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Okuribito And Burakumin 2009/5/24 08:37
I am a little surprised, but I was looking today for articles in English and Japanese about the obvious commentary about Burakumin discrimnation in Okuribito, but could not find anything. Has there been any news about this in Japan? What did other people think?
by philstert  

. 2009/5/24 21:28
Any "news" you say? Well, you can always Google in Japanese, but what you get are all blogs which IMHO not worth really looking into.

What are you trying to say?
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Publications 2009/5/25 02:01
I was just more interested in any major publications had published any stories/pieces about the connection in the film to Burakumin. I asked 3 different Japanese people (2 of which went with me), and non at first thought of the Burakumin, until I asked them about it, and was just curious as if Okuribito has affected Burakumin discussions, BLL, or their social image?
by philstert rate this post as useful

bll 2009/5/25 14:27
what is bll?
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

BLL 2009/5/25 15:41
ALC tells me it's Buraku Liberation League 部落解放同盟http://eow.alc.co.jp/bll/UTF-8/
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/26 22:04
I taught the students who were advisers for that film. There is no discrimination against funeral workers, but people are superstitious. I had a extra business card to hand out to regular people (not clients)that said "Chemical analysis" to keep them from freaking out.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

IMHO 2009/5/27 07:26

From the very quick internet search and my experiences of reading and viewing the Japanese media on a daily basis, I never had the impression that major publications had discussed about any relations between the movie Okuribito and the burakumin people in general.

But on the internet, I see a lot of Japanese discussions on that issue including comments that include both the words "okuribito" and the name BLL in it. So, needless to say, the movie has "inspired" these internet discussions.

Being a fan of that movie and having watched it in the theater, however, I am quite sure that the movie itself has no intention of bringing up burakumin. Because...

********spoilers ahead!********

in the story, the main character who is a freshman in the noukanshi industry is discriminated, but the people who discriminate him clearly mentions that he should "quit the job" or that "if you don't work hard you will end up like him". In other words, the main character is discriminated due to his new occupation and not because of his race or blood, and burakumin is all about family blood. So although "discrimination against noukanshi" is a big issue in the movie, "discrimination against burakumin" isn't at all. Therefore, I doubt that any major publication will bring up the burakumin issue: it will only flame the internet discussions unneccesarily.

Btw, I'd never thought about the relationship between noukanshi and burakumin until I saw this thread. Either way, because of the movie many people have become fans of the occupation of noukanshi.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Ah 2009/5/27 17:42
I realize your point, but the Burakumin issue steams from familial lineage of relatives whose job dealt with dealing with the dead: butches, leather workers, undertakers. And, although the movie doesn't scream, "Burakumin," I think the parallel between the history of discrimination with the contemporary image of deaht and superstition is not so farfetched.

It's very similar to Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" (Tengoku to Jigoku), which has this same plot, of a humble-means person who rises the rank to do something meaningful, and many people see this as a relation to the discrimination against Burakumin.

I guess I am just confused: I saw this movie with a Japanese friend, and they said they were so moved. And, I asked about what they thought of Burakumin, and if they would marry/be with someone who had only one distant relative, and they were like, "Oh no, of course not." And, I was baffled by the obvious shortsightedness of my friend.
by philstert rate this post as useful

. 2009/5/27 21:50
I guess I am just confused

The attitude towards burakumin seems to differ depending on the person, or actually, the region.

Even on the World Wide Web, I notice that most people don't care about say marring burakumin, at least people perhaps in their now 50s and younger. But I've noticed that a lot of the older people in conservative areas such as Kyoto do care, and their sons and daughters' generation would have to be hesitant when introducing a burakumin partner to their parents.

But basically, we can't really tell who are burakumin and who are not.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Taiko 2009/10/31 09:35
Also, in the last scene, (spoiler alert!)

there is a taiko drum that is practically highlighted for most of the scene. Burakumin also traditionally made taiko drums, but they were not allowed to play them. The Burakumin rights movement has re-appropriated the drums and Burakumin now play them as a sign of defiance. There is a statue to Burakumin by the Human Rights Museum in Osaka (which is in a Buraku neighborhood) depicting Burakumin playing taiko drums. I don't think this is a coincidence, it is supposed to remind the audience of the Burakumins' struggle.
by Jen Snow (guest) rate this post as useful

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