Quelle: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 4 | Issue 1 | Jan 04, 2006
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus
Japan's Burakumin: An Introduction
“Burakumin maggots…kill eta filth…burakumin have four legs…buraku people cause AIDS…” These examples of anti-buraku graffiti are not from Japan’s distant past, but vivid reminders from the 21st century that anti-buraku prejudice remains extant in some sectors of Japanese society.
Although the Japanese word buraku literally means a hamlet or small village, in many parts of Japan, especially southern Honshu’s Kansai, Hiroshima and Hyogo regions, the term has a connotation akin to our own word ghetto. Furthermore, the word burakumin (lit. buraku people) is pejoratively applied to denigrate the residents of buraku villages. Anti-buraku attitudes are largely founded on those residents’ historical connections to Tokugawa Japan’s eta (lit. much filth) and hinin (lit. nonhuman) outcastes. In particular, the leather and butchery work of the despised eta were once regarded as polluted occupations, permanently and irretrievably infecting those who carried out such tasks, as well as their descendants and associates in all future generations. The Japanese government currently acknowledges 1.2 million buraku residents living in 3000 buraku, while activists claim 3 million residents and 6000 buraku. The difference comes about in part because the government figure includes only those currently residing in a buraku and who claim buraku ancestry, while the activists’ figure embraces all current and former buraku residents, including those current residents who claim no buraku ancestry. ....