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Koreans in Japan facts for kids

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Koreans in Japan South KoreaNorth KoreaJapan
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Tokyo (Shin-Ōkubo) · Osaka Prefecture (Ikuno-ku)
Japanese · Korean (Zainichi Korean)
Buddhism · Shinto/Korean Shamanism · Christianity · Irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Korean people

Koreans in Japan are ethnic Koreans who have permanent residency status in Japan or who have become Japanese citizens and whose immigration to Japan originated before 1945 or who are descendants of those immigrants. They are a distinct group from South Korean nationals who have emigrated to Japan after the end of World War II and the division of Korea.

The flow of Koreans to Japan started with the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876 and increased dramatically since 1920. During World War II, a large number of Koreans were also conscripted by Japan. Another wave of migration started after South Korea was devastated by the Korean War in the 1950s.

The majority of Koreans in Japan are Zainichi Koreans who are the permanent ethnic Korean residents of Japan. The term Zainichi Korean refers only to long-term Korean residents of Japan who trace their roots to Korea under Japanese rule, distinguishing them from the later wave of Korean migrants who came mostly in the 1980s, and from pre-modern immigrants dating back to antiquity who may themselves be the ancestors of the Japanese people.

The Japanese word "Zainichi" itself means a foreign citizen "staying in Japan" and means temporary residence. The term "Zainichi Korean" is used to describe settled permanent residents of Japan. They currently form the second largest ethnic minority group in Japan after Chinese immigrants due to many Koreans joining the general Japanese population.

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