ST2015 - Bad Boll: MIZUNO Matsuo

Studientagung in Bad Boll
Evangelische Akademie Bad Boll, 25.- 27. September 2015

Von den Burakumin und ihrer Arbeit in Japan

Pfarrer MIZUNO Matsuo gehört zum Kyodan (Vereinigte Kirche Christi in Japan) und arbeitet seit vielen Jahren bei der Buraku Liberation League in Tokyo, einer (säkularen) NGO. 
Bei der Konferenz "Weltweit gegen Diskriminierung - in Kirche und Gesellschaft" hielt er einen Vortrag vonseiten der Buraku in Japan, aufgeteilt in 2 Teilen.
Die originale japanische Version hier.

Matsuo MIZUNO, Tokyo / Bad Boll
September 2015

I am a pastor of the United Church of Christ in Japan. However, my everyday work is as secretary of the Buraku Liberation League in Tokyo. This is an organization of buraku people. I am working for Employment Counseling for Buraku people, Planning and Publishing of our newspaper (2 times a month) and also for anti-employment discrimination gatherings and human rights education seminars (one time a year). I can say: I am working to solve the Buraku discrimination.

In the Edo era (1590/1603 - 1867), a Buraku is a producer of leather from Skin and it is also slaughtering. This lasted until 140 years ago. But now the Buraku discrimination is still going on, the social discrimination against this group, against people who want to marry, employment, land deals and so on. Leather was the important material to create armor and horse saddle for the government. And the producers worked with pride.

It was also preparation and afterwards cleaning up the public executions places after some death penalty. This was also important government work since 1635.

The cause of discrimination is a human cognition.

In the Edo era, cattle and horses that were no longer able to work in agriculture are put in a specific location in a village. And Buraku people had to slaughter this cattle and horses beside a river, remove the skin, and leather tanning. In addition, in the public execution places Buraku people worked for preparation for some death penalty and afterwards clean up the dead body.

Cause of Buraku discrimination is the cognition that Non-Buraku people hate both these roles. In cognitive therapy, the American psychiatrist Aaron Beck has proposed to call it "automatic thoughts". It immediately comes to mind when someone sees something. For example, when I drive my car and I see a dead cat body in the road, I immediately think "Oh.. I hate it". Distorted cognition leads to discrimination, emotions and behaviors. Stop thinking by this distorted cognition is the cause of indifference. So, we can replace to cognition in reality from the distorted cognition. It is necessary to modify.

While working on Buraku exposure in Tokyo, I told participants the history of Buraku, Buraku discrimination of the current situation, and the social significance of the slaughtering work. We are working to modify the distorted cognition.

I tell you now how Buraku discrimination looked like during the last 140 years in Japan.

In 1867 the Edo government was destroyed and the Meiji government was established. In 1871, the government abolished the rules of the Edo period and created the free economy formation in Japan. Leather production was the role of Buraku. However, this it lost this role of leather production and the exclusive rights of the skin of cattle and horses. The leather producers of the higher class, who accumulated a lot of capital in the Edo period could continue the leather production at several places across the country. A leather producer of the Edo government in Tokyo, DANZAEMON established leather tanning factory and shoe factory in1870. He laid the foundation of the current Japanese leather tanning and shoe factories.

I visit every year Tamil Nadu State in India. They had the Dharmapuri violence on November 7, 2012, opposing marriage of Shudra and Dalit. 2,000 Shudras attacked three Dalit villages. 140 years ago in Japan similar incidents occurred. In 1872, the law ordered that all children had to go to elementary school. A Buraku child and a non-Buraku child will go to the same elementary school. However, non-Buraku parents do not want their children and Buraku children go together to the same school. Non-Buraku parents in Tokyo were prevent to send Buraku children to school for 7 years. So, in the Buraku area no children were born.

In western Japan, farmers had problems because of the disposal of sick and dead cattle and horses. They did not have an idea and no technology in those days. They didn't know what to do. Then the new government was against the leather production role of Buraku. They also were opposed the request of the farmers to pay school fees . They cried and burned and destroyed the Buraku village, 2 people died in Hiroshima prefecture in 1871, in Kochi prefecture 67 village houses were destroyed, 4 people died in Okayama prefecture in 1872, 18 people died in Okayama prefecture in 1873, in Fukuoka prefecture 64.000 people were punished. In 1925, in the Serada village, about 80 km from Tokyo, 2.000 non-Buraku people were attacked in 16 houses in the Buraku area. Once discriminating persons promised an apology to discriminated Buraku people. But their promise was like wastepaper: then 2000 peoples attacked the village.

