Resident Koreans in Japan (Zainichi Kankoku/Chosenjin) have been the largest minority group in Japan for the last fifty years, constituting approximately half of Japan's entire noncitizen population in the 1990s.1 During the colonial period, a large number of Koreans migrated to Japan to become part of the labor underclass. Some were physically coerced, and others were forced to do so for economic reasons. In post-World War II Japan, the Japanese government forced Resident Koreans either to become Japanese nationals (legal citizens) or to retain their Korean nationality by remaining "aliens" with limited legal and civil rights. Resident Koreans have fought against the Japanese government's oppressive social policies for years. One of the most important sites of their struggle has been education, to ensure that their youth would maintain, or develop, their identities as Koreans. In the area of Japanese studies, a volume edited by Changsoo Lee and George De Vos (1981) was the first attempt to address the issues of Resident Koreans. Since the 1990s, new perspectives have emerged that regard the study of Resident Koreans as a significant site from which to examine Japan's multiculturalism, or lack thereof (e.g., Fukuoka, 2000; Ryang, 1997, 2000; Weiner, 1997). Although these studies have underscored the issues of Korean ethnic identity and education as crucial, few have explored the history of Resident Korean education as a case through which questions of curriculum and pedagogy may be considered (e.g., do minority students need to be taught their own language, history, and culture? Do students of the majority group need to understand the heritage of minority groups? If so, what kinds of approaches need to be develop Some educational research has looked at Resident Koreans and their school performance, and implicated the legacy of colonialism as a factor in their academic failure (e.g., Ogbu, 1987). This research, however, with a somewhat narrow focus (i.e., academic achievement), does not adequately examine the complex history of the oppression Resident Koreans have faced and the social, political, and educational struggles they-sometimes with the support of Japanese educators and citizens-have carried on in the postwar period. These struggles have been postwar, postcolonial in nature, rather than part of the colonial legacy per se; thus, postcolonial perspectives are essential to any study that would attempt to comprehend them. The present study critically examines the postcolonial politics of curriculum and teaching in the educational struggles of Resident Koreans. In particular, it examines the relation of power to education (Apple, 1982) and of identity and difference to educational struggles (e.g., Apple, 1999). Joan W. Scott (1988) argues that the operation of power depends on the construction of a ground of difference (involving a set of binary categories), and that, in turn, any challenge to the power must come from a ground of difference. This study examines the exercise of power in constructing the category of Resident Koreans, and the ways Resident Koreans have challenged that power from various grounds of difference.
|Struggles Over Difference: Curriculum, Texts, and Pedagogy in The Asia-Pacific
|State University of New York Press
|Published - 2005
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