According to a poll
of June 2018, 49% of South Korean people opposed accepting Yemenese
refugees, and 39% were in favor of accepting them. When the government
allowed them to have a license to work, the Korean people protested against the
government’s policy. They argued that the government allowed the refugees to
steal the jobs of its own people. The person whom I met in the market was one
of the people with this painful background.
Apart from their
tragic background, the profile of the man’s work is very interesting, because I
never imagined that a Muslim could work in a restaurant that sells sushi. I
asked myself, “Sushi ... Is it haram or halal? Is it legal for Muslims to
touch Sushi?” I still don’t have an answer.
I could catch a strange feeling of familiarity.
What was it? I soon realized that the scene of Jeju was quite similar to that
of Shimonoseki. The Zainichi are the foreign residents in Japan. When I went to
Shimonoseki last year, the purpose was to build an area of agreement for our
mission of reconciliation with the North Koreanophile School. I remembered the
story of old generations and of teenagers, a story of discrimination and of
their struggle to preserve their identity as Korean. I already mentioned the
similarity between the refugees in Korea and the image of ghost. The image of
Zainichi also has the image of a ghost: obscure, dangerous, and dreadful. The
South Koreanophile Zainichis were usually hesitant to show their identity
openly. They have their Japanese names and go to the ordinary schools in Japan.
But North Koreanophile Zainichi are very tough and brave. They insist on their
Korean name, and some go to their own school. The problem is that their
graduation has no legal recognition. So, they have great disadvantage when they
try to go on to higher education.