ArticlePDF Available

Discovering Minorities in Japan: First Korean Representations in Japanese Cinema.

Marcos Pablo Centeno Martín
Research fellow. Department of Communication Sciences.
University of Valencia. Ph.d candidate.
Exchange Researcher. Waseda University
Associate Fellow, Global COE Program at the International Institute
for Education and Research in Theatre and Film Arts. Waseda University
Discovering Minorities in Japan:
First Korean Representations in Japanese Cinema.
It is often assumed that there is a general absence of minorities represented in
Japanese cinema, a statement which is justified by a long maintained official discourse
of Japanese homogeneity
. Government’s response to the United Nations’ call for the
elimination of discrimination against minorities was an official statement that no
minorities existed in Japan and therefore there was no discrimination against minorities
in Japan.
Since minorities often deny their own status, population figures are difficult
to verify, but they can include about 800,000 resident Koreans, 50,000 resident Chinese
and Taiwanese, 50-60,000 Ainu, nearly 2 million Burakumin, who are descendants of
the earlier Eta-Hinin outcasts, over 1 million Okinawans and other groups who despite
holding citizenship are excluded from the Japanese mainstream, such as hibakusha,
survivors of the atom bombs, recently naturalized foreigners (kikajin) or individuals
with interracial parentage (konketsujii). In sort, more than around 4.5 million people
belong to Japan´s “non-existent” minorities (which is more than 4% of Japan’s
125,000,000 residents).
Western studies regarding Japanese discrimination towards minorities must not
serve to seek the mote in another’s eye while ignoring the beam in one's own, but on the
contrary, they must be used to understand how other Western societies actually
resemble Japan in the manner in which they support discrimination against indigenous,
aboriginal and foreign minorities by the use of similar psychological and cultural
rationale. This text focuses on the depiction of the most significant cinematographic
representation of the Korean minority since the defeat of the Japanese Empire in the
Pacific War. This community, which is the largest foreign ethnic group in the country,
has especially suffered discrimination as a consequence of its ambiguous legal status
since 1945. The problem of minorities’ recognition is deeply rooted with the concept of
the Japanese nation itself. Although nationalisms are rarely consistent in content, what
remains permanent is their self-defined identity. Idealized cultural and ethnic
homogeneity emerged from the foundation of the nation-state by the Meiji Government
when there were efforts to infuse a heterogeneous population with a sense of unified
. Ethnocentric policies during Meiji Restoration and the colonial context
had much in common with European imperialism and their assumption of social
Darwinism, drawing a distinction between the civilized “Self” and the uncivilized and
backward “Other”.
It is in this period when the origin of hegemonic discourses and the
later discriminatory treatment towards the Korean community can be found.
It was not until the late 1980s when Japan´s resident minorities started to have a
relevant presence on the big screen,
mainly after the great commercial success of Sai
Yichi´s Tsuki wa docchi ni detteiru (All Under the Moon, 1993)
and Yukisada Isao’s
Go (2002)
which really prompted the representation of foreigners in cinema. All
Under the Moon has a zainichi (Korean resident in Japan) and a Filipino character as its
main focus and displays a strategy to subvert the conventional representation of zainichi.
Go, about a Korean teenager born and raised in Japan who uses his Japanese name to
disguise his ethnic identity, remains confined to the traditional images of zainichi as
victims. Nevertheless, the film introduces a new stereotype, a good-looking young hero.
About this time, together with the growing prominence of Okinawan writers,
Korean authors had started to produce influential novels with prestigious literary awards.
It culminated in a more general awareness of the existence of “others” within Japanese
society. From the early 1990s a number of films dealing with immigration can be found,
with films like: Oguri Kohei’s Kayoko no tame ni (For Kayoko, 1984), Igarashi
Takumi’s Nanmin rodo (Refugee Road, 1992), about Vietnamese refugees; Odayashi
Nobuhiko’s Pekinteki suika (Beijing Watermelon, 1989) about Chinese students;
Yanagimachi Mitsuo’s Ai ni tsuite, Tokyo (All about love, Tokyo, 1989) or Hanawa
Yukinari’s Tokyo Skin (1996).
However, besides this recent trend, there has been a relative absence of
minorities in the Japanese film history, which David Desser explains with the fact that
there has been virtually no tradition of social concerned cinema
. There have been
cycles of works devoted to certain overt political issues such as the keiko eiga (tendency
films) of the 1930s -as well as the string of anti-war films in the late 1950s-. Film
representations of Koreans during the pre-war period can be found in Arigatosan (Mr.
Thank You, Hiroshi Shimizu, 1936) and Hanakago no uta (Song of the Flower Basket,
Gosho Heinosuke, 1937). Shimizu would make several films which either included
Korean characters or were set in colonized Korea, such as Tomodachi (Friends, 1940).
However, according to Desser, the lack of social consciousness regarding this minority
caused Koreans to be depicted as a mere part of the landscape. These representations
belonged more to an exotic and naïve curiosity towards this community rather than to
an interest of deep understanding of their social reality.
While in the late 19
century Japan had been an exotic “object” for the Western
gaze, in the early 20
century, after the victory in the Sino-Japanese War (1895), Japan
was on its way to changing into a modern nation-state and imperialistic power, and
transforming itself from the “object” into the “subject” by making Korea, Taiwan and
the Ainu its own objects.
In the late 1930s, with the increasing military control over
the film industry, which led to the enactment of the Cinema Law in 1939 (based on Nazi
Germany´s movie regulation), censorship did not explicitly prohibit Korean-related
subjects but it was difficult for filmmakers to deal with the Korean cause, since any
criticism of Japan´s colonial regime was severely policed. For instance, Kono haha o
miyo (Look at This Mother, Tasaka Tomosaka, 1930) and Renga jok(The Brick
Factory Girl, Chiba Yasuki, 1940) were prohibited from screening because of their
depictions of the misfortunes of Koreans. Although images of Koreans in the poor
quarters of the town would be more realistic, such depictions were not acceptable to the
authorities, since official discourse was making efforts to claim that Japanese
colonialism had brought the Koreans happiness rather than misery. In the early 1940s,
Japan had mobilized a policy of assimilation towards Korean people, both in Japan and
Korea. This project had already taken place both in Korea and Taiwan, the kminka
(“imperial subjectification”) was intensified under the slogan of nai-sen ittai (which
implied that Japan and Korea formed one body).Thus, propaganda films were mobilized
to project a utopian vision of Japan´s colonialism onto Korea
Korean characters were often represented as obedient subjects who appreciated
Japanese control. Curiously, the films even encouraged inter-ethnic marriage between
Japanese and Koreans in order to emphasize the nai-sen ittai ideology. A good example
is Honatsu Eitaro’s Kimi to boku (You and Me, 1941) about young Korean volunteers,
loyal to the Emperor, in which the main character also marries a Japanese woman just
before he proceeds to the front. Obviously war-time cinema totally hid the hardships of
Koreans under colonialism
. Together with films made in Manchuria, this production
must be considered as a part of Japanese imperial propaganda produced within Greater
East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere project.
