An observation of the history and discrimination of the Buraku in modern day Japan Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/08612r872

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  • The Buraku people have been segregated, oppressed, and discriminated against throughout Japanese history. The Japanese can dismiss the Buraku issue because of assimilation theories, the belief in homogeneity, and passive attitudes by the Buraku people. The Buraku Liberation League (BLL), which has fought for equal rights on behalf of the Buraku people since 1955, has the potential to effect changes that will improve minority issues in Japan. This thesis examines the historical formation of the Buraku people and the ideological aspects that reinforce discrimination against them. The historical observation of the Buraku, conducted by reviewing the existing literature, focuses on how the Buraku people and the discrimination against them originated. To understand the ideological aspects of the Buraku issue, focus groups as well as individual interviews were conducted in Osaka from June to September 1993 to gain a general overview of the problem. There was a total of four focus groups: three Buraku focus groups (young adults, parents, elderly) and one non-Buraku focus group (young adults). In addition to the focus groups, five BLL officers were individually interviewed. Subsequently, questionnaires were distributed in 1997 in various geographical areas to verify the findings of the first research. Non-Buraku subjects came from Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Osaka, while all the Buraku subjects were from Osaka. Each of the Buraku and the non-Buraku were categorized into two age groups: parents and young adults. The results of the historical observation demonstrated that the Buraku people were derived from people with various backgrounds and occupations. Also, they have contributed to traditional Japanese art forms (such as dance and arts and crafts) as well as human rights advancement. The results of the ideological observation revealed that many non-Buraku subjects had the misconception that Buraku discrimination has disappeared. Most of them were indifferent toward the Buraku issue and had little knowledge about Buraku history and the current Buraku issues. Because the present school curriculum seldom provides information, especially positive information, about the Buraku, the non- Buraku tend to focus only on the negative aspects of being Buraku. The ideological study also discovered that non-Buraku subjects tended to avoid involvement with the Buraku, whereas Buraku subjects hesitated to reveal their identity and often tried to pass as the non-Buraku. The negative image of the Buraku, the image of isolation and exclusion induced by discrimination, appears to instill a fear of exclusion from the majority among both the non-Buraku and Buraku when they become involved in the Buraku issue. The research suggests that it is essential for the BLL to confront indifference, lack of knowledge, and the fear of discrimination. In order to accomplish these goals, it is essential to raise awareness of the Buraku issue and to communicate the positive aspects of the Buraku. Accordingly, the BLL needs to request that the government, especially the Ministry of Education, restructure the history and moral education curricula, and provide nationwide mandatory human rights education to include the Buraku issue. In addition, in order to confront anti-Buraku liberation theories and for the future success of the Buraku liberation movement, the BLL needs to focus and define the future direction of the Buraku liberation movement.
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