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Discussion Paper 5 in 2005
First published in ejcjs on 31 October 2005

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Cooperativeness and Buraku Discrimination


Takuya Ito

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The Japanese are often described as being a cooperative people. If this is indeed the case, why do they discriminate against the Burakumin? Buraku discrimination is, thus, contradictory to Japanese people's cooperativeness. This paper uses Jungian psychology to argue that, in Japanese society, cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination are two sides of the same coin. When focusing on one side of the coin, cooperativeness, Japanese have a tendency to neglect the other side, which is Buraku discrimination. On the other hand, cooperativeness is forgotten when discriminating against the Burakumin. This paper aims to provide an explanation for this contradictory relationship.

1 Introduction

Buraku discrimination in contemporary Japan covers a wide rage of human rights violations including slanderous graffiti, marriage discrimination, and employment discrimination (Burakukaihō 2004, Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 32-41).

Marriage discrimination may imply the dissolution of an engagement due to Buraku discrimination. A discriminator may break off a marriage engagement when he or she realizes that his or her partner is a Burakumin. Moreover, apart from the concerned person, family members and relatives may also oppose the marriage. In these cases they will often inquire into a prospective partner's background by employing a detective agency to ascertain whether the person is a Burakumin. However, since they are aware that Buraku discrimination is unlawful, they do not plainly object to the marriage on this basis. They oppose the marriage on other grounds. For example, there is the case of a man who objected to his son's marriage because a fortune-teller predicted daikyō (great misfortune) (Miyadu 1993: 139, Yagi 1987: 188-189).

Employment discrimination may occur when a company refuses to hire a Burakumin. However, like marriage discrimination, it is uncommon for the company explicitly and conspicuously to refuse their employment. In this case the employer might use the results of the employment interview as its excuse. Again, a company may commission a detective agency to investigate possible Burakumin applicants. Alternatively, it judges whether the applicant is a Burakumin by making the applicant fill in the company's original curriculum vitae form. This document has a space in which the applicant must write his or her permanent domicile, and his or her thoughts and beliefs. The company also gauges the applicant's background by using these pieces of information as clues.

People are even occasionally arrested and jailed as a result of Buraku discrimination against them. The Sayama case—a kidnap-murder case of a female high school student in 1963—is a typical case of false accusation due to discrimination against Burakumin by society, the media, the police, and the judicial system (IMADR 2005, Kamata 2004, Enzai Sayama Jiken Homepage). Mr. Ishikawa Kazuo was arrested and indicted in this case. During the first trial in 1964, the Urawa District Court found Mr. Ishikawa guilty of the Sayama kidnap-murder case and sentenced him to death. He subsequently appealed to the High Court, and in 1974, the Tokyo High Court handed down a decision reducing the death sentence to indefinite imprisonment. Although he appealed to the Supreme Court, it turned down his final appeal in 1977, thus finalizing his term of indefinite imprisonment. Although he was released on parole in 1994, he still did not receive a 'not guilty' decision. After the sentencing to indefinite imprisonment, he re-appealed to the Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court six times. However, his petitions were rejected each time. Recently, he again appealed to the Supreme Court for a retrial in 2002; the court once again rejected his appeal in 2005 (IMADR 2005).

Scholars study the origins of Buraku discrimination for the purpose of abolishing it. Their reason for understanding it is that they believe that Buraku discrimination might cease once it is fully understood (Uesugi et al. 1992: 265). However, this paper takes another approach by discussing the underlying psychological meaning of Buraku discrimination because we should also consider that Buraku discrimination has a particular meaning for the discriminators[1].

Before discussing this meaning, rather than addressing the problem of discrimination against non-Japanese, we have to address the fact that Japanese people discriminate against other Japanese people, i.e. the Burakumin[2]. In short, Buraku discrimination is a problem in the way in which the Japanese relate to each other. Ohga mentions that Buraku discrimination is a consequence of social relationships (Ohga 1987: 107-108). Fujita is of the same opinion (Fujita 1994: 48, Fujita 1998: 6-7). More specifically, there are mainly two types of relationship involved in this type of discrimination. The first type is the vertical relationship[3]. For example, Sumii insists that Buraku discrimination would cease with the disappearance of the Emperor system (Sumii and Fukuda 1989: 21-22, Sumii and Fukuda 1999: 174-176). This assertion often appears in her river novel, Hashi no nai kawa[4] (English translation and film: The River with no Bridge (Sumii 1990 [1961]) ). According to this relationship, the more the discriminators look up to the Emperor and associate themselves with him, the more they look down on the Burakumin and break off their associations with them. This relationship currently appears to be on the decline. However, if it was actually declining, the Emperor system would have had to have been abolished long ago. In fact, young people do not look up to the Emperor; however, they look up to their teachers or seniors at their schools. Such conservative students can be found in Japanese universities. In other words, the object they look up to is different but their behavior remains basically unchanged.

