Museum Spotlighting Korean Residents to Open in Osaka

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hong Sung-ik stands near a stone monument on which the message “Monument of Symbiosis” is inscribed, in Ikuno Ward, Osaka.

OSAKA — A history museum centering on Korean residents in Japan will open in Ikuno Ward, Osaka, in April as part of efforts to promote a multicultural society.

According to the 2020 population census, the ward’s population totaled about 127,000, of whom foreign residents, mainly ethnic Koreans, accounted for 21.8%.

The ward is home to Osaka Korea Town, where a 500-meter-long street is lined with about 150 stores selling kimchi and other Korean foods, as well as merchandise related to South Korean celebrities.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Osaka Korea Town in Ikuno Ward, Osaka, is crowded with shoppers on Dec. 29.

The town is now crowded with young people, but its history began around the 1920s when many people relocated from the Korean Peninsula to this area in search for work. After World War II, the area developed as a Korean market for selling Korean foods and ethnic clothing.

Korean residents and a university professor were among those who came up with the idea of opening the museum in a bid to convey the town’s history to younger people.

In addition to about 2,000 books on Japan and the Korean Peninsula, the museum will showcase movies and TV dramas set in the area, as well as K-Pop culture through touch panels and video clips. They aim to open the museum and an associated cafe on April 29.

“I hope that the museum will not only lead the younger generation to enjoy subcultures but also into contact with the history of Japan and the Korean Peninsula, so that the museum will serve as a bridge for friendship that will promote mutual understanding,” said Hong Sung-ik, 66, one of the people leading the initiative.