Currently, in Japan Buraku discrimination does not include arson and murder. However, even now continues since Meiji-times - nearly 140 years ago - the investigation of the identity, marriage and employment. There is a day-to-day Buraku discrimination taking place in land transactions.

In1993, my family too had an employment discrimination. It was a part-time job. The company personnel managers told me that "I do not want to put Buraku people into a position where they have human relations". Then we talked with this company. The company should reflect and apologize on Buraku discrimination. A human rights representative is now provided in the company and human rights education is going on.

I am working in The Buraku Liberation League in Tokyo. This organization originated in Tokyo Levelers Association, which was formed in 1922. It is the organization by Buraku people themselves. The Buraku Liberation League Tokyo was formed in 1961 through Buraku Liberation committee activities after World War II.

By the agrarian land reform after World War II , the Buraku peasant became a self-made farmer (formerly a landless farmer). In addition, from 1954 to 1973, about 19 years, the economic growth rate was more than 10% , the Japanese economy grow fast. In this economic growth, Buraku Liberation Movement demanded a policy to solve the Buraku discrimination problem to the government. In 1965, The Cabinet Dowa Policy Council of government issued a report, which says:

"The solution of the Buraku problem rests with the government, and at the same time, it is an issue that all the people of Japan should tackle with." ”The law on special measures for dowa projects” was made in 1969. Buraku environmental improvement included employment measures and educational support. However, This law has expired in 2002. The government did nothing, did not research for the effects of 33 years. In addition to their social background, there were the economic recession and deflation from around 1991. It was the deterioration of the Japanese economy.

In this current of economic downturn - non-regular workers are 40% of all workers - a disparity in society appeared: the annual income of 2 million yen (14.500 €) or less for workers were more than 10 million people. One in six children lives in poverty, 70% of the fatherless family live on the poverty line. Among the single parent and economic difficulties, the number of abuse has exceeded 70,000 per year.

Under such social stress and poverty, and by the rapid development of the internet since 2000, a new form of Buraku discrimination was born. A 34-year-old man in Tokyo in unstable employment has sent 400 discrimination postcards to Buraku people nationwide during one and a half year about the stress. The content is: "Buraku people is not human. Buraku people are doing pig killing in the slaughterhouse, and work in the leather factory This work is low, is unclean. In the slaughterhouse, Buraku people are killing the pigs and cattle without any hesitation every day. Buraku people are cruel and ruthless animals. Buraku people belong to the mafia of Buraku Liberation League. It is a very violent crime group." "Your neighbor is a dangerous man." This man sent thus postcard to the neighborhood of the Buraku people houses. Police arrested this man because of the crime of document forgery, intimidation, defamation. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Buraku Address List and Buraku People's Name List has been published on an internet site. This discriminatory information can be spread in large amounts immediately by the internet. And many people used these for Buraku discrimination.

In addition, discrimination graffiti are numerous in the city. In March, hate speech by right-wing organizations occurred everywhere. We need to improve the economic and employment situation, improvement of education against the Buraku discrimination. And we need a law to prohibit such discrimination.

How to solve Buraku Discrimination.

We have 3 themes in our struggle.
Buraku Liberation League's denunciation struggle against Buraku discrimination, negotiating with government authorities, the Sayama Case third trial.

1. Denunciation struggle against Buraku discrimination

This is a discussion of discrimination towards individuals and organizations in a discrimination case: What is the Buraku discrimination? Why did the discrimination case happen? And we discuss the cause and try to improve the law and system. You can use the government negotiation for this: our parliamentarians raised a discrimination case in the Diet. So by discussion we have to improve the law and system.

For example: "The Buraku Place-names list book incident" has occurred in 1975. In order to eliminate Buraku or Non-Buraku origin at the time of the marriage and employment, this books posted a nationwide Buraku place names, and has been sold. Many big companies have bought it just for the purpose of employment discrimination.

The Buraku Liberation League talked with the government. The government has made "Inside Enterprise Buraku problem Awareness Promotion system for staff" in 1977. If there are more than 100 employees in the company, it has to appoint a staff for the training of employment discrimination prevention and the Buraku problem. From 1997 the name was changed to "Fair Recruitment Human Rights Awareness Promotion staff " From 2013 , a company staff in Tokyo with more than 50 employees has to appoint a staff. So staff have been increased .

