International Handbook on Race and Race Relations

By Jay A. Sigler | Go to book overview

JAPAN

Yung-Hwan Jo


A RACIAL CONTEXT

Korean residents form a large minority in Japan. If the term "race" is a biological and physical concept, while the term "ethnicity" denotes cultural and social characteristics, those Koreans should be called an ethnic minority. As in the case of the Jews in Nazi Germany, however, ethnicity can be treated as "racial" where it is consciously deemed to be so. 1 Children born of Japanese married to Koreans are called "mixed blood children," as are those born of a Japanese and a Caucasian, or of a Japanese and a black.

Though observable differences between Koreans and Japanese are due to differences in cultural heritage, many Japanese think that most of the Koreans are physically distinguishable from them, at least more so than in the case of former outcasts called Burakumin. Anthropologically, Koreans and Japanese have a considerable overlap of ancestral stock. But in the common Japanese perception, Koreans are different: they have greater facial height than the Japanese, are somewhat taller and sturdier, and have no facial and body hair as is noticeable in many Japanese. This is partly because the Japanese race is somewhat admixed with peoples of Malayo-Polynesian background. This does not apply to Koreans. 2 Not unlike Jews, many Japanese adhere to the myth of Japanese uniqueness as a "race," sustained from the beginning of humankind as ordained by Shinto scriptures.

Koreans in Japan can be classified as both a racial and an ethnic minority. If they are viewed merely as an ethnic minority, Koreans are outnumbered by indigenous Burakumin and once-conquered Okinawans, and are not the largest ethnic minority as is often asserted in the literature dealing with Japanese minorities. 3 (See Table 15.) When em-

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International Handbook on Race and Race Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Notes xviii
  • AUSTRALIA 1
  • Bibliography 20
  • BRAZIL 23
  • Notes 36
  • Notes 39
  • CANADA 43
  • Notes 59
  • Notes 63
  • FIJI Ralph Premdas 67
  • Notes 97
  • Notes 99
  • FRANCE 101
  • Bibliography 112
  • INDIA 117
  • Bibliography 126
  • JAPAN 129
  • Bibliography 152
  • MALAYSIA 155
  • Notes 163
  • Notes 164
  • NETHERLANDS 167
  • Notes 187
  • Notes 189
  • NEW ZEALAND 191
  • Notes 209
  • Notes 211
  • SINGAPORE 213
  • Notes 229
  • Notes 230
  • SOUTH AFRICA 233
  • Notes 258
  • Bibliography 261
  • SUDAN 263
  • Notes 278
  • Notes 279
  • SWITZERLAND 281
  • Notes 296
  • Notes 298
  • THAILAND Suchitra Punyaratabandhu-Bhakdi and Juree Vichit-Vadakdan 301
  • Notes 318
  • Notes 319
  • TRINIDAD 321
  • Notes 333
  • Notes 335
  • UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS 339
  • Notes 362
  • Notes 367
  • UNITED KINGDOM 369
  • Notes 390
  • Bibliography 393
  • UNITED STATES 395
  • Notes 416
  • Notes 420
  • WEST GERMANY 423
  • Notes 440
  • Notes 443
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 449
  • APPENDIX: RACIAL/ETHNIC DIVISIONS 455
  • Index 467
  • ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS 479
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