(P117)

Buraku futures: navigating the changing landscape of law and economy

Location Multi Purpose Room
Date and Start Time 17 May, 2014 at 08:30

Convenors

Joseph Hankins (UCSD) email
Yugo Tomonaga (Ryukoku Universiy) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

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.

Long Abstract

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?

Discussant: Kurokawa Midori

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Education for the future: buraku issues in compulsory education

Author: Christopher Bondy (International Christian University)  email

Short Abstract

Examinations of junior high textbooks suggest buraku issues are often minimized or ignored. Based on interviews, I show that schools are using flexibility built into the system to place buraku issues in a more central position. The paper also will consider other options for schools to center buraku issues.

Long Abstract

Surveys of textbooks in compulsory education suggest that buraku issues are often minimized or ignored. The prevailing attitude seems to be "If it is not on the entrance exam, we cannot spend time covering it." However, schools can, and some do, make use of other means of teaching about buraku issues to students. This paper takes a two-fold approach. It begins by examining third-year junior high school social studies textbooks to establish a framework for what is defined as legitimate knowledge. In it, I highlight the systematic ways in which minority issues broadly, and buraku issues specifically, are relegated to historical discussions, and only glance over the conditions facing these groups today.

While central in defining legitimated knowledge, textbooks are not the only way in which materials in schools are covered. Following this review of textbooks, the paper then considers how schools can embrace or reject this knowledge. Based on interviews with teachers, I show that schools are making use of flexibility built into the system to place buraku issues in a more central position.

Finally, the paper will discuss the broader social outcomes for the placement of buraku issues in schools and consider ways in which movements could work to encourage schools to center buraku issues and counter the prevailing marginalization.

Buraku futures in a multicultural Japan

Author: Joseph Hankins (UCSD)  email

Short Abstract

This paper examines how the recent end of the Special Measure Law, an end which renders Buraku issues less visible, competes with rising demands to present a Japan that is multicultural.

Long Abstract

In the past several years, the Japanese government has implemented tabunka kyosei (multicultural co-existence) programs at prefectural and municipal levels. These programs understand social difference in terms of nationality, primarily, and are directed to in some form easing the life of non-Japanese nationals - such as foreign workers - in Japan. This version of multiculturalism typically leaves untouched forms of social difference such as the Burakumin, resident Koreans, or indigenous Ainu. In 2002 the government ended a set of laws that directed funds to registered Buraku neighborhoods that had existed since 1969. With that legal shift, Buraku neighborhoods and organizations have been facing a reduced funding stream, making it progressively more difficult for them to fulfill their mission of eliminating Buraku discrimination. This paper examines these shifts together: what does it mean that Buraku difference is being erased at the moment that multicultural co-existence programs are taking off? What part might Buraku difference play in the making of a multicultural Japan?

Transformation of Buraku community building in Osaka city: self, private and public sector and cultural heritage

Author: Yugo Tomonaga (Ryukoku Universiy)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will show the specific action of community building of a Buraku community in Osaka city, focusing on the kind of role that public facilities and private sectors and cultural heritage.

Long Abstract

First enforced in 1969, the Law on special measures for Dowa Projects was abolished in March 2002 after 33 years in operation. The law led to numerous positive results for Buraku communities, such as improvements in community infrastructures. Discrimination against Buraku people, however, continues. For instance, internet slander is on the rise, property values remain low, there is interpersonal discrimination between community newcomers and its long-term residents, and the high school and college graduation rates are markedly lower than the national averages.

This paper will clarify the kinds of problems Buraku people in/around Buraku communities are facing since the abolishment of the Law on Special Measures for Dowa Projects and how Buraku people in/around Buraku communities are living under these circumstances. In particular, it will focus on the specific action of community building of A Buraku community in Osaka city.

Firstly, this paper will briefly explain the history of A Buraku community focusing on community building, and then clarify the current problems in A community in terms of statistical data. After this, it will consider the kind of role that public facilities (Civic Center and Gymnasium) and private sectors (Welfare businesses, NGOs and NPOs) and cultural heritage, through things such as articles used in everyday life, paintings, and pictures, can play in A community. Consequently, it will show how Buraku people in/ around A community create relationships with neighboring non-Buraku residents to rebuild their community.

Living on the edge: buraku in Kyoto in Japan

Author: Nataša Viso─Źnik (University of Ljubljana)  email

Short Abstract

The presentation deals with the area of Sujin in Kyoto city in Japan, which is known to be settled by the people who are marginalized for a variety of reasons.

Long Abstract

The presentation deals with the area Sujin in Kyoto city in Japan, which is known to be settled by the people who are marginalized for a various reasons. This place is also known to be buraku ordowa chiiku and it is one of the officially recognized buraku neighborhoods in Kyoto. The research based on the short fieldwork focuses on marginal communities living in Sujin and their struggle for better living. The presentation also considers in more detail developments within buraku life. Especially it focuses on the important role of machizukuri and neighborhood associations in liberation movements over the course of the last few decades, and it also looks into future plans.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.