Realistic depictions of Korean problems were not depicted until the arrival of the
New Wave from late fifties, which dealt seriously with the issues of postwar minorities.
As a part of their efforts to portray the dark side of the economic miracle, they focused
in on the lowest and most vulnerable end of the social scale, prostitutes, dealers or
yakuzas. Thus, even if they were not specifically committed to the cause of any
community, they occasionally found in minorities a mean of projecting the most
grotesque and bitter side of the just established capitalist democracy. Despite of not
being the central subject, Burakumin characters appeared in this new cinema, as it is
shown in Nagisa Oshima’s Ai to kibo no machi (A Town of love and hope, 1959) and
Shinjuku dorobô nikki (Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, 1969); or Shohei Imamura’s Nippon
Sengoshi Madamu onboro no Seikatsu (History of Postwar Japan as Told by a Bar
Hostess, 1970), in which Etsuko (Madam Omboro) mentions that she is of eta origin,
and tells the directors that her mother insisted to her that she could never “wipe out my
background”. Imamura addresses the Burakmuin issue in a direct way in his
documentary Karayukisan (1975)
With a different spirit but in the same stream, Post-war Humanist directors such
as Keisuke Kinoshita and Kon Ichikawa also addressed the Burakumin problem.
Kinoshita did it with the adaptation of Shimazaki Toson’s novel Hakai (The Broken
Commandment, 1906) into his film Apostasy (1948) and Kon with the 1962 remake of
The Outcase. On the other hand, Tadashi Imai dealt with the Burakumin problem in his
social conscious film Hashi ga nai kawa (River Without a Bridge, 2 parts 1969-70) and
looked at the question of exclusion suffered in postwar Japan by a couple of mixed
Japanese-Afro-American brothers in Kiku To Isamu (“Kiko and Isamu”, 1959). Other
minorities will be represented by politically committed filmmakers such as the left-wing
director Noriaki Tsuchimoto in Echange Student, Chua Swee Lin (1964), about a
Malaysian youngster from Chiba University, who is persecuted by the police for
political reasons or Kei Kumai in Chi no mure, (Apart from Life, 1970) who looked at
prejudice not only against Koreans and Burakumin but also against hibakusha.
Korean diaspora
Directors from the late 1950s represented the first cinematographic efforts to
portray the problems of minorities in a more realistic way. Unlike the films of the war-
time period, which were forced to avoid negative images of Korean lives, these later
films tended to disclose the hardships and discrimination suffered by these communities.
Nevertheless, Korean diaspora is not exempt from contradictions. The group is
considered a foreign minority in Japan even when talking about the second of third
generation and thus, helps to confirm Japan’s official stance of monoethnical national-
state. Despite significant Korean communities can be found from the beginning of the
century, reaching a figure of around 2 million people by 1945, it must be
highlighted that the questions studied here deal with the identity problems of this
community emerging from the end of World War II, and more decisively from the
Korean War (1950-53). This period does not refers to the moment in which the
individuals began leaving their homeland but rather when they reached a sense of self-
consciousness as a displaced community
. By the time of Japan’s unconditional
surrender on August 15, 1945, a US Joint Intelligence Study estimated that three to four
million Koreans resided overseas while several political and economic circumstances
discouraged many of them from repatriating.
As a consequence, 600,000 Koreans
remained in Japan by 1948 and they formed the core of the postwar diasporic
population in Japan, which has been given different names: zainichi chsenjin, zainichi
kankokujin, zainichi kankoku chsenjin, zainichi korian or simply zainichi
Nevertheless, the Korean problem is not a social issue that has stood immutable in the
face of passing time. On the contrary, filmic representations echoed generational
changes and mutations in their own idiosyncratic nature.
Yobo – “poor and shabby Korean”
Film representations of Koreans produced from the late 1950s focused on the
Koreans remaining in Japan after World War II, the “classic Diaspora” in the sense of a
community which shares a collective memory, myth and desire to return.
This first
generation considered that their sojourn in Japan was temporary –since there was a
general belief that all Koreans would be repatriated soon or later-
. Cinema created
what a sort of “Yobo stereotype”. The term Yobo comes from the colonial period (1910-
1945) and maybe translated as “you”, but it conveys an image of inferiority and
impoverishment, recalling the Japanese onomatopoeia yoboyobo (old and shabby)
Actually, Koreans had been crossing between the peninsula and the islands looking for
job opportunities since the beginning of Japanese rule, often occupying low qualified
and harsh jobs
. It means that the working conditions of Koreans had not changed a lot
after the war. In the beginning of the economic recovery, several filmmakers
reintroduced images of “wetback” Korean laborers, which seem not to have originated
in postwar Japan but rather in the colonial period.
After the war, Masaki Kobayashi became the first filmmaker dealing with the
Korean issue in Kabe atsuki heya (The Thick-Walled Room, 1956), a critic against
Japan’s wartime policy by depicting the tragedy of a Korean who was listed as a
Japanese war criminal. Depictions of Korean laborers continued in Dotanba (Tomu
Uchida,1958) a film about Korean miners who are shown rescuing Japanese miners
locked in the depths of a mine cave by accident, and Shohei Imamura’s Nianchan (My
Second brother, 1959), an adaptation of a best-selling book based on the diary of a ten-
year-old zainichi girl. Featuring a poor Korean family in a small mining village, the film
examines poor working conditions, unfair educational opportunities and discrimination,
despite the fact that Korean identity is not foregrounded. The film is notable for the
presence of the rising star Yoshinaga Sayuri.
