In this paper, I examine the influence of the forcible drafting of Koreans on the formation of the Korean community in Japan dating from the late Japanese colonial period. Until Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule on 15 August 1945, approximately 2 million Koreans remained in Japan, or 10% of the total Korean population at that time. Some migrated to Japan in search of work, while others were forcibly mobilized for the Japanese governments policy of increasing and supporting the labor force during the Japanese war of aggression. Ninety thousand people were taken to Japan by force. After Japans surrender, most Koreans were able to return to their homeland in accordance with the repatriation policies of the GHQ that controlled Japan indirectly after the war. 1.5 million Koreans returned to Korea between August 1945 and August 1948. The reason the entire population of Koreans in Japan could not return was because the GHQ had acquiesced to the Japanese governments demand to postpone repatriation in favor of restoring the domestic economy. Accordingly, the GHQ strictly limited the amount of material possessions and property that Koreans could take back with them. Thus, for those Koreans with sizeable holdings, Koreans married to Japanese, or those who had settled down in Japan with their Korean family, the decision to leave Japan was not an easy one. Their descendants, the so-called second, third and fourth generation Korean-Japanese, have continued to shape the Korean community in Japan.
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