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North Korean School

Nagano Korean School (長野朝鮮初中級学校) is an abandoned school for North-Koreans in Matsumoto.

This is as paradoxical as it gets but Japan has many North-Korean schools. Japan occupied Korea for 40 years before World War II and during this time a lot of Koreans migrated to Japan. After the defeat of Japan, those Koreans got their nationality back and became Koreans national, with a right to stay on the Japanese territory. In 1965, Japanese recognized South Korea as a legitimate government and the Koreans in Japan were able to pick the new South-Korean nationality. Those who did not do it became automatically North-Koreans since there is no united Korea anymore (former Joseon). The North-Koreans are usually proud of their Korean origins and have many differences with the new, Americanized, South-Korea. They decided to build their own schools through the Chongryon association financed by the Pyongyang government. There are still about 10,000 students in the North-Korean schools in Japan.

This school was built in 1971. I liked the blockhaus kind of aesthetics they used. It was actually quite a big complex of buildings including from kindergarten to Middle school, even dormitory and wedding hall, far from the tiny abandoned school we used to see. Presumably brainwashing really needs to start from an early age.


  • 1971 – 1998
  • Nippon No Haikyo #100