By the late 1950s Japan was immersed in the reconstruction project and the war
was considered a nightmare to be forgotten. As John Lie claimed, “The colonial
experience was rejected as prehistory; it is as if Japan were born anew in 1945. Not
coincidentally, it is almost impossible to find anything in the postwar years without the
prefix “new” (shin)”
. This postwar renunciation of the prewar world is portrayed in
the popular television drama, Watashi wa kai ni naritai (I Want to Become a Seashell,
1959) based on a successful novel by Tetsutaro Kato.
Other examples are Tadashi
Imai’s Are ga minato no hi da (That is the Port Light, 1961), which features a young
Korean fisherman who works whilst hiding his Korean ethnic background, on a
Japanese fishing boat operating at the controversial border with Korean territorial
But one of the most relevant examples of the archetypal image of poor but
honest Korean is Urayama Kiriro’s Kypora no aru machi (Foundry Town, 1962). Like
Nianchan, friendship between a young Japanese brother and sister and their Korean
friends constitutes an important part of the film´s story.
The low social condition of the early generation of Korean zainichi in postwar
Japan is depicted in Shohei Imamura’s Nippon Konchuki (The Insect Woman, 1963), in
which a refugee from the Korean War who marries a prostitute and subsists by working
in a garden is introduced. But among New Wave filmmakers, Oshima was the one who
made the Korean question a particularly strong motif in his oeuvre. Yunbogi no nikki
(Diary of Yunbogi, 1965), the first of four films made on the Korean issue, deals with
the poverty of this community as a consequence of Japanese actions
. The systematic
destruction of the Korean family system and the exploitation of the youth are shown as
a direct result of Japanese and US imperialism. The film is not a call for social
understanding and humanistic sympathizing but a direct call to revolution. Oshima
shows images of August 15
, the Korean Independence Day, together with photographs
of the massive student demonstrations against the rule of President Syngman Rhee,
prompting the narrator to assert, “Yunbogi, you will be throwing stones one day!” Diary
of Yunbogi arose out of Oshima’s trip to Korea in which he made a television
documentary, Seishun no hi (A Tomb for Youth, 1964) and took photographs of poor
children living in the streets of large cities.
The Korean “Otherness”
With the foundation of the two antagonistic regimes in the Korean Peninsula, the
diaspora was also divided between supporters of the communist regime of the North and
the capitalist of the South. However, despite ideological differences, both groups shared
a common consciousness as foreign minority. New Wave directors proved to be
sensitive to these feelings of alienation. Koreans in Japan seen as “Others” are well
represented in Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Tanin no kao (The Face of Another, 1966), though
it is certainly not the primary focus of the film. A point in common between the story’s
faceless hero and Koreans in Japan is expressed in the novel:
“seeking points of similarity between myself who had lost my face and
Koreans who were frequently the objects of prejudice, I had without
realizing it, come to have a feeling of closeness with them” (The face of
Another, Kobo Abe)
Oshima also faced the question of Korean “otherness” through the films Nihon
shunka-ko (A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Song, 1967), in which a group of high school
students imagined themselves in the place of Koreans dominated by Japanese
imperialism, and Kaette kita yopparai (Three resurrected Drunkards, 1968). Oshima
looks at the Koreans from outside, addressing the conscience of the Japanese audience,
but here the spectator takes the place of Koreans, as in the film three students are
mistaken for Koreans and chased by the police as illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, as
the “temporally residence” in Japan was becoming longer and more Koreans were
growing up within Japanese culture and crisis of identity rose up. The problem of
“otherness” in their homeland started to be depicted, when favorable conditions in
North Korea caused a massive repatriation in 1960.
As part of this project, about
1,800 Japanese women followed their ethnic Korean husbands, partly prompted by their
problematic existence as “mixed” couples in Japan. Umi o wataru yuujou (The
Friendship that Crossed the Sea, 1960), the best-known Japanese film on the
repatriation project, deals with this historical moment. The story portrays a “mixed child
who decides to give up trying to be “pure Japanese” in order to be “pure Korean” in
North Korea. It shows how generations of Koreans which had raised in Japan faced
cultural barriers after the end of the war which complicated their efforts to resettle in
their homeland since could neither speak Korean language nor follow Korean customs
and mannerisms adequately. Other occurrences like the Korean uprising in the Kobe
and Osaka areas against Korean school closures led by Occupation Authorities to
conclude that most part of this community, rather than returning to Korea were intent on
establishing political autonomy in Japan. They were not seen to be assimilated by the
majority of the Japanese population, thus, reinforcing the notion of “otherness”
Black marketers and communist spies
Thus, negative images of Koreans were being spread among Japan, in response
to two factors: the association in the collective Japanese imaginary of Koreans with both
illegal markets (yakuza) and communism. The origin of the fear towards Korean
communists goes back to the Occupation period. Soon after the surrender, Japan-based
Koreans formed the League of Koreans in Japan (Jaeil joseonin ryeonmaeng or
Joryeon) with a leftist leaning. After 1947, SCAP ordered the Japanese government to
purge communists from professions of influence, including education, politics, and the
arts. Occupation and Japanese authorities attributed any problem concerning Koreans to
alleged communist ties. The US believed that the southern peninsula and the Korean
people in general “were extremely fertile ground for the establishment of
-Yang Young-Hee reproduced the problems of communism related to
this community in Dear Pyongyang (2006)-.
Even if during 1960s, as Japan was becoming more and more prosperous, many
zainichi were stigmatized as poor, dirty and often associated with the black market and
other illegal activities, which is why New Wave filmmakers, while looking at the dark
side of Japanese society, also found the Korean community there. While the term
sangokujin (“third-nation people) reproduced the prewar, the colonial discourse of futei
senjin (“unruly Koreans”) reflected the postwar-Cold War ideology of the three-world
theory, which divided the world into three camps: the democratic and developed first-
world, the socialist and semi-developed second world, and the unstable and
underdeveloped third word. Sangokujin became not only stigmatization as third-class
citizens but also as third-world denizens in the supposedly first-world nation of Japan.
