Burakumin
/boor"euh kooh'min/, n.pl.
(in Japan) the members of a large social minority who have traditionally been considered outcasts.
[1965-70; < Japn, equiv. to buraku settlement, ghetto ( < MChin, equiv. to Chin bùlùo (or bùlào) settlement, village) + -min people ( < MChin, equiv. to Chin mín)]

* * *

(Japanese; "hamlet people")

Japanese minority group that suffers discrimination based on its historical outcaste status.

In the late 16th century, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi divided the populace into four social classes, one group remained outside and beneath the system: those whose occupation involved the taking of life (such as butchers or executioners) or handling flesh or dead bodies (such as leatherworkers or gravediggers). Buddhist and Shintō beliefs in the polluting nature of these occupations have long stigmatized those who held them. Though their outcaste status was removed by law in 1871, prejudice remains, and burakumin heritage often stands in the way of marriages and employment opportunities. Burakumin are estimated to number 1–3 million.

* * *

▪ Japanese social class
(Japanese: “hamlet people”),also called  Eta 

      (“pollution abundant”), outcaste, or “untouchable,” Japanese (Japan) minority, occupying the lowest level of the traditional Japanese social system. The Japanese term eta is highly pejorative, but prejudice has tended even to tarnish the otherwise neutral term burakumin itself.

      Although the class was officially abolished in 1871 (under the Emancipation Act of the Meiji period), vast numbers of burakumin continue to live in ghetto-like communities throughout Japan, and many are still relegated to unskilled and poorly paid occupations. Identification as a burakumin is often sufficient to prevent or void participation in a marriage, a contract, or employment in any non-burakumin occupation. No official census exists, but about 6,000 segregated communities of burakumin contain a total population variously estimated at between 1,000,000 and 3,000,000.

      Several fanciful theories about their “foreign” origins were once popular; the scholarly consensus is now that the original burakumin were simply impoverished Japanese who had drifted into beggary or lowly occupations, especially occupations tabooed by orthodox Shintō and Buddhism (such as leather making) involving the taking of life. During the Tokugawa (Edo) period, beginning in 1603, feudal laws cast the burakumin officially into segregated communities and occupations and, by the early 18th century, had forced on them certain badges of status—the wearing of special clothing and hair styles, the avoidance of other households, the observance of curfews, and prostration before their betters.

      Although the burakumin were “freed” in 1871, little was done to implement their freedom (no more, perhaps, than was done for U.S. blacks after the American Civil War). Not until the 20th century did groups of burakumin begin organizing for their cause; in 1922 a national organization, Suiheisha (Organization of Levelers), was created, and it engaged in various school boycotts, tax revolts, and other protests until its disbandment in 1941. After World War II, in 1946, a more militant and politically active organization was formed: the Buraku Kaihō Zenkoku Iinkai (All-Japan Committee for Buraku Liberation), which in 1955 was renamed Buraku Kaihō Dōmei (Buraku Liberation League). Its leftist orientation, however, alienated more conservative burakumin leaders. Thus in 1960 a rival national organization, Dōwakai (Society for Integration), was founded; it came to be led by Liberal Democratic politicians, some of whom were elected to the national Diet. A third organization, the Zenkoku Buraku Kaihō Undō (All-Japan Buraku Liberation Movement), was formed in 1976.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Burakumin — ( ja. linktext|部|落|民: buraku , tribe + min , people), is a term often used to describe a Japanese social minority group. The burakumin are one of the main minority groups in Japan, along with the Ainu of Hokkaidō, the Ryukyuans of Okinawa and the …   Wikipedia

  • Burakumin — (部落民, Burakumin?, littéralement « personne de la communauté » ou « du hameau ») est un terme japonais désignant un groupe social minoritaire japonais discriminé socialement et économiquement. Les « gens des hameaux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Burakumin — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Los burakumin (部落民, burakumin?) son la clase social más baja del Japón, está constituida por aproximadamente 3 millones de individuos que son étnica, lingüística y racialmente indistinguibles de los otros japoneses.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Burakumin — Los Burakumin son la clase social más baja del Japón, está constituída por aproximadamente 3 millones de individuos, son étnica, lingüística y racialmente indistinguibles de los otros japoneses, sin embargo, ellos son los Parias del Japón. La… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • burakumin — ● burakumin nom (mot japonais) Au Japon, minorité exerçant des métiers considérés comme impurs (bouchers, tanneurs, fossoyeurs) et faisant l objet d une profonde discrimination sociale. (Ils vivent dans de véritables ghettos, les buraku.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Burakumin — Buraku (jap. 部落, Sondergemeinde) auch Eta (jap. 穢多, Eta) genannt, bezeichnet in Japan von der Mehrheitsbevölkerung abgegrenzte Wohngebiete, in denen Angehörige der als Burakumin (部落民, Bewohner der Sondergemeinde) bezeichneten Minderheit leben.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • burakumin — noun A Japanese social minority group, descendants of feudal era outcasts. Since the early twentieth century, the burakumin have had strong liberation movements that have won mamny concessions for the group, but which have also, through their… …   Wiktionary

  • Burakumin — /boor euh kooh min/, n.pl. (in Japan) the members of a large social minority who have traditionally been considered outcasts. [1965 70; < Japn, equiv. to buraku settlement, ghetto ( < MChin, equiv. to Chin bùlùo (or bùlào) settlement,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • BURAKUMIN LITERATURE —    From ancient times, Japanese society has been stratified into many layers, and among the lowest ranks has existed an “untouchable” class called the eta. Historically they were families living in outlying communities (buraku) composed of those… …   Japanese literature and theater

  • Buraku — Burakumin Burakumin (部落民, Burakumin? littéralement « personne de la communauté » ou « du hameau ») est un terme japonais désignant un groupe social minoritaire japonais discriminé socialement et économiquement. Les « gens …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”