"Zainichi" is a term most commonly used to refer to Japan's sizable ethnic Korean minority. While the stories of Zainichi Koreans are widely known, or at least known of, in Japan, the nation's more than 47,000 Taiwanese residents — Zainichi and more recent arrivals alike — attract comparatively scant attention.
Like the Zainichi Koreans, Japan's Zainichi Taiwanese population can trace its history here back to the time of empire. From their distant vantage point across the East China Sea, this community has witnessed the decolonization of their homeland by the Japanese, the tumult of the Chinese Civil War, the ensuing four decades of martial law under the Kuomintang, and finally breakneck industrialization and the growth of democracy on the island.
Angela Han, a Taiwanese researcher at Waseda University who studies the community, says Zainichi Taiwan-jin have constructed a life in Japan characterized by a kind of "hidden inbetweenness," straddling both Taiwanese and Japanese cultures, "neither here, nor there."