The term futei senjin gained currency after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, when
rumors of Koreans rioting, looting and poisoning wells led Japanese police and vigilante
groups to massacre thousands of Koreans in the Tokyo and Yokohama areas. But it was
the earlier anxieties about the Korean independence movement of March 1, 1919, when
the term futei senjin marked the Korean colonial subject as dangerous and subversive.
The discourse of futei senjin did not disappear after 1945 but it reincarnated in spies
(supai), rapists (gokan hannin), ghosts (yurei), and queer (okama) stereotypes.
The new establishment after the San Francisco Peace Treaty had a great
responsibility in the descent of Korean residents into the black market. They were
stripped of their Japanese nationality rights in 1952 and also lost almost all forms of
welfare. “At the beginning of the 1950s, more than three quarters of working zainichi
were either unemployed or engaged in casual work, with unreliable earnings”.
the historical cause of the Korean yakuza stereotype can be easily found in the lack of
legitimate job opportunities, which resulted “in illegal means of subsistence such as the
black market”.
From the mid-1960s, zainichi characters in Japanese films reinforced
these images and created a duality between the passive victims of prejudice versus
Koreans as source of problems. Despite the fact that those who opted for South Korean
nationality gained permanent residence rights in Japan, after an agreement signed in
1965, zainichi stereotypes have continued to be created around the notion of “other”
(soto). Since their identity is constructed through confrontation with the Japanese, refer
to the scene in Otoko no kao ha rirekisho, where a flashback in the narration goes back
to the end of the Pacific War in Korea, where Koreans differentiate themselves from the
Japanese officers and take revenge by beating them up after the surrender, which is also
a reminder of Nagisa Oshima’s Wasurerareta Kogun (The forgotten imperial military,
1963) which depicted Korean soldiers in the Japanese army. It should be noted here that
Koreans depicted in Otoko no kao ha rireksho, as victims/source of social problems are
not necessarily contradictory: the image of zainichi as the source of social problems is
mobilized by yakuza films. But yakuza, despite often being identified as problem, do
not exceed the “victim formula”, since the film´s narrative inscribe the Korean yakuza
characters as falling into gansterism as a result of prejudice, poverty and racial
Korean crimes in the media
Headlines of illegal activities and crimes committed by Japan-based Koreans,
along with Taiwanese residents, definitively did not help to create positive among the
Japanese mainstream. A searing media portrayal of a sensational 1958 murder case
know as the “Komatsugawa Indicent”, played a large role in later representations in
literature, film and popular culture. A Korean teenage boy named Ri Chin´u murdered a
Japanese female classmate and taunted the media and the police for nearly two weeks
afterward. He later confessed to murdering another Japanese woman and Ri was
sentenced to death. Ri´s crime and punishment lived in the cultural imagination of the
postwar Japan through literary, visual and theatrical representations
. The questions of
rape and the recurrent representations of the Komatsugawa Incident caused a sort of
myth of the zainichi Korean rapist from the 1960s. As Suh Kyung-sik argues:
From the 1950s to the 1960s, representations of the “Komatsugawa
Incident!” had extremely political repercussions. Later, those memories were
suppressed, and now hardly anyone takes a second look at the incident. Although the
memories of how that incident was represented and what kind of repercussions it
had have been forgotten, the ghostly image of “Koreans” as “monsters” still lurks
deep in people’s psyches and rears its ugly head from time to time. (Suh 376)
The most famous work based on Komatsugawa Incident was Kshikei (Death by
hanging, 1968), in which Nagisa Oshima handled zainichi subjects most critically from
a leftist perspective. Death by Hanging is not actually a film about Komatsugawa
Incident, but rather Oshima uses it as a pretext to critique the irrationalism of the
Japanese authorities and the death penalty. The film does not follow the common
humanistic approach, which tends to attribute the cause of the misdeeds of minority
groups to their disadvantaged social position. The main character, R, invites neither
sympathy nor condemnation. However, the claim made by R´s sister figure - that his
crimes are a revolt of the oppressed Koreans against the Japanese society - is denied by
R himself. As Tadao Sat suggests, R refuses to be seen as a representative of “the
Korean nation”. Rather he stands as an individual confronting the Japanese state. Thus,
Oshima denounces the “state” by criticizing its own criminal murders, which is, the
death penalty. On the formal level, the film is a dramatic break with traditional filmic
convention. Oshima criticized some of his fellow left-wing film-makers such as Imagi
Tadashi and Satsuo Yamamoto for making independent films that displayed
conventional sentimentalism. Oshima is aware of the need to challenge conventional
narrative realism, in order to communicate political strength, “Oshima successfully
achieves a politically avant-garde film combining political and aesthetic radicalism”.
Just weeks after Koushikei was released, another relevant crime involving a
zainichi happened, the so-called “Kin Kir Incident” of 1968. A 39 year-old Korean
man named Kim Kir (kim Hui-ro) shot and killed two yakuza in Yokohama and then
fled to the hotspring town of Sumata-kyo, in Shizuoka prefecture, where he took
thirteen Japanese people hostage in the Fujimi-ya Inn. For the next 88 hours the hostage
crisis became a major media event. Unlike the Komatsugawa Incident, the Kin Kir
Incident was broadcast live on television. This crime did not have the same media
repercussions as the Komatsugawa Incident, but there is a significant representation of
the incident in Kimu no senso (Kim’s War, 1991), a television movie starring Kitano
Because of the visibility of the Korean minority caused by the Komatsugawa
Incident, which “appeared precisely when the discourse of Japaneseness (Nihonjinron)
was popular” (Lie 2001: chap.3), the Kim Kir murderers and other cases actually
served to reinforced Japanese identity by distinguishing the “Self” (the “civilized”) from
the dangerous “Others” (the “louts”), which were actually a central part of another
postwar myth, the reconfiguration of Japan as a homogeneous nation (tan’ itsu mizonku
shinwa). While comparing the representations of Korean residents from the postwar
period onwards, it can observed that even though much has changed in Japan between
1945 and 2011, much has also stayed the same in terms of the imagery and discourses
surrounding zainichi Koreans. Those first representations of Koreans, despite their own
contradictions, can help to understand the visual representation of this minority which
projects at the same time worries, daydreams and prejudices of the Japanese audience.
