Civic Engagement and Community Development Among Japan’s Burakumin

  • Yuko Nishimura
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)

Introduction: Visible and Invisible

In Japan, government policies generally don’t recognize the country’s ethnic or minority diversity, preferring to view Japan as homogenous. In the words of Prime Minister Taro Aso, Japan is “one nation, one civilization, one language, one culture, and one race.”1 However, Japan is, in fact, a multiethnic country where there are ancient ethnic minorities such as Ainus and Okinawans. There are also resident Koreans and Chinese, many of whom were forcibly relocated to Japan during Japan’s colonial era, and, there are recent immigrants of Japanese heritage whose grand and great-grand parents emigrated to Latin and South America in the early twentieth century. Although they are not racially different from the rest of Japanese, Japan’s ex-Untouchables, the Burakumin are another “ethnic” minority.2 Living on the fringe of society in segregated neighborhoods and hamlets called “buraku,” they were treated, beginning with the Tokugawa era, as “nonhuman” and...


Local Government Public Housing Liberal Democratic Party Youth Group Cooperative Housing 
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I would like to thank many people in Buraku community who helped me conceiving this paper. I particularly thank Yuzo Uchida and Yoshihiko Yamamoto for their valuable comments and advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Komazawa UniversityTokyoJapan

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