Doktorarbeit: Die japanische Minorität Burakumin in ihrem historischen und sozio-ökonomischen Kontext

Die japanische Minorität Burakumin in ihrem historischen und sozio-ökonomischen Kontext

Diesseits und jenseits des Flusses

HERODOT – Wissenschaftliche Schriften zur Ethnologie und Anthropologie, volume 21

Hamburg , 440 pages

ISBN 978-3-339-11698-7 (print)
ISBN 978-3-339-11699-4 (eBook)

about this book

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Burakumin are ethnic Japanese who are no different from the majority, in neither phenotype, language nor religion. Nevertheless, they have been an ‘invisible race’ within Japan’s society, being marginalized and discriminated against for centuries. Up to this day, they hold this stigma.

The following questions are examined within the book:

  • Do the Burakumin regard themselves as an ethnic group?
  • Does the Japanese majority categorize them as a separate group? If so, which mechanisms apply in marginalizing them?
  • Can objective evidence be found that supports the categorization of Burakumin as a group separate from the rest of society?
  • The research is initiated by a thorough historical analysis of marginalized groups in Japan that are commonly characterized as forerunners of the Burakumin. The religious, historical and societal peculiarities of Japan and their effects on the marginalization of the Burakumin are investigated.

    Then, focus is shifted to the Burakumin-specific discourses of identity. Self-characterizations and ascriptions by the majority play an important role in this evaluation. It is followed by a discussion of the Burakumin’s current living conditions, their ongoing discrimination and the success and setbacks of both the government’s integration policies and the efforts by Burakumin liberation groups.

    The book is based on empirical long-term observations and backed by extensive fieldwork in Japan and some of its Buraku.

    The book opens impressive perspectives on the realities of the Burakumin, their history, customs and their development into a contemporary social and political movement. It shows how the “Other” manifests within the homogenous society in Japan and which mechanisms of marginalization and integration come into play. As such, the ideas outlined in the book can serve as an example when enquiring into other cultures and societies.

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