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"Untouchables" of Japan: Burakumin, The, Caste Discrimination Still Persists
jareth_chong
post Aug 8 2005, 09:17 PM
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Ever hear about the Burakumin? No?

Burakumin are one of Japan's most discriminated against minority groups, a remnant of the Japanese caste system. They are the Japanese equivalent of Indian "Untouchables". Burakumin is rarely discussed in (and outside of) Japan because it is a taboo subject and Burakumin themselves have accepted and internalized the discrimination .


1. Burakumin

The Burakumin (another term is eta)are the outcast society of Japan, shunned even to this day. The term means literally "hamlet people", referring to the fact that they traditionally lived on the edges of towns, rather than in the towns themselves.

This group of people is similar to the untouchable class in India. These are people who are looked upon with contempt. For example, if a person plans to marry someone and finds out that one of their ancestors was a Burakumin, then the marriage will be cancelled...


2. My The Burakumin, Japan's Invisible Outcasts

"Japan's smooth social fabric is just an illusion," says Nadamoto Masahisa, who teaches modern history at Kyoto University. "It's still based on invisible castes and as Burakumin, we're at the bottom of the ladder." Alongside his teaching, Masahisa is fighting to defend the Burakumin (or Eta-Hinin, which can be translated as "polluted or dirty non-persons") whom society continues to shun.

"A lot of Japanese think twice before renting to a Burakumin... If a person is identified as one or says he is, everything becomes harder. If you rent to a Buraku, people say you'll have bad luck."

In modern Japan, the Burakumin are also socially marginalized. "Today they're the first victims of the economic crisis."

Even worse, some bourgeois Japanese families make illegal checks on the ancestors of their children's future spouses "to avoid polluting the family," as they put it.


3.. Japan for the Uninvited: Burakumin

The word burakumin ("People of the Hamlet") refers to Japan's traditional "unclean" caste, also known as "Eta" ("abundant pollution") and "Hinin" ("non-human").

2% of Japanese people are buraku, and although they are racially identical to other Japanese people, discrimination is rampant. Caught in a vicious cycle of poverty and prejudice, many people are forced to invent "clean" family histories.

Protective parents, worried about having sullied grandchildren, often hire private detectives to make sure their child's potential spouse doesn't have any buraku blood


4. The Burakumin: The Complicity of Japanese Buddhism in Oppression and an Opportunity for Liberation

The Current State of the Burakumin...

The burakumin tend, as the Dalits ["Untouchables"] of India, to be found in selected occupations. Many burakumin are employed in small factories connected with their traditional occupations, such as butchering and leather and fur processing. Others are farmers, fishermen, and unskilled laborers... the average standard of living is far below that of the non-burakumin.

... discrimination [against Burakumin] is precisely that they historically did those tasks (butchering, leather-work, and so forth) that no one else wanted to do and, as a result, were classified as lower class, and so began a tradition of societal discrimination. In regard to marriage, the burakumin have historically been endogamous, bias being perpetuated primarily by the non-burakumin and certainly in part by the burakumin themselves... "Many burakumin themselves accepted this [prejudice and discrimination], regarded themselves as different and their separate and unequal treatment as justified."


5. Burakumin (Wikipedia)

Prejudice against eta lingered into the modern era, and according to human rights workers is still a factor today...

This post has been edited by jareth_chong: Aug 8 2005, 09:33 PM
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FrenchVanillaNYC
post Aug 8 2005, 09:26 PM
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Yeah, I was trying to do a report (unsuccessfully) of burakumin once.

There was a blackball list that some companies had even issued a few years ago with lists of "prominent" buraku names I heard. icon_confused.gif

I hear it has gotten better.
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chilli21
post Aug 8 2005, 09:46 PM
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i heard from the radio that discrimination against castes in japan has been getting worse.
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FrenchVanillaNYC
post Aug 8 2005, 10:19 PM
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Maybe so.

I should post some of the things I learned before in this thread.

Kansai and Kyuushuu are apparently the places with the largest amount of buraku people. Hyogo prefecture, Kobe, Kyoto...etc....have buraku communities. There was a map that got into detail about distribution.

