Buraku and Hansen's Disease Investigation Document from 1916 Discovered

A document containing information about villages containing people affected by Hansen's disease was found by members of Midori-no-Kaze (Green Wind), a movement for the promotion of better welfare and independent living for oppressed people. The document was published in 1916 under the title of "Survey of a Leprosy Village - Annex to Survey of Tokushu (special) Buraku." It contains detailed information about nationwide Buraku communities that contained people with Hansen's disease, in addition to their locations and the composition of their households and families. The survey was apparently conducted based on the biased belief that Buraku communities contained many people with Hansen's disease.

As was demonstrated in the incident where people who had recovered from Hansen's disease were refused accommodation in a Kyushu hotel in 2003, this form of discrimination and prejudice is still deeply rooted in society, and the rights of the people affected are not being fully respected.

The Buraku Liberation League and the National Council for Hansen's Disease Sanatorium Patients have agreed to make joint fact-finding efforts into the 90 year old investigation.

The investigation was jointly conducted by all prefectural governments (except for Tokyo, Hokkaido, Iwate and Hyogo) at the request of Kensuke Mitsuda, who was a leading figure in Hansen's disease treatment and the director of Zensen Hospital. According to the survey, there were 4,300 Buraku communities in 38 prefectures, and 240 communities containing people with Hansen's disease in 10 prefectures. The question was raised as to how Kensuke Mitsuda could be in a position to give the order to local governments to conduct the investigation to find Buraku communities in their respective prefectures. At that time, Mistuda was in his thirties and in his second year as the director of Zensen Hospital. It was obvious that National Government authorities were fully involved in the investigation. It can be assumed from these findings that a forcible isolation policy was reinforced to pave the way for the enactment of the law for the prevention of leprosy, which survived for ninety years until it was scrapped in 1996.

Joint research will soon be conducted by the Buraku Liberation League and the National Council for Hansen's Disease Sanatorium Patients for the restoration of the human rights of oppressed people.