The research is based on fieldwork I carried out in a purpose built retirement village among elderly Koreans repatriated from Sakhalin Island to South Korea, and among their children visiting from Russia. The elderly Koreans lived on Sakhalin for 60 years or more. Some were forced to move to Sakhalin by the Japanese before and during World War II, but most are now the elderly children of those who moved there as labourers and settlers. They were permitted to return to Korea in 2000. However, the repatriation programme only covered people born before the end of 1945, and so the children of the repatriates had to stay behind in Russia. This can strike one as surprising, given the persistent rhetoric of “filial piety” and of family as the source of support in the official South Korean discourses on intergenerational relationships. In the thesis, I explore how kinship is practiced, maintained, created and rethought through the exchange of support and the provision of care, and how people attempt to balance the sometimes conflicting family relationships and expectations. I also consider examples where balance is not achieved. My data supports the view that the very factors on which social solidarity and kinship relations are built among Sakhalin Koreans – that is loyalty, dependence, obligations – can become a threat to kinship itself, since they can strain existing relationships. This applies both to the excessive demands made by adult children on elderly parents, and to the strain of managing the care of elders, which is especially so here given the geographical distances involved. The notion of an inherent ambivalence and contradiction present in kinship provides me with an overall theme to unify this thesis. I also examine how Sakhalin Koreans, and especially the elderly, recognize the ambivalence present within kinship and familial solidarity, and strive to balance the various forces at work, both by transforming rhetoric of duty into rhetoric of compassion, and through the use of distance in order to manage multiple needs, relationships and expectations.