Although this paper does not deny this viewpoint, it considers the other type of relationship, i.e. the horizontal relationship[5]. First, the horizontal relationship is defined as a relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination. The Japanese as well as non-Japanese are under the impression that the Japanese emphasize cooperativeness. Then, why do they discriminate against the Burakumin? Is their cooperativeness inconsistent with Buraku discrimination? Few people can answer this question. However, an answer can be found by recalling the famous book by Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1989 [1947]). Among other things, this book addresses the issues of sin culture and shame culture. However, I believe the highlight of this book to be its title, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, through which Benedict has expressed the contradictory traits of the Japanese.

Thus, when the Japanese lay emphasis on cooperativeness, they feel a subliminal urge to do something that contradicts it. This contradictory behavior is manifested in Buraku discrimination[6]. The relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination can be better understood by imagining a coin. When focusing on one face of the coin, cooperativeness, the back of the coin, Buraku discrimination comes to be neglected. On the other hand, cooperativeness is forgotten when discriminating against the Burakumin. In Jungian psychology this phenomenon is called 'compartment psychology' (Jung 1989 [1963]: 144-145).

In order to explain compartment psychology, let us assume that a general manager (buchō) of a company drinks sake (Japanese rice wine) with his subordinate at an akachōchin bar. This subordinate does not want to cooperate with his colleagues because he is a lone wolf. The manager preaches the importance of cooperativeness to his subordinate. The manager does not consider Buraku discrimination during his speech. After the drinking session, let us assume that he then passes by a Buraku on his way home. He starts to feel a strange anxiety and forgets the importance of cooperativeness that he had only minutes previously been emphasizing. Why then, does he forget about Buraku discrimination while teaching his subordinate the importance of cooperativeness? Why does he forget about cooperativeness when he passes by the Buraku? In other words, why are cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination two sides of the same coin? The reason is that Japanese cooperativeness is limited to them while the Burakumin are beyond of the limitations of immediate circumstances. In other words, the Japanese can cooperate with their colleagues by virtue of this limitation[7]. For the Japanese, this relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination belongs to the unconscious; therefore, Buraku discrimination does not cease when people cease referring to it. The purpose of this paper is to make people conscious of this relationship.

According to this viewpoint, the more the discriminators cooperate with other people, the more they discriminate against the Burakumin. However, this does not imply that the Burakumin are egotists who do not cooperate with other people. Since they are Japanese, they also attach importance to cooperativeness. Thus, both the discriminators and the Burakumin emphasize cooperativeness. Buraku discrimination connects these two groups of people. 'Connection through discrimination' is a contradictory expression; however, this contradiction is the true nature of Buraku discrimination.

In recent years, this horizontal relationship also seems to be on the decline with the permeation of individualism into Japanese culture. However, this is a superficial view. There are a number of conservative young people who emphasize cooperativeness who continue to reproduce Buraku discrimination. If one generation, for example the generation above sixty years of age, discriminates against the Burakumin and younger generations do not discriminate against the Burakumin, then Buraku discrimination would disappear in due course because the older generation would pass away at some time in the future. However, in reality, the younger generations inherit Buraku discrimination. After all, the horizontal relationship does not relate to generations as well as the vertical relationship. Therefore, the Japanese are not aware of the contradictory relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination across the generations.

This paper aims to clarify this contradictory relationship. Section 2 discusses one component of the relationship—cooperativeness, and the other component—Buraku discrimination is discussed in Section 3. Section 4 presents the relationship between the two components. The last section presents the conclusion of this paper.

2. Cooperativeness

This section explains Japanese cooperativeness. Almost all Japanese organizations, such as Japanese schools and political parties place a great emphasis on cooperativeness in society. Japanese firms lay stress, in particular, on cooperativeness. As mentioned in the previous section, it is not unusual for a manager to preach the importance of cooperativeness to his subordinate who does not cooperate with his colleagues. This manager is convinced that cooperativeness is virtuous; however, in reality, it has both positive and negative characteristics. This section presents these two characteristics. Section 2.1 discusses the positive side. It mentions the Toyota group's countermeasures against fire at the Aishin Seiki plant as an example. Section 2.2 discusses the negative characteristic by introducing Abe Kobo's novel, The Woman in the Dunes (Original: Suna no Onna (1962)).

