About Us







About Eclipse Rising

Eclipse Rising (ER) is an organization of, by, and for Zainichi Koreans, or postcolonial exiles of Korean descent in Japan. Our group recognizes and celebrates the rich and unique history of Zainichi Koreans in Japan, promotes Zainichi community development, peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula, and social justice for all oppressed groups in Japan, the United States, and beyond, through transnational education, advocacy, and solidarity. 



Background

Eclipse Rising started in the winter of 2008 when some Bay Area residents of Zainichi
Korean background decided it was time to finally start a community organization
to further the mass education of Zainichi Korean history.

We formed this organization to recognize the history and contributions Koreans
in Japan have made and to work toward social justice for all minorities in Japan. We
are also working to establish a stable and supportive community for Zainichi Koreans
in the U.S., where a growing number are immigrating to.

We consider Zainichi Koreans to be anyone of Korean descent from Japan whose family ended up in Japan as a result of colonization. Now we have expanded and diversified with members of different genders, sexual identities, nationality, racial background, linguistic abilities, educational backgrounds, ages, and locales.



Why "Eclipse Rising"?

The name “Eclipse Rising” is meant to counter the imperialist Japanese flag
depicting the “rising sun.” The Eclipse, though through few occurrences, is able to
cover the sun completely and change our perspective of the sun. We would like to view
the eclipse as a symbol of Koreans in Japan rising up against oppression and cultural
assimilation.



Understanding the Zainichi Cause

“Zainichi” literally translates to “(foreign) resident in Japan” and has historically been
used to refer to Koreans, who had been the largest ethnic minority group of Japan and
have lived in Japan as a result of Japanese colonization of Korea (1910-1945).

We use the term “Zainichi Korean” rather than “Korean-Japanese” since this directly
refers to the “virtually stateless” status of Zainichis, as well as the prevailing colonial
structural apartheid that continue to exist in Japan even to this day.

Although multiple generations of Koreans have been born in Japan, one will maintain the nationality of their parents unless they apply for Japanese citizenship -- which continues to be a long and frustrating process.

The Japanese government allowed Koreans in Japan to apply for Japanese citizenship even before the change of Nationality Act in 1984. But this Act made it easier mainly by changing the way to grant Japanese citizenship to children of Zainichi from only paternal line to both paternal and maternal lines. 

However, this law has tighter conditions for the people to apply for Japanese citizenship. The main purpose of this law was to have more half-Zainichi children to be Japanese citizen, thus encourage assimilation to Japan rather than having them keep their Korean nationality and fight against the discrimination. This is because Japanese assimilation policy and discrimination is based on nationality.

Recent trend is that more and more people in younger generation have Japanese citizenship, but cannot find their identity. Zainichi situation has become more complex than two decades ago.



Our Vision

We envision a world where Zainichi individuals are integral members of society
with agency to participate in meaningful decision-making that impact their lives and
future generations, where the dignity and rights of diverse members of society are
respected, fulfilled, and ensured as practice in all aspects of their lives and in society at large.

Today, Koreans and other ethnic minorities in Japan still suffer many
forms of discrimination. Despite Japan’s ratification of the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1995, Japan has yet to pass
a single domestic legislation criminalizing discrimination or to cease its assimilation
policies. In 2005, a United Nations special reporter expressed concerns about “deep and
profound” racism in Japan and insufficient government recognition of the problem.

Almost 90% of the Zainichi Korean population go by a Japanese alias to conceal their Korean identity*, and more Zainichi Koreans have increasingly sought to attain Japanese citizenship in recent years (provided approval by Japan’s Ministry of Justice)** in hopes to end their family’s history of suffering from discrimination and prejudice. However, the naturalization in reality functions more as an assimilation, and even after gaining Japanese citizenship, Zainichi Koreans continue to be discriminated against because of the deep-rooted racism in Japan.

* The 2000 Mindan Statistics

** The Ministry of Justice



Eclipse Rising's Long-Term Goals

Personal Liberation 
To be educated about our own history, and to find our voices within, so we may develop our own means of self-expression, writing, and speaking as who we are.

Community Development 
Develop ER as a vehicle to communicate and to offer a venue for Zainichi personal development, as well as facilitate various support services to respond to
and meet the needs of the Zainichi community in the United States.

Public Education and Awareness-Raising
using existing materials, and also developing resources and tools (e.g., films, curriculum,
etc.), to help educate the general public (both in Japan and the US) about the history and experience of Zainichi Koreans, along with other marginalized groups in Japan (such as the Ainu, Okinawan, Burakumin, etc.), as well as engage with progressive social justice groups to learn from each struggle/history in an effort to build an international solidarity movement.



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Haruki Eda,
Dec 29, 2010, 5:09 PM
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