Buraku Liberation News May 1999 No.108

Discriminatory Report Published in a University Student's Magazine

The Buraku Liberation League, on 9 December 1998 and 28 January 1999, held fact-finding sessions concerning a discriminatory report carried in the magazine "Lit-mass", published by the student's Journalism Study Circle at Chuo University, a private university in Tokyo. At the sessions, two students expressed their regret for writing the report. At the same time, the university authorities expressed their plans to promote human rights education.

The report in question, entitled "Slums in this country," cites two towns in Saitama Prefecture and in Tokyo as slum areas, defining them as "special areas," that is, Buraku communities.

Moreover, it falsely concludes that the origins of Buraku people were ancient slaves. Based on the recognition that Buraku discrimination is a small matter, it argues that Dowa education in schools is unnecessary and supports the consciousness of reverse discrimination of non-Buraku people in viewing the Dowa projects implemented only in Dowa areas. Furthermore, the report states, "I feel sympathy for people living in Dowa communities. But, stop being paranoid...Discrimination against you is not so severe as you suppose...Live your life fearlessly," questioning Buraku people's way of thinking.

At the first fact-finding session, the dean of the Department of Literature, in charge of human rights at Chuo University, expressed the University's regret that such a report was published in the university. The two students said respectively: "I apologize for having published such a discriminatory document without adequate knowledge. My poor understanding of the Buraku issue led to this incident"; "It is very shameful for me to realize, after its having been pointed out, that I myself had reproduced discrimination with the idea that the Buraku issue is just a past issue. I deeply regret that I consequently spread and propagated discrimination."

At the second session, Chuo University announced its measures to end discriminatory incidents on the campus by opening human rights courses, referring to other universities' efforts in order to promote human rights education at Chuo University, holding lecture meetings on the Buraku issue, and distributing booklets on human rights to every new student.

In May 1997, 33 pieces of discriminatory graffiti were found on the pillars and walls of Meiji University, a private university in Tokyo. It was later found out that a student of that university wrote the graffiti. Three fact-finding sessions were held over the incident between the BLL and the university.

Meiji University expressed their regret over the graffiti and vowed to strengthen human rights education for the students.

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