Buraku Liberation News  January 2000 No.112

Buddhist Priest Says Nettle Rash Broke Out after Eating Raw Fish in Buraku Area.

In December 1999, the BLL Nara held the 2nd fact-finding session on discriminatory remarks made by a Buddhist priest, following the 1st session held in August.

In June 1999, M, Chief Priest of Anraku-ji Temple of the of Buddhism Jodo-shinshu Hongan-ji Sect, located in Murou village, Nara Prefecture, told three officials at the village government office, "I received only a small fee when I was asked to chant a sutra at a funeral in a Buraku area. "

"People in non-Buraku areas would bring sufficient money later even if they don't have enough on the funeral day. And, after I ate sashimi, or raw fish, served after the funeral, nettle rash broke out. In non-Buraku areas, a lot of delicious food is served to me, and such a thing would never happen."

At the 1st fact-finding session, it was revealed that M got angry that the fee he received at the funeral was small, feeling that he was treated lightly. M visited the village government office to consult over the small fee he received, expecting that the officials might persuade the Buraku family to pay him more. 

At the session, M showed an irresponsible attitude. His remarks were inconsistent, such as "I don't remember," "Did I say such a thing?" "I've forgotten the purpose of visiting the government office," and "I visited the government office on a matter of tax payment." 

Moreover, M assumed a defiant attitude, saying, "I am embarrassed at this trouble." However, pursued by other participants, M admitted that he had made the discriminatory remarks.

Present at the 2nd fact-finding session were the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, an executive member and other members of the BLL Nara, people from the Nara Parish of the Jodo-shinshu Honganji Sect, the Murou village government office, and followers of the Anraku-ji Temple. 

M was absent because he was reportedly convalescing from sickness. Therefore members of the Nara Parish reported the contents of his interview regarding his remarks.

The following is the outline of the report read by the Nara Parish:

M spent his junior-high and high school days in Tokyo and first knew about the Buraku issue when he was teaching at an elementary school at the age of twenty-four or twenty-five. His colleagues told him to be careful in visiting students' homes in a Buraku area. Later, when he was working at a gas station, he was reprimanded by a customer from a Buraku area. 

Besides, he was impressed that Buraku areas were 'dirty', since he saw a Buraku area before the implementation of the Dowa project to improve the living environment. Such experiences brought misunderstanding and a discriminatory consciousness against Buraku people. He also felt uneasy about the Dowa project.

Commenting on the report, Mr. Tsujimoto, the Secretary-General of BLL Nara pointed out that M felt unsatisfied with a small fee while trying to manage his temple which did not have many parishioners and that as a result prejudice against Buraku people spouted out from his own difficulties.

The director of the Nara Parish admitted that their human rights awareness-raising programs were not enough and said that each member of his Sect would take this incident seriously as his/her own problem.

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