTube channels that are very actively with more than 100K subscribes. They upload daily, some weekly only anti-Korean propaganda, they lie pretty much all the time and make up stories just to hate on Korea and Zainichi Koreans. If i were a Korean, Japan would be the last place on earth i would ever wanna visit.

        I agree that both countries are very racists, i also agree that Korea is getting better, the new president of Korea (Park) has a very open policy toward the economy, liberalized market makes it more easy for new comers to integrate.

        As for the Zainichi Koreans, i do think there are other minority groups that are in more disadvantage than Zainichi Koreans, but i don’t think Zainichi Koreans are privileged either. I think like i said they are lucky they can easily hide their identity whiles others can’t do that so easily.

        A small tip on your Japanese, focus more on pronunciation. Pronouncing the sentence correctly like a native speaker will help you more than having a big vocabulary. Even if you make grammar mistakes or use the wrong word, if you pronounce it correctly like a native speaker, people will be comfortable speaking with you.

      • tisho

        If you weren’t referring to the Japanese with Korean ancestry, then who you call ”Zainichi Koreans”? You said ”Koreans in Japan without Japanese citizenship are not Japanese”, but this is exactly what i was talking about. The ”Koreans in Japan” are not Koreans, they are Japanese. How can you be Korean if you were born in Japan, your parents were born in Japan, your great great great great grand parents were born in Japan? I understand what you are saying about the citizenship but the thing is that, they should not even be asked or made to apply for citizenship, they should be automatically given Japanese citizenship just as any other Japanese is given citizenship at birth. Again, that’s like my great great great great grant parents came from Italy so now i have to choose if i want an American citizenship. That’s ridiculous, there should be no ”choosing”, they are as much Japanese as the emperor is. If you’re talking about newly immigrated Koreans, then yes, sure, any new immigrant should apply for citizenship the normal way ,but somebody who is a 5th generation Japanese, should not have to apply for Japanese citizenship. Also, your example with Britain is completely off because the people you are talking about are born in Japan, their great great great grant parents were born in Japan, yet they have to apply for citizenship. That’s just ridiculous.

      • Xman2014

        Even if they naturalize, they are always called fake Japanese pretending to be Japanese. No matter what they do, they are never accepted as Japanese citizens. The only thing they could do is they can try to hide as much as they can what their background is. That would take them out of purgatory, however, if this is found out by pure 100% blooded Japanese, they would be accused of trying to pass themselves off as Japanese and be castigated by their peers. So it’s either swallow their pride, deny and hide their backgrounds, then naturalize, OR, stay non-Japanese, be proud of their own culture, and not pretend to be Japanese, therefore no accusations of being fake Japanese will be thrown at them (of course this would disadvantage them in Japanese society in terms of rights however). In 1991, there were over 690,000 Korean special permanent residents in Japan. By 2014, that number is down by half to 350,000. So it’s not as if Japan is exactly being flooded by new immigrants from Korea.

      • Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson

        In 1991, there were over 690,000 Korean special permanent residents in Japan. By 2014, that number is down by half to 350,000. So it’s not as if Japan is exactly being flooded by new immigrants from Korea.

        The reason for that is a combination of naturalisation and older people dying. The only way to become a Special Permanent Resident is by being born to parents who already are.

        New immigrants from Korea would be issued with standard Permanent Resident visas, not SPR ones.

      • Charles

        Basically, I agree with what you wrote (it is possible for what you wrote and what I wrote to both be true). They CAN naturalize as citizens (contrary to what many uninformed, bleeding heart posters claim on articles like this), but is naturalizing a good idea for them? A rational decision? Who wants to naturalize in a country where the average man on the street is not going to accept or recognize your naturalization and will continue to call you a foreigner, and where there are no real anti-discrimination laws to protect you? Until there are strong anti-discrimination laws on the books, until children are taught in school that a fourth generation ethnic Korean with Japanese citizenship is just as Japanese as a Yamato Japanese, etc. many Zainichi Koreans are going to keep their Special Permanent Residency and not naturalize. In fact, even if this happens, they may still not naturalize, because by that time, South Korea might have eclipsed Japan (which has already been happening over the past couple of years).

