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Untouchables in Japan? 2008/12/15 10:36
Hi. I just watched an episode of "House" and he was talking about there being untouchables in Japan called baraku, which were described as pretty much the same as the untouchables in India from what he said.

Is this true, and is it still going on today?
by Samantha  

. 2008/12/15 10:44
the burakumin were a group of people that were meant to deal with the dead. The Burakumin are Japanese but are descendants of outcast communities of the feudal era. Since death was considered unclean, they were outcasted.
They were legally liberated in 1871 with the abolition of the feudal caste system; however, this did not put a stop to social discrimination and their lower living standards because Japanese family registration (Koseki) was fixed to ancestral home address until recently. In certain areas of Japan, there is still a stigma attached to being a resident of such areas, including some lingering discrimination in matters such as marriage and employment.
Within the younger generation, there doesn't seem to be much discrimination. However, some members of the older generation may maintain it.
by . rate this post as useful

well... 2008/12/17 12:56

I'm a Japanese and I'm not from Buraku are, but I don't care it so much. To be honest, i can't hardly recognize Burakumin and Buraku area because nobody says ''I'm Burakumin'' ''I'm not'' or something like that. I can guess this is Buraku area only when I see lots of sign which say ''stop discrimination against Buraku'' or something on streets at some area. There still are some discriminations and some Buraku people who are really fighting for human rights against the discriminations, but there are also lots of Buraku people who want to keep Buraku and the discriminations for money.
by kz rate this post as useful

Re: Untouchables in Japan? 2008/12/17 13:43
I think most Japanese nowadays come to know this notion or category through
the activity of those fighting against the discrimination,
or the discussion of those attacking the affirmative action to compensate for discrimination.

Without these people, and unless one is directly a party involved,
I think we can hardly notice not only the discriminated area and discriminated people,
but also the discrimination itself.
It is as if there are invisible persecutors.

However, this invisibility itself might indicate the deep-rootedness of the discrimination,
or the dificulty to extinct the discrimination.

I've heard that this discrimination is comes from
regarding butchery as religiously unclean work.
Considering that even nowadays butchery is kept "invisible" from daily life,
I feel there are some kind of skewness still active.
by dice-geist rate this post as useful

. 2008/12/18 03:27
Yes, they still exist. They were originally called 'eta hinin', which more or less means 'filthy dirty person'. Burakumin is a 'nicer' term. Another poster mentioned the butchering and tanning, which is what made them outcasts in a country where Shinto (native Japanese relgion) stresses purity to a very high level and Buddhism discouraged meat eating.

I would say that most younger Japanese don't think much about them and don't care one way or another if someone is burakumin or not, but there still is a stigma attached to it, certainly.

Personally, I don't care at all. Pretty much all modern day Japanese eat beef, pork, etc, wear leather or have leather accessories, so it seems silly to me to resent people whose ancestors killed and processed animals. However, there would be many parents who would not want their child to marry a burakumin even nowadays.

Change is slow in Japan, but it can happen.
by Kazuyuki78 rate this post as useful

butchers 2008/12/18 06:53
Considering that even nowadays butchery is kept "invisible" from daily life Really? I have seen butchers in every food floor in department stores in Japan.
by Monkey see rate this post as useful

complement 2008/12/18 08:30
Really? I have seen butchers in every food floor in department stores in Japan.
Of course you can find butchers which sell meat to customers everywhere.
To be more specific, maybe I should have used the word slaughterhouse instead of butcher.

While the majority of Japanese butchers sell pre-sliced and shrink-wrapped meat,
butchers slicing meat to your order is high-class minority,
and butchers which process slaughtered cattle into blocks is what I have said to be "invisible".
Usually you cannot see a large frozen block of beef hanging down, for the process of slaughtering carcass is kept hidden.

Although this kind of hiding meat processing system isn't applied to to fishes,
there are even a joke that a small child thinks that
those fishes sliced for eating and shrink-wrapped
is something utterly different from those fishes swimming in the sea.
by dice-geist rate this post as useful

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