Kia Fatahi Faz Abad ‘22
Major: International Studies
Bio: Kia Fatahi Faz Abad is an American-born of half Japanese and half Persian descent and a Senior at Fordham University Lincoln Center. He studies International Studies and Economics, recently finding a niche in East Asian and Russian studies. As such, Kia aims to enter the field of diplomacy and national security for graduate school, and eventually, the U.S. government.
Title of Research: What’s It Like Being “Korean” in Japan: The Complex Identity of Zainichi Koreans in Contemporary Japan
Mentor: Dr. Asato Ikeda, Department of Art History
Abstract: This research article examines the origins and impacts of diasporas and underrepresented ethnic groups through a multi-layered study of 'Zainichi Koreans' — Koreans who migrated to Japan during the Japanese occupation of Korea and lived there since the early 1920s, as well as their descendants who are born and raised in Japan. By examining this historically important case, I clarify the process by examining the factors that gave significance to Zainichi identity while illustrating its complicated, fragmented, and even (in-)visible presence in a country viewed as a homogenous nation-state. The analysis was conducted through ethnographic research of the experiences and challenges of second-and third-generation Zainichi Koreans, alongside a variety of news articles, newspapers, and published reports. and scholarly articles. The case studies studied highlight several significant aspects of this community: the complex identity of "Zainichi" bound to nationality and political association, the perseverance of Korean identity through education, significant factors of integration in mainstream Japanese society, and experiences of discrimination as a Korean. This paper contributes to understanding the political behavior of transnational ethnic diasporas in Japan by explaining how Zainichi remain unrepresented and irrelevant in Japanese society despite working to preserve their Korean identity.