Buraku Liberation News, Aug 1998 issue (No.103)

Essay by a youth (4)

When I Became Aware of Myself

-discrimination in marriage-

By Manami Mori

We publish the English translation of an essay written by a woman from a non-Buraku area who married a man from a Buraku area. She wrote this essay in 1997 during a class of the Lecture Course for Buraku Liberation and Human Rights, sponsored by the Buraku Liberation Research Institute. The course has workshops for self-awareness in addition to a series of lectures. This is the last part of the essay.

I feel happy to have married my husband in spite of the difficulties.

I never regret our marriage in spite of the difficulties. If I had not confronted the suffering caused by my family's strong opposition to our marriage, I could not have become the person that I am today.

I might be the kind of a person who makes no bones about discriminating against others. I might have been influenced only by the opinions of my family as well as by the negative image prevailing in society.

When I realized such ideas nine years after our marriage, I finally felt alright in spite of the strong opposition from my family.

Of course, I sometimes felt alright about our marriage even before that. However, I could not embrace such feelings in the bottom of my heart. I used to blame myself for being unfilial and for bothering people around me.

On the other hand, I asked myself, "Did I behave badly, or did I commit an inhumane act ?" I deplored why I had to meet such hardships, even though we were in a position to be celebrated by my relatives.

Since my husband and I were brought up in places where Dowa education was not conducted in school and the Buraku liberation movement was not influential, we did not know with whom we should have consulted.

We kept on crying. We once came to the conclusion that we would only become happy after committing suicide.

Whenever I asked myself about such discrimination that could get us cornered, I was not able to feel true happiness.

Fortunately, as I attended the Lecture Course for Buraku Liberation and Human Rights, I came to believe that those who discriminate against others are pitiful.

Then I was able to tell my husband that I would lead my life, putting a sense of human rights as the utmost value for me, after I began to think about the pain of other people. I also told him that the encounter with him made me change my view of life, although I felt a little bit embarrassed.

If somebody around us had had a right orientation nine years before, we could have passed on a different way. So far I just hated and had a grudge against those who discriminated against others.

I was persuaded that those who had a strong sense of discriminating against others chose a way to look down upon others to fill their own lack of confidence. I think that they do not notice their own psychology and they do not try to see themselves.

A Change of My Parents

Although I resumed communication with my family, we never talked about my elopement nine years before. When I changed my job to the present one a year ago, I hesitated to tell my parents about it for fearing that they might oppose me again in spite of the fact that we finally came to terms with each other.

Even though one of my acquaintances blamed me, saying my hesitation was based on my sense of discriminating against others, I still could not talk about my occupation.

One night, my mother made a phone call to me, asking the name of my office. According to her, she learned about my resignation from the company where I had worked before, when she made a phone to that office in the daytime due to an urgent business.

I just answered that I was working for the Board of Education in our village without explaining about my concrete task. She did not ask anymore and said, "You are lucky since you are working at a nice office. Do your best for whatever your task is."

When I talked with my mother during my return home, she suddenly asked me, "Is your task related to the Dowa issue at the office of Board of Education?"

I just answered "yes", with surprise. In response, she said, "Is it true ? Try your best because that is the way you chose." While I was very happy to hear those words from her, I asked her why her idea had changed.

According to my mother, she often read some public information papers featuring the Dowa issue and leaflets regarding a lecture on the Dowa issue. She murmured that these days we should not have a negative image about the Buraku issue.

I could not respond to her anymore, because her words surprised me while making me feel happy.

When I invited her to attend a lecture meeting on the Dowa issue several days after, she said "yes" without showing any hesitation. On the other hand, my father sometimes murmurs, suggesting his regret to have opposed my marriage.

When it comes to my elder brother who was the strongest opponent against my marriage, I don't know what his present feeling is since we seldom have a conversation. At least my parents seem to try to look back on their discriminatory attitude at the time of my marriage. Therefore I intend to concretely explain to them about my work in the near future.

I am aware of myself.

In an assignment at the Lecture Course for Buraku Liberation and Human Rights, my hesitation prevented me from writing about my experience, as Ms Inoue, a lecturer, talked about.

I realized that I escaped from confronting reality because I didn't have enough courage to explain about the Buraku issue to my parents up to the present. I noticed that I did not liberate my own tied up hands and feet in the framework of Buraku discrimination.

The Lecture Course gave me an opportunity to think about the weak points that I never tried to look at. I used to shut myself up or hurt myself after giving way to my feelings, if I could not have any supporter. I wanted to overcome such a characteristic.

At present I want to obtain the means and courage as a driving force of my life to clearly speak out my opinions to others.