Also, we talked with companies who bought the Buraku place name List Book. In 1979 the Industrial Federation for Human Rights, Tokyo (124 companies and about one million employees, in July 2015) has been formed. Now they tackle with Human Rights education in their companies

However, a discrimination investigation incident occurred in 1998. A research firm had received a request from about 1.400 enterprises. This was a background investigation at the time of employment. In Tokyo, the research firm and 200 large companies had arranged a deal. The Tokyo research firm said "the background investigation is 60 percent". The Government has taken this incident seriously and amended the law: private companies collecting information to discriminate against job seekers is now illegal. Even if the government is out to improve instructions, companies do not improve. But now there will be "less than six months of imprisonment" or "a fine of ¥ 300,000 or less."

And we talked with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Every year in June they make a campaign to eliminate employment discrimination. They hold lecture and movie sessions to target the citizens in Tokyo.

For16 years since this incident, once a year, we have been gathering in order to eliminate employment discrimination. There are 1,000 participants. Government and companies, labor unions, and religious groups. We work together and have good cooperation.

Twice a year we have a meeting to eliminate discrimination in high school students employment. Members of the conference are administrative staff of education and labor section in the Tokyo government, the Tokyo Labor Bureau staff, teachers union, Buraku Liberation League. Employment discrimination cases are around 130 per year, alone in Tokyo. These are the collection of information to job seekers on employment discrimination. The companies take the information in the interview and documents for the employment test. The Tokyo Labor Bureau confirms incidents and also correct a company's policy and system to eliminate employment discrimination.

Now, education of employment discrimination is only to high school and university students in Tokyo. This has become a challenge. We have revised the textbooks of high school and college students of the labor law three years ago. In high school some teacher teach their students by this textbook.

In university, the Tokyo Labor Bureau staff teaches in the Career Center of the University.

But, citizens do not have sufficient awareness and interest to employment discrimination. So there is a Survey on human rights every five years in Shinagawa, Tokyo, a survey of 2.000 people. 1.000 people did answer. "When your son or daughter is going to marry, if marriage partner is Buraku: What are you doing?" in the response to this question, 50% of people answer to "accept." But in employment tests if company person ask you about your background investigation: How do you think? 70 to 90% person replied "no problem".

But, if young people's awareness changes, then after five or ten years, I think, citizens awareness changes too. I hope we can continue successfully to educate at high schools and universities.

2. The second point is the retrial of the Sayama Case.

This is a false case concerning Buraku discrimination. It is the kidnapping/murder case of a high school girl, which took place in May 1963 in Sayama city. The Saitama prefectural police was not able to catch the offender at the ransom delivery place. And police know about the regional rumors of "the kidnapping murder case is one of Buraku people". Then they investigated intensively the Buraku area. And then, ISHIKAWA Kazuo was arrested. He is a Buraku person. The police lied to Ishikawa: "If you will make a confession, I don't arrest your brother. And then 'I'll get you out from jail after 10 years". Ishikawa believed, what the police was saying and he said "I did". This is a false confession. He did not go enough to elementary school. So he had low literacy.

The death penalty in the first trial in 1964 was the judgment of the court, life imprisonment has been finalized at the 2nd trial in 1974. He was 31 years and 7 months in prison. And he was paroled in 1994.

Currently, the Sayama Case lawyers will request the third retrial at the Tokyo High Court. Evidences of the innocence of Mr. Ishikawa, such as different handwritings and forgery evidences - there are many kind of evidences now.

The Buraku Liberation League advertises Ishikawa's innocence in front of the High Court. We demand to examine facts of evidence and expert witness by the High Court. And we request the disclosure of all evidence to the prosecutors. We have a request action against the High Court and the Prosecutor's Office. We want a fair trial and we want to open the retrial.

Kazuo Ishikawa was arrested when he was 24 year old, he is now 76 years old. But even now, there are invisible handcuffs on his arms. A false case, but his innocence is not yet established. But we share the feeling that "everyone is for one person, one person is for everyone", "Buraku discrimination not only Kazuo Ishikawa, we also. Ishikawa's life is my life. because it is the fate of Buraku people" . A documentary film of Kazuo Ishikawa was completed last year. People who saw the movie had the expectation and interest for the retrial. The movie got a Film Awards.

