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Over the past two decades Korea and Japan have experienced a rapid inflow of foreign population into their homogeneous societies. Despite their many similarities in immigration control policies, Korea and Japan have differed in the politics of immigrant incorporation. Korea’s central government has instituted policies that target female marriage migrants and children of international marriages, while Japan’s local governments have initiated policies for a wide range of foreign residents in their communities. I argue that the different boundary of citizenship for a specific group of the foreign population, created and reinforced by the state, explains variations in the politics of immigrant incorporation policies in the two countries.