01.02.19 | News, Project of the Month

Combating discrimination – Liberating Buraku

In February, the project of the month comes from Japan
Japanese people demonstrate on the streets.

Through protests and public events the Buraku Liberation Centre raises awareness for the discrimination of the Buraku. (Photo: EMS/BLC)

In many countries of the world, people are discriminated on the basis of their origin, skin colour or gender. The Buraku in Japan also experience discrimination and exclusion to this day, although they have been equal before the law since 1871. Buraku or Burakumin are people whose ancestors practised professions that were considered impure: They were butchers, undertakers or tanners and lived in separate districts away from society. Their children were not allowed to attend school - insults, hatred and injustice was part of their daily life. Since the professions were hereditary, the fathers passed the professions on to their sons, the Buraku could easily be identified by their surnames.

Even today, lists with typical Buraku names or addresses are still circulating in some areas of Japan. Thus, it happens again and again that descendants of the Buraku are treated unequally and, for example, receive no housing or work.

For this reason, the KYODAN Church in Japan established the Buraku Liberation Center many years ago. It stands up for minorities and fights for their rights: publications, plays and events raise the awareness of Japanese society for the problems. The youth work of the centre supports young adults and helps to develop tolerance and respect among each other. In 2018, the centre also organised a congress with around 50 participants dealing with the future of the liberation movement. In discussions and conversations, new focal points and objectives were set in order to finally overcome the discrimination of the Buraku in Japan. The Liberation Centre is also internationally active and cooperates with Dalit self-help organisations in India and Sinti and Roma associations in Germany.