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Creating Subaltern Counterpublics : Korean Women in Japan and Their Struggle for Night School

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This is a study of a political and social movement instigated by older Korean women in Japan, beginning in the 1990s. Koreans in Japan have occupied a rather unique position among ethnic minority groups. Until recently they constituted the largest group of "foreign nationals". Yet, they have been marginalized politically, socially, economically and culturally. Korean women are doubly-disadvantaged, treated as inferior to men by both Korean and Japanese society. Furthermore, the first generation of Korean women migrants were not educated as children, rendering them functionally illiterate, and thus triply marginalized. Late in life, when family and work responsibilities were becoming less onerous, local authorities created educational opportunities, which they took up in unexpected numbers, overloading the facilities. The authorities' responses effectively re-marginalized them. The elderly Korean women took a stance, in the process reconstituting themselves as social and political actors. This book examines that self-transformation process.

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