Global Pulls on the Korean Communities in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires

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The Korean communities in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires were the first overseas Korean communities that the new Republic of Korea initiated and supported. The initiative was taken to relieve the economic suffering of the poverty-stricken country in the 1960s. Among South American countries that were open to Korean immigrants, Brazil and Argentina attracted the most, which included even undocumented Korean migrants from neighboring countries. The two Korean communities (about 45,000 people in Sao Paulo and 20,000 in Buenos Aires) represent almost two thirds of the Korean residents in Latin America. Over the years, global forces emanating mainly from East Asia, North America, and South America have affected the Korean communities. The intensity and directions of the triangular pulls and pushes have varied, reflecting changing global socioeconomic conditions. This has created tension and ambiguity among the Korean migrant and host communities. Looking at the two communities comparatively, the focus will be on the effects of the global pulls on Korean identity formation, community development patterns, integration efforts, social mobility, education for children, remigration, return migration, and relationships with the host communities. Wherever applicable, the experiences of Korean communities are compared with that of other East Asian communities, namely the Chinese and Japanese in Latin America.