I don't see why people are still holding grudges against them. They are ethnically Japanese. Japan no longer can use "Buddhism" as a reason to shun descendants of tanners and such since most Japanese aren't that religious anymore anyway... icon_confused.gif

I guess some people just need to feel better than others no matter what. icon_confused.gif
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Suijen
post Aug 8 2005, 10:23 PM
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Boo at Japan for it's use of antiquated caste systems.
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chilli21
post Aug 8 2005, 10:33 PM
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actually, how many castes are there in japan back in the past and at the moment right now?
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jareth_chong
post Aug 9 2005, 03:16 AM
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^ If I remember my history lesson correctly, there were noble, warriors (samurai), farmers, traders, and the outcasts (Burakumin). Just like Indians, except Japan replaced the Priest caste with nobles.

This post has been edited by jareth_chong: Aug 9 2005, 03:17 AM
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*Karma*
post Aug 9 2005, 05:36 AM
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Wow i never knew Japan has this too.
T4S
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ronin
post Aug 9 2005, 05:58 AM
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I think I heard about these people in religion class when I was a kid in high school. Were their ancestors mostly grave diggers? I heard thatís why they were discriminated or is that another group of people? I always thought Japan got rid of the caste system during the Meiji Restoration. If they get sh##ted on like that in Japan why donít they move to the US like Hawaii or Californi or South America where they have a large Japanese population?
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jareth_chong
post Aug 9 2005, 06:00 AM
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- DELETE -

This post has been edited by jareth_chong: Aug 9 2005, 07:48 AM
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Suijen
post Aug 9 2005, 02:32 PM
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QUOTE (ronin @ Aug 9 2005, 03:58 AM)
I think I heard about these people in religion class when I was a kid in high school. Were their ancestors mostly grave diggers? I heard thatís why they were discriminated or is that another group of people? I always thought Japan got rid of the caste system during the Meiji Restoration. If they get sh##ted on like that in Japan why donít they move to the US like Hawaii or Californi or South America where they have a large Japanese population?
*


A lot did. The sons who inherited jack $hit counted their losses and headed overseas.
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Dante
post Aug 9 2005, 05:58 PM
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whats a caste?
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Suijen
post Aug 9 2005, 06:02 PM
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^ it's like a ranking system in which one is born into. So if you're born a peasant, you stay a peasant no matter what. If you're a soldier, or gentry, or scholar, you stay in that position.
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Dante
post Aug 9 2005, 06:03 PM
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now that is gay, it would be kinda cool tho. Im gunna change that one day.
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User1
post Aug 13 2005, 12:33 PM
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Really interesting, and as I suspected, a lot of them are Ainu in origin:

from your first link:
QUOTE
The Ainu, the original inhabitants of Japan, sometimes fall under the burakumin umbrella along with prisoners of war, clandestine immigrants, Koreans, Filipinos and others like them.

The Ainu are ethnically, physically and culturally different than the Japanese majority. They are the native inhabitants of Japan; the people who are referred to as "Japanese" are actually the "Yamato Japanese". Some people accept the Ainu as being "primitive Japanese". Their genetic stock includes southeast Asian, Siberian and northeast Asian peoples. There are around 25,000 Ainu left, but not many of them are pure-blooded.

(They are also not Caucasians as some people have been led to believe. They are descended from the Jomon people who arrived before the Yayoi immigrants who became the Yamato Japanese, the Jomon forebearers coming to Japan about 15,000 years ago, the Yayoi immigrants entering around 300 BCE.)


These are true Ainu:


This post has been edited by User1: Aug 13 2005, 12:37 PM
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FrenchVanillaNYC
post Aug 13 2005, 04:29 PM
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Shabba!



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skat3r
post Aug 13 2005, 11:21 PM
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I don't know what's so surprising?

After Japan surrendered the emperor and all the other facists still remained and thrived under post WW2 Japan and Americans couldn't give a $hit because they were fightring the cold war and they had to insure no leftist elements penetrated Japan but in doing so the racialist elements of Japanese society still remained and unchanged.
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