Research on Korean Popular Songs Written by Korean Residents in Japan

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.4 No.2 pp.151-169 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Chinmi Kim
Korea University of Japan

Received June 10, 2018; Revised version received July 14, 2018; Accepted August 20, 2018


This article aims to examine the history and era experienced by Korean residents in Japan through popular songs written in Korean which is their mother tongue but not their first language. In particular, the article focuses on how Korean residents in Japan who are members of the General Association of Korea Residents in Japan (Chongryon) and who were born in South Korea but who chose the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as their homeland and lives in Japan built their identities through national education through researching popular songs. Korean residents in Japan are an embodiment of the contradictions emanating from colonialism, cold war, and division. They have pursued their identity despite systematic discrimination in Japanese society as well as a sense of discrimination deeply engraved in the mindset of Japanese people through numerous challenges of possible divisions. This is why even today, Korean residents’ resistance towards the Japanese government’s oppression and suppression exists persistently as their history and culture. Pop songs made by Korean residents in Japan who were affiliated with Chongryon clearly reflects political circumstances that defined their sense of existence and livelihood. In the stage of the struggle for the right to education, and in the process of forming the definition of homeland and recognizing their hometown, and in a special education space called Chosŏnhakkyo (schools operated by the Chongryon), the struggle for postcolonialism and the struggle to overcome national division by singing such songs is a process that made Korean residents in Japan a member of Korean people.

Key Words : Korean residents in Japan, Federation of Chosŏn Writers and Artists in Japan, oppression of national education, Chosŏnhakkyo, postcolonialism

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