S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies (SJJS) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.2 no.1(2016)
Dynamics of Occupational Status among Koreans in Japan: Analyzing Census Data between 1980 and 2010
- Higuchi, Naoto
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.2 No.1, pp. 1-25
- It has been widely claimed that the only way Koreans in Japan were able to make a living in Japan was to establish their own businesses because of the inherent employment discrimination within Japanese society. On the other hand, it is also argued that, from the 1980s, employment discrimination has been alleviated. How, then, has the occupational status of the Koreans in Japan changed? The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the changes that occurred in the last thirty years using customized tabulation data of Japans population census and testing the validities of three analytical frameworks, namely ethnic enclave, economic assimilation, and polarization. First, while self-employed businesses have shrunk in scale, it can be argued that the ethnic enclave continues to be upheld as the young generation participates in maintaining a sustained ethnic economy. Second, the Koreans in Japan who were born after 1966 have largely become white-collar workers, and for them, the occupational disparity between the Japanese and Koreans has been diminishing. This tendency can be interpreted as the process of economic assimilation that occurs after generational shifts. Third, the Koreans in Japan who were born between 1946 and 1965 are faced with an increasing number of closed businesses and unemployment. Aside from the high unemployment rate in general, polarization does not seem to take place. While the disparity in unemployment rates among the younger generation persists, the first and second findings suggest that occupational disparity between the Koreans in Japan and the Japanese has largely been reduced.