2.1 The Positive Characteristics of Cooperativeness

This subsection argues the positive aspect of cooperativeness by using the fire at Aishin Seiki as an example. The accident occurred on February 1, 1997 the Aishin Seiki plant, one of Toyota's suppliers, was burned down (Nishiguchi and Beaudet 2000). This plant made a product that was exclusively manufactured by Aishin Seiki. Moreover, Aishin Seiki had adopted Toyota's 'just-in-time system,' a method through which a plant produces the required amount of a product at the required time (Ohno 1978). One merit of this system is the reduction of extra stocks. A firm that adopts the just-in-time system does not have a need for extra storehouses. Aishin Seiki also had few stocks of the product because of the just-in-time system. It was anticipated that the Toyota group would be driven into a temporary factory closedown in a few weeks as a result of the fire. However, Toyota's assembly plants resumed after only two days because the Toyota group suppliers cooperated with each other to manufacture the product. At that time, they manufactured the product without any compensation cost agreements with Toyota and Aishin Seiki.

Indeed, this episode presents the positive aspects of Japanese cooperativeness. However, Japanese cooperativeness does not only have positive aspects. The next subsection discusses its negative characteristics.

2.2 The Negative Characteristics of Cooperativeness

The experience of working with the Japanese leaves one with a sense of entrapment (heisokukan). This is the negative aspect of Japanese cooperativeness expressed by Abe Kobo in the novel, Suna no onna (2003 [1962]). I have previously discussed this in my paper (Ito 2003a). This subsection introduces the essence of the discussion.

One day, Niki Jumpei, the protagonist of the novel, visited a village located in the dunes to collect insects. He was so devoted to the task while at the village that he missed the last return bus. He requested a villager to direct him to an inn. The villager tricked him and took him to a house in a deep hole in the dunes. There was a woman in the hole who was clearing away sand from the hole. The villagers forced him to cooperate with her to shovel the sand from the hole. If they did not shovel away the sand, the entire village would be buried under it. Niki refused to help. On the contrary, he tried escaping from the hole on several occasions. However, all his attempts failed due to the resistance of the villagers. Furthermore, they wanted him to marry the woman because they thought that he would not try to escape from the hole if he was married to her. They anticipated this from the beginning because they forced him to live with her in the solitary house in the dunes. As was expected, he had a sexual relationship with her and she soon became pregnant. The villagers took her to a hospital by hanging down a rope into the hole. The rope remained in place even after the villagers took her away, however, he did not try to escape.

In a metaphorical sense, Niki Jumpei, the protagonist is a company recruit. The woman and the hole both represent the company. The villagers are senior salarymen who are closely connected to the company. If these characters are perceived from this viewpoint, the novel would read as follows. One day, a man (Niki) got a job in a company (the hole). The senior salarymen (the villagers) were kind to him before he got the job. However, they instantly intended him to work hard after he was recruited. The recruit rebelled against them and attempted to change his job. They disrupted his attempt and prevented him from leaving the company (the hole) by forcing him into marriage with the company (the woman).

In short, this novel describes the process of a marriage between a Japanese recruit and his company. Cooperativeness was indoctrinated into the recruit by the senior salarymen in the process. This implies that Japanese cooperativeness is not congenital but acquired. Niki Jumpei (the recruit) was a lone wolf who did not cooperate with his colleagues because he collected insects alone. Thus, the villagers (the senior salarymen) had to change him into becoming a cooperative man. If they had failed to do so, they believed that they would have been unable to protect the hole (the company), since they could not protect it without the cooperation of their colleagues. On the contrary, they were convinced that Niki was a deterrent to their cooperative culture. Thus, they had to teach him cooperativeness. This is the negative characteristic of Japanese cooperativeness—a sense of entrapment.

Thus, Japanese cooperativeness has not only positive characteristics but also negative ones. In either case, while devoting themselves to cooperativeness, they unconsciously neglect the Burakumin. As a result, the Burakumin are estranged from them. This estrangement makes the Burakumin into a humble people because the Japanese regard unfamiliar people as wicked. Once a Burakumin becomes a victim, it is very difficult for him or her (and the discriminators) to change such a situation because of these unconscious aspects of the discrimination[8]. For this reason, it is extremely difficult to abolish Buraku discrimination.

