The Burakumin Of Japan

Rick van Opbergen
It's not exactly "In the News", but I thought it was interesting enough to post it here.


'Burakumin' descendants still suffering
Links to former outcast class bring misery to relationships, workplace
The Associated Press
A daughter's engagement is a time of joy for any proud father.
Not so for Ikuo Aoki: His daughter was thrown out of her boyfriend's family home when the young couple went there to announce their plans to marry. The reason was unstated but well-understood - Aoki is a descendant of Japan's former "burakumin" outcast class, a distinction that has brought his family a lifetime of ridicule, discrimination and abuse. "I almost rushed over to their house to condemn them, but I didn't because her boyfriend was still considering marrying her," said Aoki, 68. His restraint made no difference; the couple eventually broke up.
Ethnically identical to other Japanese, the burakumin suffered for centuries at the bottom of the feudal hierarchy, digging graves, chopping meat and performing other jobs associated under Buddhism and the native Shinto religion with the impurities of death. In recent decades, the former untouchables have made vast strides. Slums have been cleaned up, education levels have risen and many burakumin descendants have quietly blended into the rest of society.

Quote has been trimmed
source: Japan Times, June 5, 2004
Reverend Blair
That's just stupid. I remember Suzuki going after the Japanese for this and (mostly) their prejudice against non-Japanese, especially the Koreans.
I read something awhile ago about India having the same problem.

So much for Buddhism being an "englightening" religion. No wait. Don't blame the religion for the zealots. But its just so hard to imagine that a karmically (new word, made up for this specially) religious follower would risk such bad karma.....
Rick van Opbergen
Yes Twila, you're right about the link with India; the Burakumin are often compared to the Untouchables in India. And Reverend, it's indeed true that the approximately 900,000 Koreans in Japan face the same problems. Problem is with the Koreans that they often don't even have a Japanese passports; when they apply for a passport, many are forced to participate in Japan's assimilation policy, one of the aspects of this policy being the fact that a lot of Koreans are "forced" to change their name into a Japanese sounding one.
Quote: Originally Posted by Rick

"We have the same skin color and we speak the same language, so the burakumin discrimination is difficult to understand from outside Japan," said Satoshi Uesugi, a historian at Kansai University in Osaka. "It's because Japanese judge others by bloodline and birthplace."

well for me its not hard to understand being an anglo in quebec its probably not as bad though

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