Buraku Liberation News, May 1997 issue (N0.96)

An Essay by Youth We have been publishing translations of Japanese literacy essays written mostly by Buraku people studying at literacy classes in Buraku areas. In this issue, we publish an English essay written by a high school girl who lives in a Buraku area in Osaka Prefecture. She announced this essay at an English speech contest held in Yao City.
4.Talking about myself

Ms H.K.
Yao Kita High School

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. My name is H K. I'm a second year student at Yao Kita High School. The other day, in class we watched a video program about Mr. Ryuhei Kawada, who was infected with HIV through contaminated blood products. The blood was used to treat his hemophilia. Now, he and many other hemophiliacs are accusing the State, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, some pharmaceutical companies and doctors who prescribed the blood and who knew it was unsafe. He wanted to bring their case to public opinion. When I watched the program, I felt it was great for him to face up to his difficulties. Because there is a lot of prejudice and discrimination against HIV sufferers, Ryuhei needed courage to start a lawsuit and bring his name to public attention. I was deeply impressed by his thought and way of life. I think that his situation was very similar to that of mine. I was born in an area called"Hisabetsu Buraku"(discriminated-against Buraku). People who live there have been unfairly discriminated against. As for me, I had little experience with discrimination in my child hood. However, I wanted to leave my home when I came to know that discriminatory incidents occurred even at Yao Kita High School, where Dowa education was being done. I was afraid to be discriminated against at school. But I changed my mind when talking with my teachers at junior high school. I thought it was better to enter Yao Kita High School and face up to the problem of prejudice than to live concealing the truth. The video reminded me of the feeling that I had at that time. Another thing that I learned from the video was the importance of talking about myself to others. Ryuhei told his friends about his disease before telling the mass media. They assisted him in his activities. This fact brought me to tears. I remember telling my classmates about myself when I was a first-year student.
I decided to do that because I wanted my classmates to think about the Buraku problem and to know that there is a classmate from a Buraku area. I hesitated in telling my background, even though I believed that my classmates would understand me. I had great difficulty in doing that, but I had great joy afterwards. However difficult it was, talking about myself was the right thing to do. Since then, I made many friends with whom I had cordial conversations. Many of my classmates sympathized with my story and encouraged me. I will face up to my difficulties, and deal with my struggle. Talking today makes me stronger than I was yesterday. And talking tomorrow will make me stronger than I am today. Ryuhei is suffering from his serious illness, struggling against prejudice. I will keep cheering for him from the bottom of my heart. I will try to continue on my way without losing courage and without giving in to fear. Thank you very much.