Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/10656
Japan's Forsaken People: Burakumin in contemporary society
The Burakumin is a minority group in Japan that has, since ancient times, been suffering from occupational and social discrimination from the grand majority of Japanese citizens. There is nothing that visually or technically distinguishes them from the rest of the mainstream community. Trivial things like occupation or a specific location played a significant part in the discrimination against the Burakumin from pre-Nara times to modern day civilization. Occupations that dealt with death were considered contaminated and resulted with the exclusion and avoidance of the Burakumin from common villages.
This thesis asks the question whether such or similar discrimination still exists in a society that claims to be as close to homogeneous as is possible. In order to obtain such an answer, first it is necessary to dig deeper into the origin of the problem, starting at the medieval period in Japan and then steadily work our way up, to the present day Japan. The history of the prejudice will be examined from early historical background as well as the religious origins pertaining to the Buraku discrimination and will end at couple of years after the Meiji Restoration, where the government issued the Emancipation Edict in 1871.
After the introduction of the Emancipation Edict, the focus is on the numerous actions that the Burakumin took in order to free themselves from their plight, starting with their own and then ending with the government’s aid when its legal actions put forth the Special Measures Law in 1969.
Insight will be given into the lives of the Burakumin in modern day Japan and the problems they have had to endure, despite the vigorous fights from the Buraku Liberation League for emancipation. It will also describe the relationship between them and the mainstream Japanese as well as briefly examine the Oyabun-Kobun system.
Numerous ideas and answers to the discriminatory problem have been expressed, both by the Buraku Liberation League as well as from local Burakumin and hence, we will look into some of the answers and possible solutions and ponder whether they can be put into action, by the Burakumin themselves, the government or the mainstream Japanese.
Lykilorð: Samfélag, Minnihlutahópur, Burakumin, Japan, Japönsk saga