Yes, I find this slightly disturbing, too. . .
It is in Japanese society, one where the myth of society as mono-racial and mono-ethnic is deeply embedded, that zainichi [ethnic Korean, more or less] youths live their lives. An enormous amount of invisible pressure is at work to assert that being "the same as others" is both vital and a matter of course. Even a slight deviation from the norm could render one a potential target of ostracism, bullying, and abuse.
In this context, the vast majority of zainichi youths regulate their "selves" in accordance with the Japanese majority, and act in a way that is "the same as others." They adopt Japanese pseudonyms (pass names) instead of Korean ethnic names. They "conceal" their ethnic origins in front of their Japanese peers and neighbors. Such are the examples of a disguise which allow Koreans to "pass" as Japanese. In most cases, "passing" performances go beyond disguise: many zainichi youths incorporate in these performances a sense of negative self-esteem, self -dislike. Some of them wish from the bottom of their hearts that they were Japanese. Such an attitude can be called the "assimilationist orientation."
Someone's probably done a definitive study on passing (racial/ethnic, gender, and orientation, probably others I Iack the imagination to come up with). Any suggestions on that?
We have conducted in-depth interviews with approximately 150 zainichi youths regarding their life histories since 1988. Each interview takes from 3 to 4 hours, and focuses on their ethnic identity, as it is subjectively understood by the respondent him/herself.
Overall, the following are our two major findings. Firstly, the vast majority of zainichi youths we interviewed had an experience of being exposed to some forms of discrimination and prejudice, either direct or indirect, either overt or covert, against themselves as Koreans by the majority Japanese, and have had or have identity crises. Therefore, we have to be critical of some common statements made by Japanese researchers, which overlook the complexity of the problem by saying that the zainichi youths are relatively smoothly accommodating themselves to Japanese society. This is in fact true when compared with the first generations who had been struggling with feelings of bitterness toward Japan and of nostalgia for their Korean homeland; and the second generations who had been desperately attempting to establish their economic bases and fighting against discrimination and harsh poverty. However, the accommodation to Japanese society of the zainichi youths is far from being free of psychological conflicts.
Secondly, we have observed a great diversity of zainichi identities. It is thus inappropriate for us to attribute to the zainichi, a great[er] homogeneity as a minority group than they have in reality. A traditional division of the zainichi identity into a type which strongly maintains its Korean ethnicity and another which loses its Korean ethnicity as a result of assimilation, is in fact too crude a dichotomy to reflect the present situation surrounding zainichi youths. A crucial problem hence arises: Why [do the] ways by which zainichi youths resolve their identity crises vary so much in reality?
Minor editing for clarity, sorry.
Don't suppose any of this sounds familiar. . .?
No, don't suppose it would. Those Black Studies courses would have been a complete waste of time, if you'd bothered taking any.