See for instance, S. Hall, D. held and T. McGrew (eds). Modernity and its Future, Cambridge: Polity
press and Open University press, 1992 and H.K. Bhabha (ed). Nation and Narration, London and New
York: Routledge, 1990.
Thomas, Roy. Japan: The Blighted Blossom, Vancouver: New Star Books, 1989, pp. 224
One of the areas which have a largest minority group is particularly Osaka and Kansai area, with a big
population of Burakumin, and Koreans (in Kinki reside 40% of all Burakumin and 48% of all Koreans
residing in Japan). Thus, Osaka and Kyoto prefectures have experimented an especial case of
overlapping these two principal minority groups (Burakumin and Koreans). De Vos, George a. &
Wetherall, O. Japan’s Minorities. Burakumin, Koreans and Ainu. London: Minority Rights Group
Actually, the roots of this idealization are the European maturation of nation-state utopias in French
Revolution, in which, the concept of one nation-one state, would also imply the idea of homogeneity in
different levels. Revolutionary France became an example of the centralized state and centralized
culture (non French-speakers could be considered enemies of the republic. Ideas of Nation-State
extended to all European modern new regimes, and also influenced the construction of Japanese modern
State build in the time of the Meiji-Restauration. Schott, Crhistopher Donald. Invisible men: The
zainichi Korean presence in postwar Japanese culture. Doctoral thesis. Standford University, 2006.
Regional identities were either suppressed or subjected to a process of cultural redefinition. The
Kazoku kokka (family state) was imbued with a new sense of national purpose and identity, projecting
“Japaneseness”, as an extended family, with the emperor as semi-divine father to the national
community and head of state. During the period of militarism was evident the conflation of cultural and
“racial” criteria in which the biological basis of minzoku was reinforced: “We cannot consider minzoku
without taking into account its relation to blood” (Kanda Tetsuji. Jinshu Minzoku Sensou, Tokyo: Keio
Shobou, 1940, pp. 70-1) arguing a “scientific explanation” for the superiority of the Japanese people.
That is in part the cause why resident Koreans are not considered Japanese even if they share the same
language, cultural patterns… Japanese minzoku is understood as a manifestation of common ancestry
rather than shared culture.
Actually, as Sonia Ryang claims, this notion of Nation-state had already tried to be exported to
Koreans during the colonial period, especially since 1939, when Japanese authorities reformed the
Korean household by using Japanese name, which also had a symbolic meaning: each family name
embodied one unit within the emperor’s extended family. In the original Korean household registry,
however, it was a record of one´s own lineage and clan (pongwan), and it did not have a concept of
family-state with the sovereign as their national ancestor. Koreans worshipped, on the contrary, clan
ancestors and lineage origin avoiding endogamy within the same clan (they preserved wife’s maiden
name after marriage as a proof of exogamy, in the book of clan genealogy – jokpo). The imposition of
the Japanese registry was actually a way of symbolic domination and real assimilation. (Sonia Ryang &
Lie John. Diaposra Without Homeland. Being Korean in Japan. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University
of California Press, pp. 2-7)
Darwinian theories were already used to explain by some Japanese scholars the victory towards Russia
in the Japan-Rusian War in 1905 (when the scholar Kato Hiroyuki claimed that the Japanese victory was
due to the superiority of a homogeneous policy which had been thoroughly integrated within the
emperor system.) (Weiner The Origins of the Korean community in Japan 1910-1923, Atlantic Islands:
Humanities Press.)
An extremely popular vehicle for the celebration of modernity /civilization was the Fifth Industrial
Exposition in Osaka held in 1903. The plan to exhibit the “races” in their natural setting encountered
rigorous opposition from Chinese, Koreans and Ryukyuans, who objected to representations of their
cultures as frozen in the past (uncivilized, louts..). In representing the inhabitants as moribund and
incapable of adapting to current realities, Japanese national imaginary promised a progressive future
under Japanese governance:
The very physiognomy and living of these people are so bland, unsophisticated and
primitive, that they belong not to the twentieth or the tenth- nor indeed to the first
century. They belong to a prehistoric age… The Korean habits of life are the habits of
death. They are closing the lease of their ethnic existence. The national course of their
existence is well-nigh run. Death presides over the peninsula (Nitobe, I. 1909, Thoughts
and Essays, Tokyo: Teibi Publishing Company: 214-16).
 
Representations of the primitive “Other” were also the sustainer of the mainstream Japanese imaginary.
They exhibition offered a further justification for paternalistic control. In the Japanese Nation written in
1912, Nitobe Inazo described the “hairy Ainu as a stone age population (pp. 86-7) and therefore doomed
to extinction. Nitobe´s assessment of the Ainu also bears comparisons with a similar account of the
Korean people in the early twentieth century. Weiner, Michel. “The invention of identity: 'Self' and
'Other' in pre-war Japan” in Japan’s Minorities. The illusion of homogeneity. London & New York:
White, David. How East Asian Films are Reshaping National Identities. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen
Press, pp. 167. See also Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. “REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI” in Japanese Cinema
and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness.). London & New York:
All Under the moon, made during the economic recession and the increase of foreign immigration,
legal and illegal, mainly from neighboring Asian countries. The Koreans represent the long-term foreign
community and the Filipino a member of the newcomer minority. It opened the difficult topic that had
been considered taboo and emphasized on the film that people other than Japanese could speak Japanese
(especially the Filipino, who speaks with heavy Osaka accent). Also portrays issues of identity,
generational and political differences among the Korean community. The film portrays generational
conflicts between the “older” immigrants and those newly arrived and conflicts between the North and
South Korean communities as well. It is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Yang Sog-Il
Takushi Kyosokyoku (Taxi Crazy Rhapsody)
It is basically a Romeo and Juliet-style love story between a zainichi Korean boy and a Japanese girl.
Go is a film based on a novel of kaneshiro Kazuki, 2000 and also a manga version was published
between 2002-2004.
Furthermore, we can find recent examples of Koreans in Japanese cinema in Ajian blue (Asian blue,
Horikawa Hiromichi, 1995), about Korean war time laborers; Aoi chong (Blue Chong, by the zainichi
Lee Sang-il, 2000), with a existentialist debate about the director feeling neither Japanse nor Korean;
Dograce (Sai Yoichi, 1998); Mo ichido kisu (kiss me once more, 2000) or Mitabi no kaikyo (Three trips
across the strait, Koyama Seijiro, 1995), the first J film open in Seoul. White, David. How East Asian
Films are Reshaping National Identities. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.
