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A Japanese train station in 1990. It is a common belief in and about Japan that the entire country is monoethnic, but this is a mere urban legend. There are many ethnic minorities in Japan, such as Koreans, Ainus, Hayatos and Ryukyuans.

Monoethnicity is the existence of a single ethnic group in a given region or country. It is the opposite of polyethnicity.


The use of the concept of monoethnicity has been criticized for being discriminatory and preventing diversity from being recognized.[1] For example, it is a common belief in Japan that the entire country is monoethnic, but this is a myth; there are many ethnic minorities in Japan (e.g. Koreans, Ainus, and Ryukyuans).[2] They represent around 1% of the whole population [3]

South Koreans regard themselves as a monoethnic society, although there are small ethnic minorities that exist in South Korea, where they account for around 1% of the South Korean population. These include around 650,000 Chinese immigrants [4]

Most Sub-Saharan African countries have mono-racial societies (>0,1%), but it's common to find several ethnic groups within the same country. The number of immigrants from these African countries has grown substantially since 1990, but they receive virtually almost zero immigration.

Cossacks have sought to establish monoethnicity in certain communities in the Northwest Caucasus.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deirdre Martin (2009). Language Disabilities in Cultural and Linguistic Diversity. Multilingual Matters. p. 29. ISBN 1847691595. 
  2. ^ Osamu Arakaki (2008). Refugee Law and Practice in Japan. Ashgate Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 0754670090. 
  3. ^ (Japanese) [1] 平成24年末現在における外国人登録者統計について].
  4. ^ "Trying to teach South Korea about discrimination", The Los Angeles Times, 2009-02-24 .
  5. ^ Walter Richmond (2008). The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, Future. Taylor & Francis. p. 141. ISBN 0415776155.