Zainichi Koreans Invited to Home Base: Building Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on the Development of Korean Baseball (1956–70)

in Sport History Review
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  • 1 Chung-Ang University
  • 2 Gyeongsang National University
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Zainichi Koreans are a unique political product of the Korean Peninsula. They were taken to Japan under the Japanese occupation (1910–45) of Korea and stayed there without becoming naturalized Japanese citizens. Baseball was a mechanism for the children of Zainichi Koreans, who were oppressed on Japanese soil, to overcome the discrimination they were experiencing in their daily lives and assimilate into Japanese society. From 1956 to 1970, South Korean newspapers invited Zainichi Korean children playing baseball to their home country for regular national baseball exchanges. This event provided nourishment for the growth of Korean baseball and served as the only cultural bridge for Zainichi Korean children to experience and understand their motherland, which they had previously only imagined.

Woo and Son are with the Department of Physical Education, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea. Lee is with the Department of Physical Education, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea.

Lee ( is corresponding author.