Burakumin

Etaburakucriminations towards the offspring of Hinin and Etadiscriminated village peoplesDowa claimsdōwa mondaieta and hininetamurahisabetsu burakuhistoric Japanese subclass of meat packers
"hamlet people"/"village people", "those who live in hamlets/villages" is an outcast group at the bottom of the traditional Japanese social order that has historically been the victim of severe discrimination and ostracism.wikipedia
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Edo period

Edo-periodEdoTokugawa
In the feudal era, the outcaste were called eta (穢多, literally, "an abundance of defilement" or "an abundance of filth"), a term now considered derogatory. At the start of the Edo period (1603–1867), the social class system (more properly, a caste system, since it was based upon birth and not upon economics) was officially established as a means of designating hierarchy, and eta were placed at the lowest level, outside of the four main divisions of society.
Outside the four classes were the so-called eta and hinin, those whose professions broke the taboos of Buddhism.

Ethnic issues in Japan

discriminationJapanese societynational minorities
The term burakumin does not refer to any ethnic minorities in Japan. There is still a stigma attached to being a resident of certain areas traditionally associated with the burakumin and some lingering discrimination in matters such as marriage and employment.
However, these statistics measure citizenship, not ethnicity, with all domestic minorities such as the Ainu, Ryukyuans, Burakumin and naturalized immigrants being counted as simply "Japanese."

Buraku Liberation League

The Buraku Liberation League (BLL), on the other hand, extrapolates Meiji-era figures to arrive at an estimate of nearly three million burakumin.
The Buraku Liberation League is one of the burakumin's rights groups in Japan.

Koseki

family registryregisteredfamily register
Although legally liberated in 1871, with the abolition of the feudal caste system, this did not put an end to social discrimination against them nor their lower living standards because Japanese family registration was fixed to ancestral home address until recently, which allowed people to deduce their Burakumin membership.
Several categories of outcasts were not registered at all under this system, or were registered in specific registers, for instance the burakumin.

Tōson Shimazaki

Shimazaki TosonShimazaki TōsonToson Shimazaki
In an 1859 court case described by author Shimazaki Toson, a magistrate declared that "An eta is worth 1/7 of an ordinary person." Shimazaki, Toson. The Broken Commandment
It is a story of a burakumin schoolteacher who keeps his outcaste status secret until near the end of the novel.

Marriage in Japan

marriage[70wedding
There is still a stigma attached to being a resident of certain areas traditionally associated with the burakumin and some lingering discrimination in matters such as marriage and employment.
Outcast communities such as the Burakumin could not marry outside of their caste, and marriage discrimination continued even after an 1871 edict abolished the caste system, well into the twentieth century.

Japanese people

JapaneseJapanethnic Japanese
They were originally members of outcast communities in the Japanese feudal era, composed of those with occupations considered impure or tainted by death (such as executioners, undertakers, workers in slaughterhouses, butchers, or tanners), which have severe social stigmas of kegare (穢れ or "defilement") attached to them.
Burakumin

Slaughterhouse

abattoirabbatoirslaughterhouses
For example, the ban on consumption of meat from livestock was lifted in 1871 in order to "westernise" the country, and many former eta moved on to work in abattoirs and as butchers.
In Japan, where the ban on slaughter of livestock for food was lifted in the late 19th century, the newly found slaughter industry drew workers primarily from villages of burakumin, who traditionally worked in occupations relating to death (such as executioners and undertakers).

Social class

classsocial classesclasses
At the start of the Edo period (1603–1867), the social class system (more properly, a caste system, since it was based upon birth and not upon economics) was officially established as a means of designating hierarchy, and eta were placed at the lowest level, outside of the four main divisions of society.
In modern societies, strict legal links between ethnicity and class have been drawn, such as in apartheid, the caste system in Africa, the position of the Burakumin in Japanese society and the casta system in Latin America.

History of Japan

feudal JapanJapanese historyJapan
They were originally members of outcast communities in the Japanese feudal era, composed of those with occupations considered impure or tainted by death (such as executioners, undertakers, workers in slaughterhouses, butchers, or tanners), which have severe social stigmas of kegare (穢れ or "defilement") attached to them.
These people, later called burakumin, fell outside the Edo-period class structure and suffered discrimination that lasted after the class system was abolished.

