The Japanese government has announced it intends to pay for the dozens of North Korean schools operating in Japan; critics contend such “schools” are little more than brainwashing centres run by the North Korean government, teaching academically worthless anti-Japanese curricula and slavish obedience to the Dear Leader.
Prime Minister Hatoyama has made statements supporting the inclusion of the schools in the planned abolition of high school tuition fees. Previously they had been excluded from this and similar legislation for being beyond the pale even for Japan.
The schools (Chousen Gakkou / 朝鮮学校) are operated directly by the “Chongryon,” Japan’s North Korean residents’ group, itself directly operated and funded by the North Korean government. Members are part of the “Dear Leader” Stalinist personality cult centred on the Kim dynasty in North Korea.
“There’s nothing special about our school.”
Portraits of the Kims oversee the students at every turn, and anti-Japanese teachings are routine. Korean is the language of instruction and Japanese is taught only as a foreign language.
Over a third of the curriculum centres on “cultural studies,” which involves teaching the infallibility of the Dear Leader and the Juche ideology – critics contend that the standard of education is remedial by Japanese standards as a result, with graduates emerging unable to function in Japanese society.
Teachers possess no teaching qualifications save those given out by North Korean operated institutions, and students mostly find employment with Korean companies or further education at the North Korean operated “Korea University” in Kyushu.
The numbers attending these schools have plummeted over the years, from some 50,000 in the 1970s to a mere 10,000 today, though they still retain the same ideological fervour and outright hostility to Japan and America.
The Chongryon itself opposes Korean integration as Japanese citizens or otherwise, and is generally regarded as a political and economic tool of the North Korean state – in addition to propaganda organisations, it operates a variety of businesses, most notably many of the nation’s pachinko parlours. Critics say a key function is as a foreign currency earner for the Kims.
The schools at issue are exclusively North Korean and should not be confused as being involved with Korea proper – there are a few South Korean “international” schools in Japan, which are not associated with extreme teachings.
Most Koreans resident in Japan associate themselves with the south and maintain completely separate organisations from the North Korean affiliated residents – relations between the two sides are as icy as those on the peninsular.
The Democratic Party of Japan are generally reviled by right-wingers for being in the thrall of foreigners (specifically the Chinese and, especially, Japan’s large population of Koreans), a reputation which it does not seem will be leaving them any time soon.
Some arithmetic from a Japanese “Korean school” textbook:
“There were 10 Japanese but 5 were killed. How many wicked Japanese are currently fleeing?”
Soon to be courtesy of the Japanese government.