In 2002 the Japanese government ended a set of legal special measures that directed funds to registered Buraku areas. This panel examines Buraku futures - at both community and national levels - after this legal shift.
In 2002 the Japanese government ended a set of legal measures directing state funds to registered Buraku areas since 1969, arguing that Buraku discrimination had been remediated. This legal change has augured a profound shift for Buraku politics. Both local and national Buraku organizations, which disagree that Buraku discrimination is over, have been left scrambling for resources to maintain their programs, which are already weakened by the ailing economic climate. This change comes on top of an ambivalent relationship with state aid. The first Buraku-led group, formed in the early 20th century, chose a path of self-sufficiency that critiqued the state. When the liberation movement, reformed post-war, won the special measures in the late sixties, they were careful to stipulate that decisions would be made with the consultation if not outright direction of local Buraku organizations. The papers on this panel take up the question of Buraku futures. How, in the midst of profound legislative and economic shifts, does this political movement maintain its momentum? What futures are possible or even imaginable, and what work is being undertaken to secure those?