  • joshben

    “Zainichi” is a Korean simply. Even if they came from North Korea, they have South Korean passport. And under the condition to go back to Korea sometime, they get stay permission without the precedent from Japan. This is what themselves expected. They are not Japanese citizens formally. And they have a duty to return to the mother country.

    They claim Japanese voting right, but it is absolutely impossible. Zainichi already has Korean voting right. And they get away from Korean compulsory military service. It is the big reason why they stay in Japan.

    • Jonathan Fields

      NetUyo-like typing detected.

      • Xman2014

        Why do they always use English names or pretend they are non-Japanese or Europeans in public internet forums? Does that increase their credibility somehow?

      • Ronmartin Realdude

        Whaddya mean, I had several friend in high school named Joshben! It’s a perfectly cromulent name!

    • kim

      “Even if they came from North Korea, they have South Korean passport”
      in general they haven’t it. they usually have “travel certificate”

      If they change of nationality from north Korea to south Korea
      they can have a passport

  • Ahojanen

    To make zainichi-stereotypes/prejudice obsolete, I suggest that Korean residents be granted Japanese citizenship and call them Korean Japanese instead of zainichis. Or just allow a dual citizenship if viable.

    Of course as full-fledged Japanese citizens they would have to fulfil social obligations previously exempted. Although I don’t believe the existence of “zainichi tokken” or systemic privilege for Korean residents, there seems to be some preferential treatment and favoritism. Korean residents should try more to clear allegations.

  • tisho

    Mental illness. I cannot characterize this any other way.

    • wrle

      That would be an insult to the mentally ill.

  • wrle

    I don’t know which is worse. The ones who started the rumors or the ones who actually called to turn in people they know for 50000 yen.

    • psyf

      it’s worth it, I guess.

      • Ronmartin Realdude

        they’re only koreans, after all. (yes, this is sarcasm)

  • Chris Bartlett

    Anyone who maliciously reported someone as an illegal immigrant when they weren’t ought to be prosecuted. This kind of behavior shouldn’t be entirely without consequences.

    • Charles

      I agree. Making false reports to the police is a waste of police time and tax dollars. It also harasses the innocent victim. Maybe Japan’s government could repay some of its massive debt by fining these people, say, a few hundred thousand yen each. However, what you suggest will never happen–because it would make far too much sense!

  • Chris Bartlett

    Of course ironically, the effect of this wave of maliciousness will be to completely cripple immigration investigations for months or years to come by jamming the system with tip offs about permanent residents who can never be deported.

    • Charles

      So true!

  • Paul Martin

    Why not deport all gaijins and hope the West deport all Japanese…let’s see who will fare the worse !

  • Michael Micucci

    Let’s not be too hasty to hypocritically condemn Japanese here. Anyone think that if a similar hoax were perpetratd in the US, only replace Korean with Mexican, we wouldn’t see a tenfold reaction? That hypocrisy is what irks me the most about Koreans and Chinese nationalists bagging on all Japanese (like a lten year old Japanese kid was personally involved with “comfort women”) and holding up crazy right-wingers like Ishihara as a model of all Japanese thinking (which would be like using Mel Gibson as a spokesperson for either all Americans or Aussies).

    Let’s all agree there are jerks everywhere and move on trying to increase cultural harmony (as most Japanese really want to do, as do most Americans, Koreans, Chinese, …) rather than pandering to the hatemongering nationalists and “patriots.”

    • Ronmartin Realdude

      “it would happen in another country” doesn’t negate the xenophobic nature of the behavior. that aside, i do agree with most of what you wrote.

      • Michael Micucci

        I absolutely agree. I just don’t like people calling out others and pretending like their poop don’t stink when this is a worldwide problem to be addressed. But just because many people are being hypocrites and wearing their patriotic blinders to ignore as-bad-or-worse problems in their own nation, doesn’t mean that anyone else (Japan in this case) gets a “Get Out of Jail Free” pass, either. I 100% agree with your statement.

  • timefox

    Quietly , it is sufficient to deal with illegal immigrants in accordance with the law .