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Outsiders: Memories of Migration to and from North Korea

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Volume 42

Forced Migration

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Memories of Migration to and from North Korea

Markus Bell

212 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-229-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2021)

ISBN  978-1-80073-913-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80073-230-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The ethnographic descriptions are deft, the historical contexts are well drawn, and the emphasis on the multi-generational dynamics of migration flow is exactly on target. The book will certainly be required reading for specialists on Japanese and Korean society and politics but will also be valuable for those interested in refugee issues—especially ‘returns’ of various kinds—and for those assessing the role of international organizations in refugee situations, which can have troubling moral implications. The insights on refugee resilience and the restructuring of memories are also valuable…Highly Recommended.” • Choice

“Overall, Bell combines interviews, thoughtful descriptions, and analysis to provide a meaningful perspective on our understanding a little discussed aspect of East Asian migration. This book explores displacement and migration as well the strategies used by migrants as individuals and families.” • Journal of Contemporary Asia

“Outstanding – academically excellent, full of new research findings, theoretically sophisticated and very well written.” • Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Australian National University


In this unique and insightful book, Markus Bell explores the hidden histories of the men, women, and children who traveled from Japan to the world’s most secretive state—North Korea. Through vivid ethnographic details and interviews with North Korean escapees, Outsiders: Memories of Migration to and from North Korea reveals the driving forces that propelled thousands of ordinary people to risk it all in Kim Il-Sung’s “Worker’s Paradise”, only to escape back to Japan half a century later.

Markus Bell is an anthropologist specializing in migration, with over a decade of experience working with displaced people and migrant workers in the Asia Pacific. He has taught at the Australian National University, University of Sheffield, and Goethe University Frankfurt. 

Subject: Refugee and Migration StudiesAnthropology (General)
Area: Asia


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