3 Buraku Discrimination

This section explains Buraku discrimination. First, it discusses the meaning of the Burakumin. Many scholars indicate that the Burakumin imply the presence of irrational superstitions among the Japanese. For example, Hatanaka Toshiyuki suggests that it is impossible to define the Burakumin (Fujita 1998: 12). Tsujimoto also mentions that, in reality, they do not exist in actuality, however, they exist in the Japanese heart. According to him, this is the true nature of Buraku discrimination (Tsujimoto 1999: 10-14). Psychologically, this heart is referred to as the psyche. In terms of Jungian psychology, it comprises both the conscious and the unconscious (Kawai 1967: 194). In a concrete sense, what then, can be referred to as the Japanese psyche? This section attempts to answer this question with the aid of Jungian psychology. Section 3.1 explains the function of the psyche involved in Buraku discrimination. Sections 3.2 and 3.3 mention the practical functions of the psyche by applying this explanation to Buraku discrimination. Section 3.4 describes kegare, which is also regarded as an important psychological factor by scholars of the Buraku problem.

3.1 The Projection of 'Shadow'

Discriminators are unable to explain their reasons for discriminating against the Burakumin. In other words, they cannot explain their own behavior because they 'project' their own 'shadow' onto the Burakumin. Both the 'shadow' and its 'projection' are terms in Jungian psychology. 'Shadow' refers to the unconscious complex that is the opposite of the conscious aspect, or ego. It is all of a person's traits, and everything which a person does not to want to recognize about him or her self (Kawai 1967: 101-113, Kawai 1987). For example, the 'shadow' of the villagers who are depicted in the novel Suna no Onna was self-help, since they always acted as a group and never alone. Thus, self-help was within their unconscious life. Moreover, they considered it to be evil because they were convinced that cooperativeness was a virtue. This self-help corresponds to and is related to the 'ego', which is the center of 'the conscious'. It is responsible for the recognition and judgment of the external world (Kawai 1967: 68). The villagers did not possess this ego. Therefore, they always acted as a group because they could not take individual responsibility.

Another Jungian term—'projection'—implies to project one's own 'shadow' onto another person (Kawai 1967: 75). For example, the villagers in Suna no Onna projected their 'shadow'—self-help—onto Niki. Therefore, they were convinced that he could not acquire a cooperative attitude at all. However, in reality, he was a cooperative man. When he was not aware of his confinement, he voluntarily intended to help the woman. This served as proof of his cooperativeness. However, the villagers ignored this proof. They were convinced that they had to deprive him of his capability for self-help and teach him the importance of cooperativeness by confining him to the hole.

Thus, when one projects one's shadow onto another person, one may think unfavorably of that person and avoid self-criticism (Kawai 1967: 109). In fact, in the Sayama case, which was introduced in Section 1, local inhabitants insisted that the criminal was an outsider (yosomono) (Kamata 2004: 38). By 'outsider' they implied the Burakumin. However, they were not newcomers to the community in the normal sense of the term 'outsider'. They were merely outsiders of the community of local inhabitants (Uesugi 1990b: 109), because the local inhabitants projected their shadow onto the outsiders.

Besides, if another person resembles you it is very easy to project your shadow onto that person; therefore, the Japanese discriminate against other Japanese, i.e. the Burakumin. The shadow is expressed as the 'brand' in the declaration of Zenkoku Suiheisha which was organized by the Burakumin[9] in 1922 for their emancipation. The declaration was read aloud by Komai Kisaku, one of the founding board members of Suiheisha, at its inaugural meeting. The sentence of the declaration being discussed went as follows: 'It is about time that the victims returned the brand (to the discriminators)'[10]. In this sentence, the victims represent the Burakumin[11], and the 'brand' refers to the 'shadow' being projected onto them. Therefore, this sentence could also read as 'it is about time that the Burakumin returned the 'shadow' of their discriminators to the original owners.'

3.2 The First Type of Shadow: Non-everydayness

In a concrete sense, what does 'shadow' refer to? As already mentioned, there are two types of shadow. The first type is a person's unconscious life, which the person does not live in his or her conscious life. It is non-everydayness. A typical example of this type of shadow is Rekidai who were fortune tellers-cum-prayer offerers in Kyoto and its surrounding area[12]. They would predict people's fortunes and celebrate a festival based on the theory of Yin-Yang and the five elements (In-yō gogyōsetsu). They were called On-yōji (yin-yang diviners) in other districts. It is unusual that they were discriminated against because of their religious job. The reason is that religiosity is somewhat alien to Japanese culture and even if the Japanese are familiar with religiosity, it is a popularized form of religiosity. Such popularized religiosity is expressed in Miyazaki Hayao's animated film, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited away), where the gods who appear in this movie take a bath in a bathhouse and recover from weariness just like human beings. Endo Shusaku's novel Chinmoku (Silence) also mentions that the Japanese cannot perceive God as being completely separated from human beings, or transcendental existence from human beings (Endo 2003 [1961]: 236). Thus, Japanese religiosity is not based on sacredness but on popularized notions. However, the Rekidai bore this missing sacred religiosity and that is why they were discriminated against. They bore the shadow of Japanese people's religiosity.

