Neither North nor South - just Korean

'Go back to Korea'

Despite decades of assimilation, Koreans living in Japan are still treated as outsiders by the Japanese. The Straits Times investigates "another" Korea – that of Japan, where 480,000 Koreans and their descendants live.
The Tokyo Korean Ninth Elementary School holds a summer festival every year showcasing traditional Korean arts and music performances as well as food. The festival is attended by students, alumni and families who live around the school, whether they
The Tokyo Korean Ninth Elementary School holds a summer festival every year showcasing traditional Korean arts and music performances as well as food. The festival is attended by students, alumni and families who live around the school, whether they are Korean or Japanese.ST PHOTOS: ASHLEIGH SIM
The headquarters of Chongryon, the Pyongyang-affiliated General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which is the de facto embassy of North Korea.
The headquarters of Chongryon, the Pyongyang-affiliated General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which is the de facto embassy of North Korea.
The Tokyo Korean Ninth Elementary School holds a summer festival every year showcasing traditional Korean arts and music performances as well as food. The festival is attended by students, alumni and families who live around the school, whether they
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR RYOM MUN SONG

The Trump-Kim summit drew Singaporeans' eyes to Korea, but the legacy of the wars that shaped it lives on beyond the Korean peninsula. In this feature, The Straits Times investigates "another" Korea - that of Japan, where 480,000 Koreans and their descendants live, the result of Japan's 35-year colonisation. Despite decades of assimilation, they are still treated as outsiders by the Japanese. Indeed, many Koreans in Japan still dream of a reunified Korea - and of perhaps returning to a home they have never been to.

The divisions between Seoul, Pyongyang are mirrored within the ethnic Korean community in Japan.

Associate Professor Ryom Mun Song, stationed in the small guardhouse as part of his faculty duties at Korea University in Tokyo, has to field a certain kind of phone call every now and then.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2018, with the headline ''Go back to Korea''. Print Edition | Subscribe