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When she was growing up, third-generation Korean resident Ku Ryang Ok felt her small community in western Japan was like one big family. Residents would only have to call out in front of each other’s houses for someone to appear for a chat.

But when Ku was around 10, she started to notice that her ethnic Korean district — a place called Utoro in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture — was different from the Japanese neighborhoods surrounding it.

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