What’s in the Status? On Resident Koreans in Japan



Earlier this year, over 600 academics from around the world signed an online petition urging the South Korean government to grant a visa for Chong Yong-hwan, an associate professor at Meiji Gakuin University. Although Chong had been formally invited by researchers in Seoul to give a keynote speech on his most recent monograph, he was denied entry to South Korea at the last minute due in part to his Chōsen-seki (“Korean registry”) status in Japan. Chong was by no means the first individual to be denied a South Korean visa for this reason. Since 1952, the year the Chōsen-seki designation went into full effect, Chōsen-seki Koreans from Japan have consistently been refused entry into South Korea and/or monitored closely by both governments, simply because of an ambiguous legal category that represents neither nationality nor citizenship, only resident status.