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Contested EmbraceTransborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea$
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Jaeeun Kim

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804797627

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804797627.001.0001

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“Who Owns the Nation?”

“Who Owns the Nation?”

Cold War Competition over Zainichi Koreans in Japan

(p.73) Two “Who Owns the Nation?”
Contested Embrace

Jaeeun Kim

Stanford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the prolonged and vehement competition between North and South Korea over the allegiance of colonial-era Korean migrants who remained in Japan in the context of decolonization and the Cold War. The divergent transborder nation-building strategies that the two postcolonial states employed to make their own docile citizens out of this opaque and recalcitrant population are identified. North Korea launched a successful repatriation campaign and heavily invested in Korean enclaves, presenting itself as a safe haven in which marginalized Koreans could find an escape. South Korea instead fashioned itself as a broker that could facilitate their integration into the Japanese mainstream, and a gatekeeper that could control their engagement with families and home communities in South Korea. The control of the bureaucratic persona of Koreans in Japan, buttressed by the consensual practices of other states, was critical for South Korea’s eventual ascendancy in this competition.

Keywords:   Cold War, postcolonial state, nationalism, ethnic minority, diaspora, Zainichi Koreans, transnationalism, North Korea, South Korea, Japan

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