Sakhalin Koreans

Sakhalin Koreans

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Sakhalin Koreans

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Sakhalin Koreans are Russian citizens and residents of Korean descent living on Sakhalin Island, who trace their roots to the immigrants from the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces of Korea during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the latter half of the Japanese colonial era. At the time, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, then known as Karafuto Prefecture, was under the control of the Empire of Japan; the Japanese government both recruited and forced Korean labourers into service and shipped them to Karafuto to fill labour shortages resulting from World War II. The Red Army invaded Karafuto days before Japan's surrender; while all but a few Japanese there repatriated successfully, almost one-third of the Koreans could not secure permission to depart either to Japan or their home towns in South Korea. For the next forty years, they lived in exile. In 1985, the Japanese government offered transit rights and funding for the repatriation of the original group of Sakhalin Koreans; however, only 1,500 of them returned to South Korea in the next two decades. The vast majority of Koreans of all generations chose instead to stay on Sakhalin.

Due to differing language and immigration history, Sakhalin Koreans may or may not identify themselves as Koryo-saram. The term "Koryo-saram" may be used to encompass to all Koreans in the former USSR, but typically refers to ethnic Koreans from Hamgy┼Ćng province whose ancestors emigrated to the Russian Far East in the 19th century, and...
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