Ethnic Koreans from the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Far East finally had the opportunity to return to their homeland for the first time since Japanese colonization. On the afternoon of March 17, a group of Ethnic Koreans from Sakhalin left the arrival section of the international passenger terminal of the Port of Donghae in Donghae, Gangwon-do Province after finishing immigration procedures.
Koreans were forced to relocate to Sakhalin during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula. However, they could not return home after their motherland’s liberation, mostly due to soviet policies. Now they can resettle permanently in Korea with their families.
Among the 63 returnees, four are first-generation immigrants. This means that they were born in Korea and forced to immigrate to Sakhalin by Japanese forces during the occupation themselves, nearly 80 years ago. The oldest among those returning to Korea was born in 1935. 59 of those returning are the descendants of those who were forced to immigrate.
Because of airspace restrictions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they departed from Vladivostok on a passenger ship.