December 04, 2021

Minorities in North Korea, part 1: Japanese-Koreans

Once a valued source of hard currency, repatriates from Japan have fallen on hard times

North Korea can be described as a country without national minorities – some 5,000 Chinese permanent residents notwithstanding. However, in the North there are some minority groups that could be described as ethnic, if we stretch the definition of the term a bit.

Once upon a time, these ethnic Koreans (or their parents or grandparents) chose to move to North Korea from overseas. Once in the DPRK, they discovered that they were to be made into a “special” and clearly defined, tightly controlled hereditary group to be at once privileged and discriminated against.