"Let's shatter discrimination judicially"

Lyrics-Buraku Liberation League / composer Akira SAKUTA

Innocent cry from west to east
The original we can advance the crown of thorns flag
Let's shatter discrimination judicially
Let's shatter discrimination judicially

Sayama trial of discrimination
Resolutely we do fight
Let's regain Ishikawa youth
Let's regain Ishikawa youth

Cry my Action Battalion innocent
And the brother of three million
Let's shatter discrimination judicially
Let's shatter discrimination judicially

3. The third point is a struggle with the government

That is negotiating with government authorities. But there is no sufficient understanding of affirmative actions in Japan.

The Buraku Liberation Movement demands a policy to solve the Buraku discrimination problem. In 1965, The Cabinet Dowa Policy Council of government issued a report which says "A solution to Buraku problem rested with the government, and at the same time, it was an issue that all the people of Japan should tackle.". ”the law on special measures for dowa projects” was made in 1969. Buraku environmental improvement, Employment measures and education support. Construction of widening road and parks, construction of public housing and meeting houses, Buraku environmental improvement projects, loans for livelihood funds and scholarships have been made.

But, this was only temporary legislation. As long as there is Buraku discrimination in our society, we need comprehensive and drastic measures. Then we made a movement for enacting "the Buraku Liberation Basic Law" for achieving a fundamental resolution of Buraku discrimination issue in 1985. We had efforts to enact this law. In 2000 a part of the law was realized: the "human rights education enlightenment Law" was enacted. This has been tackled: human rights education and enlightenment to eliminate Buraku discrimination in national and local governments , school education and social education.

The Special Measures Law expired in 2002. But there is Buraku discrimination still going on. So we demanded the enactment of "human rights abuses Relief Act " for victims of discrimination. In our society there is poverty and widening disparity by economic recession since 2000, the increase of social stress, the expansion of internet users. Also, I think, discrimination graffiti in the city appeared and "discrimination incitement" on internet . In recent years, there are daily demonstrations to perform hate speech on the streets. In Japan, despite the fact that Japan is a member of the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination(ICERD) - there is no antidiscrimination law in Japan. Because the freedom of expression and speech. Now is the time in our society: we need an antidiscrimination law. Currently, hate speech is illegal. "the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Basic Law" is tabled in our Parliament. It has been discussed.

We also demand to ratify the government ILO No.111 Convention, which content is the prohibition of employment discrimination. We will continue the movement to request the improvement of the legal system for elimination of discrimination.

The "Human Rights Education Enlightenment Law" was established in 2000. The national and local governments are to promote human rights education enlightenment from 2002. This is basic to this law. But the human rights education and enlightenment of the government is limited. because we do not become content with self-esteem. Our own education is important for us. Government should take the role to be empowered by education and enlightenment activities of ours. But, the Tokyo government still sticks to the human rights education and enlightenment of the administration.

In particular, the descriptions of Buraku in textbooks of schools is a problem. In junior high school textbooks, Buraku are "people should be treated equally, low status people, discriminate people". That is all. No reason for discrimination is given, no method of how to solve the issue. In this situation, our children will become the target of discrimination and bullying in the classroom.

We want to tell our role and its meaning in our society of leather producers in the past and the present in a school.

The providers of leather production in the Edo era.
They provide not only leather for the government. someone made medicine from meat and organs to keep the people's health. Ink and ink stone from hide glue, made for writing by horse hair. When we had recordings about various things in the world, this is our history and culture. Japanese paintings of mixing the pigment of the paint in the hide glue is drawn, there traditional beauty of Japan was born. Candles are made to harden the wax by beef fat, lightening the dark.

In modern society, meat and leather is what you need in food culture and fashion culture. We will enrich our living.

Collagen (glue or gelatin) has been used as cosmetic material, as an adhesive for food and industry. Currently this has become the foundation of IPS cells for regenerative medicine. It helps to regenerate our body and organs, nerves. By the reason of hatred slaughtering has stopped ,such person cannot understand. Rather than hating slaughtering, let's notice the fact that we use many necessary things in our daily life from the slaughtering. There is a need to educate in order to eliminate the discrimination.

Leather producers have worked with pride in the Edo era and now too. Our society and culture has been created. And, the technology and experience have developed in modern society. We will educate its social meaning and role. Many of our children now have no relation to this. But now they will also be able to have a positive self-esteem for their work and for the role of the ancestors in slaughtering and leather production.

Das Originalmanuskript hier als pdf