Yakuza

yazukaboryokudangangsters
According to David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro in Yakuza: The Explosive Account of Japan's Criminal Underworld (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1986), burakumin account for about 70 percent of the members of Yamaguchi-gumi, the biggest yakuza syndicate in Japan.
Perhaps because of its lower socio-economic status, numerous Yakuza members come from Burakumin and ethnic Korean backgrounds.

Sayama incident

In the 1960s the Sayama Incident, which involved the murder conviction of a member of the discriminated communities based on circumstantial evidence (which is generally given little weight vs. physical evidence in Japanese courts), focused public attention on the problems of the group.
The incident, in which a man was imprisoned for 31 years, highlighted official discrimination against Japan's burakumin caste.

Hiromu Nonaka

In 2001, future Prime Minister of Japan Tarō Asō, along with Hiromu Nonaka, was among the LDP's chief candidates to succeed Yoshirō Mori as prime minister of Japan.
Nonaka encountered discrimination in his youth as a member of the burakumin group; he later said this discrimination was a factor in his decision to leave JNR and enter politics.

Jiichirō Matsumoto

Jiichiro Matsumoto ('''''Emperor's New Clothes''''')
Jiichirō Matsumoto, politician and businessman who was called the "buraku liberation father"
Jiichirō Matsumoto (June 18, 1887 – November 22, 1966) was a Japanese politician, businessman, and leader of the Burakumin liberation movement.

Tōru Hashimoto

Toru Hashimoto
* Tōru Hashimoto, politician, lawyer, the 52nd Governor of Osaka Prefecture, and former Mayor of Osaka city
Soon after, his mother changed the reading of their name to Hashimoto, as the surname Hashishita is linked to Japan's disadvantaged burakumin community.

Rentarō Mikuni

Rentaro Mikuni, actor
His stepfather was a member of the burakumin, and Mikuni experienced prejudice as a child, such as automatically being suspected of theft when a bicycle was stolen.

Human rights in Japan

Japanhuman rights
Human rights in Japan
The largest indigenous minority are the two to four million hisabetsu buraku ("discriminated communities"), descendants of the outcast communities of feudal Japan.

Tarō Asō

Taro AsoAsoAsō
In 2001, future Prime Minister of Japan Tarō Asō, along with Hiromu Nonaka, was among the LDP's chief candidates to succeed Yoshirō Mori as prime minister of Japan.
Asō's remark was apparently a reference to Nonaka's burakumin, a social minority group in Japan, heritage.

Tadashi Yanai

Yanai Tadashi
* Tadashi Yanai, founder and president of Uniqlo
His uncle was an activist for elimination of the settlement of discriminated lower-class people, called Burakumin (minority group of Japanese society).

Caste

caste systemcastescasteism
Although legally liberated in 1871, with the abolition of the feudal caste system, this did not put an end to social discrimination against them nor their lower living standards because Japanese family registration was fixed to ancestral home address until recently, which allowed people to deduce their Burakumin membership.
Japan had its own untouchable caste, shunned and ostracized, historically referred to by the insulting term Eta, now called Burakumin.

The Broken Commandment

Hakai'' (novel)
Shimazaki, Toson. The Broken Commandment
The novel deals with the burakumin, formerly known as eta.

Edo society

a strict class systemcustoms and regulationsfarmers and women
Feudal Japan hierarchy
Buddhist and Shinto priests; or court nobles (kuge); and outcast classes including eta and hinin (those sold or sentenced into indentured servitude) were not included in this description of hierarchy.

Kenji Nakagami

Kenji Nakagami, writer, critic, and poet
He is well known as the first, and so far the only, post-war Japanese writer to identify himself publicly as a Burakumin, a member of one of Japan’s long-suffering outcaste groups.

Cagot

(C)agotsCagots
Cagot, the former outcast community of France.
Burakumin

Baekjeong

Korean caste systemuntouchables
Baekjeong, the former outcast community of Korean society.
Burakumin - The Japanese equivalent of baekjeong.