How was ZAINICHI treated - seeing Maeda
There is no wrestling freak who doesn't know Akira Maeda, who started UWF, a wrestling league in 1984 as a leader of wrestling world.
He is also known to be a ZAINICHI, which means "North or South Korean staying in Japan". He's the third generation.
I saw a documentary TV program following the life of Akira Maeda, and it was very interesting:
His grandparents came to Japan from South Korea to earn money. They spent a hard time in Japan, and so were his parents. After WWII, they decided to stay in Japan and give birth to a baby boy, Akira Maeda.
His father divorced his wife, finding another woman, letting Maeda alone sometimes. Maeda, released to the harsh world at a young age, realized that only power can rule. What he was doing at that time was to look for muscular men to do street fight.
He once ran into a discrimination against ZAINICHI when he proposed a marriage to a Japanese woman and talked to her parent. He was turned down, "We made a rule not to marry those people," said the parent. Maeda destroyed the house as a revenge.
After experiencing many bumpy times in his juvenile, he ran into wrestling, which lead him to his new career.
Hmmmm..... let me make a comment on his talk a little bit. He destroyed the woman's house? I think that's why he is turned down! Plus, obviously he was so violent to continue street fighting. No wonder he was turned down. I think it's not because he was zainichi. He was just not decent.
But it must be noted that he changed his discipline, trying to be a justice side. He disclosed his secret about himself being a zainichi to mass media a decade ago. It must take a lot of nerve for him to confess that he is a zainichi, and he's got a courage. You've got to remember there are many good zainichi contributing to society while some others commit crimes. It's for sure that his deed encouraged many zainichi who didn't find any confidence about their entity. Now he is designated as one of the greatest wreslers respected by many supporters from both sides.
Let me pick up other his talkings :
Maeda: "I got Japanese nationality in 1984. I don't have a good feeling about Korean nationality because it looks like a brand only existing in paperwork. My relatives studied hard and failed to get a job. "
Interviewer: "Did you notice any discrimination throughout your career?"
Maeda: "Not in daily life. But when it comes to troubles, they whisper that they'd never understand Maeda because he's zainichi. "
Interviewer at the studio: "He also left us a couple of lively remarks such as 'The enemy of zainichi is zainichi' or 'Be a good man if you don't wanna suffer from a discrimination.' "
I've found another interview in June 15, 1999, in "OneKorea News":
Maeda:"When I confessed my place of origin, many zainichi people gathered to me, and complain about discrimination against zainichi by Japanese. But I don't like those people. Why? because other zainichi who went back to North Korea in 1960's, in contrast to us, are having a more serious discrimination in North Korea. But people here never look at the fact and only accusing of the discrimination in front of them."
(Let me add a comment. zainichi who went back to either Korea are called half-Japanese there and subject to a greater discrimination in Korea. It is partly because they can't speak enough Korean. But Korean people's mind is that zainichi were sneaking out of Korea, escaping conscription or Korean war.)