Buraku Liberation News  November 1999 No.111

High School Teacher Attempts to Withdraw His Household from a Community that Includes Buraku Households.

C, a high school teacher, happened to build a house in Community A which includes Buraku households, in D City, Mie Prefecture. 

He moved there in April in 1998. After learning that his house belongs to Neighborhood Association A, C began to try to detach his house along with eleven other households, which had moved in from non-Buraku areas, from the community and to join Association B.

He visited the eleven households to persuade them to transfer to Association B, by addressing daily inconveniences in Community A, regarding sewerage, garbage disposal and streets used by students to go to school. C advised a neighbor to transfer to Community B, where there are no Buraku households, saying, "it will be good for your daughter's future." 

The neighbor questioned him and protested. He apologized on the spot. However, he never stopped trying to withdraw from Association A, even after such discriminatory remarks.

His behavior was reported to his high school and was made public.

In response, BLL Mie held fact-finding sessions over the incident on 9 and 23 August in 1999.

During the sessions, C admitted the fact that he had tried to separate the eleven households from Association A and that he had also made discriminatory remarks.

It was learned that he had grown up and become a high school teacher without overcoming his prejudices against Buraku people; prejudices that had been put in his mind in his childhood. Besides, discrimination was tolerated in his daily life and workplace. 

Similar incidents occurred twice in the past. A real estate agent was involved on one occasion.

Faced with such discrimination by residents and a real estate agent, the authorities' awareness-raising programs targeted to citizens must effectively be reviewed and strengthened.

Buraku Children and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Tomoko Nakajima/BLHRRI

(second part of the series)

Scholastic Ability of Buraku Children

The Difference in learning ability between non-Buraku children and Buraku children has been a problem over the years. Still, some progress has been made to fill the gap. 

According to a national survey conducted by the Ministry of Education in 1997, the rate of enrolment into colleges among Buraku children was 28.6 percent, whereas the rate among all children throughout the country was 40.7 percent, showing a 12 point difference. 

The enrolment rate into senior high schools for Buraku children was 92 percent, whereas the national average reached 96.5. 

This is apparently a slight difference. However, when we look at the dropout rate of senior high school students, Buraku children were at 5 percent, whereas the national average was 2.5 percent. One of factors causing this difference rests with the gap in scholastic ability between Buraku children and non-Buraku children. 

A survey conducted by the Osaka Prefectural Government in 1996 demonstrates the gap in test scores between Buraku children and all children. 

Those who attained a hundred scores in all subjects accounted for 23.5 percent of all students at lower grades of elementary schools, while it was 14.3 percent among Buraku children. 

In junior high schools, 25 out of 100 students achieved a hundred scores, whereas 13.4 out of 100 students from Buraku achieved the same. 

In reverse, those who achieved less than 20 scores at lower grades in elementary schools accounted for 25.3 percent among all students, while it was 34.1 percent among Buraku children. 

In junior high schools, the same rate among Buraku children increased to 32.2 percent, while it decreased to 18.0 percent as far as all students were concerned. 

These figures tell that the gap in learning ability between Buraku children and non-Buraku children gets wider as they become older. 

A survey conducted with pre-school children in 1998 also showed a difference in cognitive powers between Buraku children and non-Buraku children. Here, the correlation between learning ability and self-esteem is observed. 

Even at the second grade of elementary school, a greater number of Buraku children answered 'yes' to the questions reflecting their lost self-esteem compared to non-Buraku children. These questions included; "I can keep up to the end," "I sometimes feel inferior to my friends," etc. 

Behind this is the reality that their parents have been deprived of their opportunities for education as a result of discriminatory practices against Buraku people. With lower academic records, parents could only find jobs with less favorable working conditions. 

Consequently, they could not spare much time for their children. This has been historically experienced by Buraku people across generations. The current situation of Buraku children at school is a result of historical repetition. This is a serious problem which we need to overcome as early as possible. 

Liberation Education in Osaka

Facing this reality, we have worked over many years for a solution through Dowa Education. Today, Dowa Education takes the lead in developing and promoting human rights education in Japan. 
Since the beginning, Dowa Education has placed the idea to love and care for children in the center. Especially, primary attention is given to children from Buraku and other minority groups, and those who are apt to run into delinquency. 

Dowa Education has never precluded these children. Not only in Osaka, but also in other parts of Japan, many teachers have worked devotedly under Dowa Education and made tremendous achievements.

Buraku discrimination has been accompanied by strong prejudice against occupations that Buraku people have specifically engaged in. Dowa Education has developed learning programs for Buraku children with the objective that they become proud of their parents' occupations, their communities, and their people. 

Actually, it is a course of empowerment of the children. At the same time, Dowa Education has also offered a space in which non-Buraku children learn values based on non-discrimination and appreciate genuine human relationships. 

Dowa Education is serving as a foundation for developing human rights education in Japan. Some schools have already implemented the "comprehensive human rights learning program" which is built on Dowa Education. 

Until two years ago, I was a teacher at Nunose Elementary School which includes a Buraku community in its school district. The school began a comprehensive human rights learning program called "Nunosho Town Works" several years ago. 

It is unique. The community is involved in the program, students take the initiative in the learning process, and the community as a whole is eventually expected to make a difference. 

For instance, students in fourth grade visit different workplaces in the school district where they are able to have work experience at stores or factories. Students in sixth grade go out of the school district, and visit a variety of workplaces to explore their future dreams. 

In the workplace, they see their parents or other adults working with pride in their works, and interview them about their careers or enthusiasm for their jobs. 

Children are sympathetic to whatever story they hear from adults. Through interviews with adults, children draw their future visions, while empowering themselves. 

This learning program is not unique only to Nunose Elementary School, but also is found in many other schools in Osaka Prefecture. Especially, schools having Buraku communities as part of their school districts play a role as a base for comprehensive human rights education program. 

In addition to these programs at schools, community-based children's societies in Buraku communities hold their own programs at community youth halls. 

Programs start right after school hours and end before the evening. During summer holidays, they have special programs such as camping. Their programs mainly consist of sports activities, study meetings, and circle activities. Recently, the community programs are starting to involve children from neighboring non-Buraku communities and their parents for various themes, in addition to Buraku children.

(to be continued)

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