There are 450,000 ethnic Koreans living in Japan.Many of third- and fourth-generation descendants of North Koreans, including many who were forcibly taken from their homeland to labor in mines and factories during Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 until its 1945 defeat in World War II.
Though many have become citizens of Japan or South Korea, these families remain loyal to their heritage, choosing to send their children to one of some 60 private schools that favor North Korea, teaching the culture and history.
Despite North Korean missile launches that flew over Japan some months back, students and graduates of these schools say they take pride in their community and view it as a haven from the discrimination they face in Japan. Portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il hang on classroom walls. Teachers instruct in the language of their ancestry, and the cafeteria serves kimchee for lunch.