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TOKYO – The children, gathered in rows on a school field in Tokyo, crouch and then reach up in unison, waving banners to form a North Korean flag as the school band plays a song for their "motherland."
They are third- and fourth-generation descendants of Koreans, including many forcibly taken to labor in mines and factories during Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
Though many have become citizens of Japan or South Korea, the students' families remain loyal to their heritage, choosing to send their children to one of some 60 private schools that favor North Korea, teaching the culture and history.
Despite recent North Korean missile launches and nuclear tests, students say they take pride and view their community as a haven from the discrimination they face from ethnic Japanese.