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As Buraku ( Japanese 部落 , "special municipality") were previously in Japan designated by the majority population demarcated residential areas, where members of the Burakumin ( 部落民 , "residents of the special municipality") or today as Hisabetsu burakumin ( 被差別部落民 , "Discriminated residents of the special communities") designated minority lived.

The Burakumin minority, whose descendants are still discriminated against in certain areas of society, ethnically belonged to the Japanese majority population (in contrast to the Ainu or the Koreans , the other two major minority groups in Japan) and were neither in appearance, religion nor customs to be distinguished from the rest of the Japanese. The social challenges based on their earlier and in some cases still persisting discrimination are called buraku mondai ( 部落 問題 , "Buraku problem") or dōwa mondai ( 同 和 問題 , "integration problem").

Officially, the number of Burakumin descendants is given as 1.157 million, in fact the number is estimated at around two to three million and the number of former Buraku areas at 5,000 to 6,000.

In German, only Buraku is often used for burakumin .


Historically, the Burakumin consist of two groups: the Eta ( 穢 多 , "dirty") and the Hinin ( 非人 , "non-human"). Both religious views and social formations led to the discrimination of the Burakumin.

The Burakumin came from a population group below the four-class system (warriors, peasants, artisans, merchants) established by the rulers during the Edo period (1603–1867) . The reason for their exclusion , especially the eta, were their professions, which were regarded as impure , partly for Shinto and partly for Buddhist motives . This included, for example, all activities that had to do with the dead (e.g. body washer and gravedigger) or the killing of animals or the processing of meat or skins (e.g. drum manufacturer, tanner and butcher, but also straw sandal manufacturer) . The spelling of eta as 'dirt' and 'much' is an ateji , i. H. added to an existing word afterwards. According to one theory, it is derived from the etori ( 餌 取 , " prey hunters"), who were responsible for procuring meat for the animals used for falconry .

Hinin, on the other hand, refers to those who have been excluded from society because of a crime or other misconduct.

Since the occupations were hereditary and there were population registers in which the population was entered at birth, the Burakumin could be identified at any time. This solidified the discrimination, which extended to all areas of public life: people had to live in certain localities (buraku), their children were not allowed to attend normal schools, there were special temples for practicing their religion, they were allowed the houses of "ordinary citizens “Do not enter, accept no food and do not collect wood in the community forest. In addition, they were given only the poorest land for cultivation.

Although in 1871 a so-called “Liberation Decree ” officially put the Burakumin on an equal footing with the common people ( 平民heimin ), the discrimination continued. For example, the term shin-heimin ( 新 平民 , "new citizen") became commonplace for them, which devalues in a similar way to burakumin (see also euphemism treadmill ).

In 1922, around 2,000 Burakumin MPs in Kyōto's Okazaki Park founded the Zenkoku Suiheisha Movement ( 全国 水平 社 ), a national movement for the emancipation of the Burakumin, which is still active today . The movement was initially interrupted by the Second World War, but then revived in 1946 and culminated in the founding of the " Buraku Liberation League " in 1955 ( 部落 解放 同盟 buraku kaihō dōmei , English Buraku Liberation League , abbreviated BLL). The BLL has already achieved success in the fight against discrimination, but sees itself also in criticism because of rigid methods such as the kyūdan tōsō ( 糾 弾 闘 争 ), a kind of show trial.

In 1988, the BLL was instrumental in the founding of the IMADR ( International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism , International Movement against all types of discrimination and racism involved).

Current situation

The descendants of the Burakumin still have difficulties in the social life of Japan, in large part because of the still existing registers , which were publicly accessible until 1976 and contain the family name and origin for generations. However, the descendants of the Burakumin are now allowed to change their name.

In 1947, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare prohibited employers from requesting a register extract from job applicants. However, HR departments of larger companies still keep unofficial lists today, which are based on the population registers and show the settlements and residential areas formerly reserved for the Burakumin. Applicants can therefore be easily identified as burakumin based on their place of birth. There is still discrimination in marital relationships as well.

According to the BLL, burakumin even make up the majority of the population in some Japanese communities, e.g. B. more than 70% in Kōnan (formerly Yoshikawa) in the prefecture of Kōchi and more than 60% in Ōtō in the prefecture of Fukuoka (as of 1993).

In 2008, the online service Google Maps added historical maps of Japanese cities to its range. As former Buraku areas were marked on some of these maps, the former location of which could be projected onto today's urban areas without great effort and without historical explanation, this led to protests in Japan about possible discrimination; These protests were reported on the Internet and in the foreign press. Google Maps soon removed the objectionable markings from the affected maps.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. M. Pohl, HJ Mayer (Ed.): Country Report Japan . Federal Agency for Civic Education , Series Volume 355. 1998, ISBN 3-89331-337-0 , p. 119
  2. . In: ブ リ タ ニ カ 国際 大 百科 事 典 小 項目 事 典 at kotobank.jp. Retrieved May 2, 2017 (Japanese).
  3. 餌 取 り . In: デ ジ タ ル 大 辞 泉 at kotobank.jp. Retrieved May 2, 2017 (Japanese).
  4. 非人 . In: 世界 大 百科 事 典 第 2 版 at kotobank.jp. Retrieved May 2, 2017 (Japanese).
  5. ^ Peter J. Hartmann: Consumer cooperatives in Japan . Munich 2003, ISBN 3-89129-507-3 , p. 513.
  6. Measures of the Buraku against discrimination. The Kyuudan Confrontation. (No longer available online.) In: japan-infos.de. Archived from the original on June 9, 2009 ; Retrieved May 14, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.japan-infos.de
  7. M. Pohl, HJ Mayer (Ed.): Country Report Japan . Federal Agency for Civic Education , Series Volume 355. 1998, ISBN 3-89331-337-0 , p. 120
  8. 部落 解放 ・ 人 権 研究所 [Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute] (Ed.): Zusetsu. Kyō no Buraku Sabetsu. Kakuchi no Jittai Chōsa Kekka yori . 3. Edition. 1997, ISBN 4-7592-0193-9 , pp. 31 (Japanese: 図 説 今日 の 部落 差別 各地 の 実 態 調査 結果 よ り .).
  9. 同 和 地区 人口 比率 の 高 い 市町村 (%) . Archived from the original on December 25, 2005 ; Retrieved May 14, 2009 (Japanese, from Zusetsu. Kyō no Buraku Sabetsu. ).
  10. Jay Alabaster: Old Japanese maps on Google Earth unveil 'burakumin' secrets. In: ABC News. May 6, 2009, accessed May 2, 2017 .
  11. Google Earth maps out discrimination against burakumin caste in Japan. In: Times Online. May 22, 2009, archived from the original on September 27, 2009 ; accessed on May 2, 2017 .