Desser, David. Eros plubs Massacre. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp 145
Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. “REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI” in Japanese Cinema and Otherness
Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness. London & New York: Routledge.
About 250 propaganda films were made during the period from the early 1920s to August 1945.
These films were made by Koreans and Japanese film-makers. The censorship was established in Korea
from the beginning but it became stricter in the mid-1930s, and Korean film-makers were forced to
produce pro-J films. In 1940 the Korean Film Directive was enacted and in 1942 all Korean film
production and distribution companies were integrated under the government’s supervision, into the
Chei (Choson Film Production Ltd), and the use of Korean language in films was also banned.
This film is a good example of the nai-sen ittai attempt, both in representation and film production
(represented imperial ideology and at the production level, employed both Japana and Koreans stars and
was premiered simultaneously across Japan and Korea).
Desser, David. Eros plubs Massacre. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. “REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI” in Japanese Cinema and Otherness
Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness. London & New York: Routledge.
Korean communities could be found in Russia and different parts of the Japanese Empire: Dutch East
Indies, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Pacific and Taiwan, the island of Sakhalin, and also Australia
and Hawai, although the majority of overseas Koreans resided in Japan, 1.45 millions - and Manchuria
1.475 millions (United States Joint Intelligence Study Publishing Board 1992: 271).
Liberation encouraged many overseas Koreans to return to their ancestral homeland, and after the
war´s end the population of Southern Korea increased by an estimated 22%, nearly 3.5 million, this
figure includes repatriated Koreans, 510.000 refugees from the North and 700.000 births over this
period (“Report on the Occupation Area” 1992:488).
On the other, any remote connection with the communist North meant risked for Japan-based Koreans
to imprisonment, torture and possible death if they attempted to return to southern Korea (the ancestral
home of the majority of this population (98% of first-generation Koreans in Japan). Moreover, they
were often regarded by Korean authorities with distrust following the idea that “Koreans who lived in
Japan for a number of years as laborers or business men are most likely to be imbued with the Japanese
 
ideas” (Ko, Mika.Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of
Japaneseness. London & New York: Routledge)
Sonia Ryang & Lie John. Diaposra Without Homeland. Being Korean in Japan. Berkeley and Los
Angeles: University of California Press.
Usually associated to the Jewish Diaspora, means an original ethnic persecution as the cause of loss of
homeland accompanied by a strong sense of connection to home (homeland) unlike later generations of
in zainichi characters represented in films from the late 1980s, in which there is an ongoing crisis of
identity, specifically related to the loss of an original homeland (real or imaginary) since they are born in
a place that is not considered homeland by the community. In this generation, as well as its
cinematographic representation, the picture becomes more complex and will need to be understood
through another perspective, in the light of another Diaspora model. (Sonia Ryang & Lie John. Diaposra
Without Homeland. Being Korean in Japan. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press,
pp. 81-106).
They called themselves zairy Chsenjin “Koreans remaining in Japan”. In fact US Occupation and
Japanese authorities too, assumed that the Korean community would disappear from reborn postwar
Japan. Then the term chsenjin became common. Although it lit. means “Korean” it was used for a long
time in Japan evoking denigration and dehumanization.
Both, Republic of Korea and the Democractic Peopple’s Republic of Korea were founded in 1948, and
with the Korean War braking out in 1950, splitting the Korean population (into South Korea or North
Korea supporters), North and South Korea regarded each other as “inauthentic” and traitors, denying the
other’s existence as illegitimate. From the Japanese point of view it did not matter either way since
Japan had no formal diplomatic relations with either Korean government until 1965. Thus, chosenjin or
kankokujin made no difference, for Japanese ‘s authorities they had the same degree of statelessness and
thus unstable residential status.
Actually, the return of sovereign power to the Japanese nation, in San Francisco Peace Treaty, 1952, all
former colonies were freed from Japanese control but also it freed Japan from ensuring rights and
compensations to Koreans or other former colonials subjects reaming in Japan.
Sonia Ryang & Lie John. Diaposra Without Homeland. Being Korean in Japan. Berkeley and Los
Angeles: University of California Press.
Mark points out several reasons for discrimination of Japan-based Koreans, in the main, “very poor,
uneducated, and unskilled, even by low Korean standards, was vastly inferior to the Japanese” according
to the report prepared by the Office of Strategic Services, “Alliens in Japan”, the Korean-Japan
relationship in rather negative terms since the “Korean people were seen as living apart from the
Japanese, unwilling to assimilate”. (Mark E. Occupations of Korea and Japan and the Origins of the
Korean Diaspora in Japan. in Diaspora without Homeland. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
California Press).
Lie, John. Zainichi (Koreans in Japan): Diasporic Nationalism and Postcolonial Identity. Berkeley,
Los Angeles, London: University of CaliforniaPress
The novel and television-drama turned film in 1959 by Shinobu Hashimoto. There was a remake by
Katsuo Fukuzawa released in 2008.
The main character reveals his Korean ethnicity to his fellow Japanese crewmen and is well accepted.
But at the end, Kimura is captured by a Korean ship, his Japanese fellows label him a Korean spy while
he is in fact accused of being pan-chopparai (half-japanese), and beaten to death by Korean soldiers.
This film represents well the empty space that zainichi occupied between the Koreas and Japan, as
aliens in both places. As Tadao Sat suggests, this is one of the first films which dealt with the tragic in-
between status of the zainichi, who were not accepted either by the Japanese or by the Koreans in
(South) Korea.
It is based on a book by Yi Yunbogi. It focuses on one 10-years-old-boy living in poverty on the
streets of Taegu, South Korea. He describes Yunbogi’s poverty and situates it within the context of
Japanese exploitation of Koreans and the opens for rebellion and revolution. Yunbogi is the oldest of 3
boys and a girl. Their mother left them and the father is ill. Yungobgi tries to support his brothers and
sisters as gum peddler, goatherd, a shoeshine boy and a newspaper seller. The narration informs us that
there are 50,000 war orphans on the streets of Korean’s cities. Both aesthetic and content may call to
mind the Italian Neo-Realist cinema, especially Vittorio de Sica Sciuscia (shoeshine, 1946), but unlike
de Sica, Oshima does not blame conditions on war and social customs. Ko, Mika. Chapter 6.
“REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI” in Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism
and the Problem of Japaneseness. London & New York: Routledge
 
Despite the announcement of an assistance package to ease the return to Korea in 1959, under the
“principle of free choice” (meaning remain in Japan, or be repatriated to either North or South Korea),
the conservative and anticommunist South Korean administration of Rhee prevented Koreans affiliated
with the pro-North Joryeon group from returning to South Korea (to where 98% of the community
originally belonged). However, North Korea had offered free transport, jobs and housing to “returnees”.
This policy caused the 1960s mass repatriation to North Korea out of ideological conviction.
“US report”, Deparmtent of Diplomatic Section GHQ SCAP, 1948
US authorities were afraid that communist agents were entering Japan in “in the guise of [Korean]
refugees” (Report on the Occupation Area” 1992:489). And another US study claimed “Koreans served
as the link between Japanese communists and those of the continent of Asia – Korea, Chinese and
Russian” (US Department of Diplomatic Section GHQ SCAP, 1948).
Koshiro, Yukiko. “Review of Trans-Pacific Racisms and the U.S. Occupation of Japan” in American
Historical Review, Apr., 2001, vol. 106, no. 2, p. 542-543
Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. “REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI” in Japanese Cinema and Otherness
Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness.). London & New York: Routledge.
Morris-Suzuki, Teresa. “Cap. 2. Freedom and Homecoming” in Diaspora without Homeland.
Berkeley: University of California Press, pp 49.
Ryang, Sonia & Lie, John. Diaspora without Homeland. Berkeley: University of California Press,
The first work inspired by the Komatsugawa Incident was the 1959 Fukuzawas Shichir’s short story
kenran no isu (The magnificent chair), about a Japanese boy named Yoshio who molests and murders
two women; in 1961, Kinoshita Jinji screenplay Kuchibue ga fuyu no sora ni… (A whistle in the Winter
sky…), broadcasted on NHK but it ends with a suicide instead of a rape/murder; Shirosaka Yoshio´s
1962 screenplay Tanin no chi (Blood of a stranger) is the story of a zainichi Korean boy who rapes and
murders his girlfriend after she finds out he is zainichi Korean; in November, 1962, the same month of
Ri´s execution, e kenzabur published Sakebigoe, a novel that includes a half-Japanese, half-Korean
character named Kure Takao who fantasizes about raping Japanese women; In 1967, the avant-garde
playwright Sat Makoto restaged the Komatsugawa Incident as a play-within-a-play in Atashi no
biitoruzu (My Beatles): the two main characters rehears a play based on the original incident; in 1981,
the zainichi Korean author Kim Sok-pom revisited the Komatsugawa Incident in his novel Saishi naki
matsuri (The priestless festival), which depicts a zainichi Korean man tormented by fears of raping and
murdering women.
This is a political representation in which the film “comes back to the reality by ways other than those
that reality proposes. It refuses the conventional mechanism of identification and employs the Brechtian
“distantiation effect” to encourage spectators to maintain a critical distance, something very
characteristic in Oshima 1960s’ films. He operates the renewal of the cinematographic language
together with a political commitment and a reflexive concern of the cinematographic media itself,
looking for a new film expression, within the international experimentations, aimed at dismantling the
“artifice”. Ko, Mika. Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem
of Japaneseness. London & New York: Routledge, pp.140
Such a strategy of distancing is most vividly exemplified in the film´s ending, when Oshima´s voice-
over addresses to the film´s spectators, he questions the spectators’ position in the relation to the film,
asking “where are you in this film and what is this film for you to be there?” (Ollman, B. “Why does the
Emperor need the Yakuza: Prolegomenon to a Marxist Theory of the Japanese State” in New Left
Review, 8 March/April 2001, p. 89).
And the last image of the sole rope, where the main character has disappeared makes the spectator
thing about several questions, who is R? Is that Oshima wants to remember using “R” the case of the
Korean who set himself on fire in 1971 after writing “I´m just too tired. I don´t have the energy to go on
anymore?” (Scott, Christopher. Cap.”R is for Rapist” in Invisible Men: The Zainichi korean presence in
Postwar Japanese Culture. Doctoral thesis. Stanford University, 59). Or is Oshima with the shot of the
rope addressing to the notion of invisibility of Koreans within the Japanese society?
Th e 1 st Asia n Confer en ce on Cultu ra l S tu die s !
Osa ka, J apan, 2 011 !
he A sian Confe renc e on C u ltur a l St u dies !
onfe renc e pro c eedi n gs 2 0 11!
For th e Inter na tio na l A ca demic F oru m & Th e I AF OR In terna ti ona l Adv is ory B oa rd!
Reverend Professor Stuart D. B. Picken, Chairman of the
Japan-Scotland Society, UK
Professor Tien-Hui Chiang, National University of Tainan,
Chinese Taipei
Dr. Adith Cheosakul, Associate Professor, Sasin Graduate
Institute of Business Administration, Chulalongkorn
University, Thailand
Mr Marcus Chidgey, CEO, Captive Minds
Communications Group, London, UK!
Professor Steve Cornwell, Osaka Jogakuin University,
Osaka, Japan
Professor Marina Dabic, Zagreb University, Croatia
Professor June Henton, Dean of the School of Human
Sciences, Auburn University, USA
Professor Sue Jackson, Pro-Vice Master of Teaching and
Learning, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
Principal Masayasu Kano, Tsukuba International School,
Tsukuba, Japan
Vice-Consul Kathryn Kiser, United States State
Department, Jordan
Mrs Eri Kudo, Head Private Sector Fundraising, UN World
Food Programme Japan, Tokyo, Japan
Mrs Daniela Locreille, Director of Student Marketing,
Hobsons, USA!
Mr Sakate Masao, President, Sakate Company Ltd, &
Advisor S.E.A. Judo Federation
Professor Michiko Nakano, Waseda University, Tokyo,
Ms Karen Newby, Director, Par les mots solidaires, Paris,
Mr David Paul, President, David English House,
Hiroshima, Japan
Professor Michael Pronko, Meiji Gakuin University,
Tokyo, Japan!
