This paper discusses the complexity and the transition of the legal and social status of ethnic Koreans (Zainichi Koreans) after the Second World War. It outlines how the legal status of Zainichi Koreans without Japanese nationality remained precarious for four decades after the war. After numerous reforms in Japanese nationality law over the years, in 1991 finally the status of all the Zainichi Koreans with South Korean/Chōsen nationality was categorised into ‘special permanent residents.’ This paper also looks at two main ethnic organisations: pro-North Korea Chongryun and pro-South Korea Mindan. It examines how some Zainichi Koreans were split according to the organisations in which they participated, which led to the division of Korean communities in Japan.
Japan’s immigration control