S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.4 no.1(2018)
An Expo of Their Own: How Ethnic Koreans in Japan Appropriated the Japan World Exposition in Osaka
- Jeong, HoSeok
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.4 No.1, pp. 133-165
- Ethnic Korean Residents in Japan; orean Residents’ Association for the Support of EXPO ‘70; homeland contributions; Japan World Exposition; supportive long-distance nationalism; gift as communication
- This paper explores the historical complexity and dynamics of contributions to the motherland by ethnic Koreans in Japan associated with Mindan (Korean Residents Union in Japan) and examines the support initiative for the 1970 Japan World Exposition in Osaka (hereafter Expo). Mindan established the Korean Residents Association for the Support of EXPO 70 in August 1969 to engage in various large-scale activities in support of the Expo, including covering the 50,000 US-dollar expense to build and manage the South Korean pavilion, organizing National Day, and inviting 9,710 compatriots from the homeland. The rapidly growing business community in Osaka, incidentally the leading coalition opposed to Chongnyŏn (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, affiliated with North Korea), formed the backbone of this support initiative. These businessmen actively developed cooperative and mutually dependent relations with the South Korean government while promoting cooperation and solidarity within the region. Considering the Korean pavilion an opportunity to proclaim the industrialization of South Korea, they projected a multifaceted vision of a desirable future, emphasizing the organizational power of Mindan to elevate Korean national prestige in the eyes of Japan and the world, as well as in regard to Chongnyŏn. This highlighted the importance of businessmen within Mindan and the Korean community and enhanced the status of Osaka with respect to Tokyo. Conceived as an identity project under the proposed permanent residency system, the Expo support initiative knitted together local and national patriotism and attested to the possibility of a new kind of homeland orientation, allowing one to contribute to the homeland, as well as to their local community. The initiative thus served as the setting in which first-generation Korean residents in Japan came to identify themselves as Zainichi.