Professor June Xianjun Qian, Planning and Quality
Assurance Director, School of Economics and
Management, Tsinghua University, China
Mr Mohamed Salaheen, Country Director, UN World Food
Programme, Japan & Republic of Korea
Professor Gary Swanson, University of Northern Colorado,
Mr Lowell Sheppard, Director Asia-Pacific, HOPE
International Development Agency
Dr David Wilkinson, Associate Dean, International and
External Programs, La Trobe University, Australia
Mr Takayuki Yamada, Chairman, IAFOR Japan
Professor Kensaku Yoshida, Sophia University, Tokyo,
Mrs Elly Zaniewicka, BBC Political Programmes, London,
Th e I nt ern at io nal A cad emi c For um 20 11!
The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)
Aza Katahira 23-4 801, Ouaza Nagakute
Aichi-gun, Aichi-ken, Nagakute-cho
480-1131 Japan!
SS N: 2185-6168!
he A sian C onfere nce on Cultur al Stu dies 2 011!
Offic ial Co nferen ce Pro ceedin gs 201 1!
Cross Cultural Perspective of Research Ethics in Southeast Asia
Mary Ditton p. 1
Original or Western Imitation: The Case of Arab Theatre
Abdulaziz Alabdullah p. 26
"And in my heart unmake what seems inhospitable and out of place": Landscapes of Inclusion in
Marlene van Niekerk's Memorandum (2006)
Lara Buxbaum p. 37
Knowledge Transfer Process of Thai Traditional Drum by Local Philosophers
Thuntuch Viphatphumiprathes p. 50
The Polarization of Hindi and Urdu
Christine Everaert p. 62
Redefining Kung Fu Body: The Spectacle of Kung Fu Panda
Wayne Wong p. 76
Politics of Negotiation: Thai Gay Men's Appropriation of Public Space
Jaray Singhakowinta p. 84
Good Community for a New Brave World
Andrzej Szahaj p. 97
‘Brave New World’ Bridging the Divide through Collaboration Beyond Boundaries: An
Examination of Ensuing Interdependence between the West and Africa in the 21st century
Chukwunenye Clifford Njoku p. 104
Postmodern Sex and Love in Murakami Haruki’s Norwegian Wood
Yat-him Michael Tsang p. 119
Discovering Minorities in Japan: First Korean Representations in Japanese Cinema
Marcos Pablo Centeno Martin p. 125
Methodological Trouble: Re-Considering the Phenomenologist Exploration on the Identity of Thai
Sant Suwatcharapinun p. 139
Tourism as the Cultural Governance: Jiangs, Mainland Tourist and the (de)politicization of
Cross-border Mobility
Chun-Kai Woo p. 147
Consumption Performativity, Deployment and Boycott Among Taiwanese Gay Men - A
Critical Case Study of the ‘Chao Ge Phenomenon'
Dennis Chwen-der Lin p. 162
American Migrants in the Yokohama Treaty Port: The Construction of National Identity
Chester Proshan p. 175
The Reconstruction of Good and Bad through Melodrama in Modern Thai Society
Nareenoot Damrongchai p. 196
A Study of the Memory of Place of Tadao Ando's Architecture
Ping-Yu Tsai
Ching-I Wu
Cheng-Chih Liu p. 208
The Seduction of Nonsense: From Kuso to Baudrillard and Back
Tsung-huei Huang
Yen-bin Chiou p. 221
Are Civilizations Closed Monads? (F. Koneczny and S.P. Huntington)
Marek Jakubowski p. 224
The Kimono in the Mirror of European Oriental-ism
Svitlana Rybalko p. 231
The Impact of Politics in the Development of Contemporary African and Palestinian Literatures
Ali Yigit
Mahmut Kaleli p. 256
Comparative Studies on the Collective Learning Processes Involved in the Establishment and
Operation of local Museums in Thailand
Yanin Rugwongwan p. 266
The Impact of Social Change on the Transformation in the Traditional Dwelling of Central
Piyarat Mullard p. 276
The Poor and the Media in Turkey: Looking at Each Other
Emre Gokalp
Hakan Ergul
Incilay Cangoz p. 290
"We share the work but not the role"
Anette Schumacher p. 307
The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies. ACCS 2011
Discovering Minorities in Japan:
First Korean Representations in Japanese Cinema.
Category: Migration
Marcos Pablo Centeno Martín
Phd candidate in Film Studies, University of Valencia.
Research fellow at the Department of Theory of Language and
Communication Sciences. "V Segles Program" Scholarship holder (from
October 2008).
Waseda University Exchange Researcher.
Associate Fellow, Global COE Program at the International Institute for
Education and Research in Theatre and Film Arts. Tsubouchi Memorial
Theatre, Waseda University (from September 2010).
Tlfn: 0034 64818 5636 (Spain) / 080 4166 5636 (Japan)
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Chapter 6REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness.)
  • Mika Ko
Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. "REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI" in Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness.). London & New York: Routledge. 33 Morris-Suzuki, Teresa. "Cap. 2. Freedom and Homecoming" in Diaspora without Homeland.
REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI" in Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness
  • David White
White, David. How East Asian Films are Reshaping National Identities. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 167. See also Ko, Mika. Chapter 6. "REPRESENTING THE ZAINICHI" in Japanese Cinema and Otherness Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness.). London & New York: Routledge.
Furthermore, we can find recent examples of Koreans in Japanese cinema in Ajian blue (Asian blue, Horikawa Hiromichi, 1995), about Korean war time laborers
Furthermore, we can find recent examples of Koreans in Japanese cinema in Ajian blue (Asian blue, Horikawa Hiromichi, 1995), about Korean war time laborers; Aoi chong (Blue Chong, by the zainichi Lee Sang-il, 2000), with a existentialist debate about the director feeling neither Japanse nor Korean;
Mitabi no kaikyo (Three trips across the strait, Koyama Seijiro, 1995), the first J film open in Seoul. White, David. How East Asian Films are Reshaping National Identities
  • Kisu Mo Ichido
Mo ichido kisu (kiss me once more, 2000) or Mitabi no kaikyo (Three trips across the strait, Koyama Seijiro, 1995), the first J film open in Seoul. White, David. How East Asian Films are Reshaping National Identities. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.