We can understand not only Rekidai but also the Burakumin, who were entertainers, by this rationale. For example, Torioi were Hinin singers who visited Edo houses playing the shamisen on the New Year holidays (Uesugi 2000: 156-162). This type of shadow, i.e. non-everydayness, can be also applied to Tōnai. Their representative occupations were doctors in the case of men and midwives in the case of women. Thus, they were called Tōnai isha (doctors)[13]. Strangely, these doctors were humble people because sickness was not a part of everydayness. People usually only go to the doctor when they fall ill. In other words, days on which they see a doctor can be described as being 'non-everyday.'

3.3 The Second Type of Shadow: Aggression

The second type of shadow is a problem related to Buraku discrimination as it is practiced today and it refers to a person's traits which he or she does not want to recognize. This type of shadow appears as negative images (Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 44-45). A typical example of these negative images is 'aggression'[14], which is used here as a psychological term.

According to the Yuhikaku Dictionary of Psychology, the term is defined as 'a psychological process that causes an action intended to do harm to another person' (Nakajima, et al. 1999: 243-244). The discriminators are frightened by the Burakumin because of this negative image (Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 46-47). However, they are unable to explain their fear of the Burakumin (Yamashita 2004: 78). They do not assume that the Burakumin are dreadful because of their own association with the Burakumin. Firstly, they do not want to associate with the Burakumin, and they are convinced of this based on their mere delusion. In other words, the reason for their prejudice against the Burakumin is that they do not know the Burakumin. If they read books written by the Burakumin[15], they would notice that there are various Buraku people, who are interesting, serious, gentle, dreadful and so on. In short, they would notice that there is no difference between their community and the Buraku. This phenomenon is referred to as 'withdrawal of projection' in Jungian psychology (Kawai 1967: 76, 83-84). However, they immediately associate the Burakumin only with dread because their 'projection' is extremely strong. Thus, the 'Buraku problem' is not a problem related to the Burakumin, but is related to the discriminators who do not want to acknowledge their own shadows, in this case that of aggression (Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 10).

In fact, the discriminators directed their aggression toward the Burakumin. In 1871 (the fourth year of Meiji), the Meiji Government issued a proclamation (kaihōrei)[16] abolishing the use of the terms Eta, Hinin, and so on and proclaimed freedom in people's choice of occupation. However, farmers opposed the proclamation by starting riots. Uesugi confirms at least 21 cases of such riots (Uesugi 1990b: 229-259, Uesugi 1993).

One such example was when farmers attacked and set fire to a Buraku in Okayama prefecture in 1873 (the sixth year of Meiji). They made the captured Burakumin prostrate themselves and write letters of apology. They persistently chased the Burakumin who tried to escape to a nearby mountain. When they found the Burakumin on the mountain, they killed them with bamboo spears and pushed a woman, who was carrying a baby on her back, off the mountain. Eighteen people were killed, and thirteen people were injured, 263 houses were burnt down, and 51 houses were destroyed in the riot. From a social psychological perspective, such a crowd is called an 'aggressive mob' (Abe 1977: 128-151). When the farmers started rioting, they sent letters to other farmers who did not participate in the riot. This was a forceful demand for 'cooperativeness'. Under these circumstances, can the discriminators still assert that is the Burakumin who are 'dreadful', that 'the Burakumin attack in a group', or that 'the Burakumin are unpredictable people'? In fact, the dreadful people are not the Burakumin themselves but the people who project their shadow onto the Burakumin.

A serious issue is that the farmers destroyed records of these riots. In one case, a diary which recorded the riot, was burned. The reason for destroying the records was that the farmers feared that the records were proof of their aggression. In other words, they 'repressed' these negative facts by destroying the records. Their shadow becomes stronger and expands through this repression, and then, 'the mature shadow' is again projected onto the Burakumin.

In this context, 'repression' is a psychoanalytic term; however, it has also been referred to by Jungian psychologists (Kawai 1967: 101). This notion can be understood by imagining, for example, a closet (oshi-ire) (Kawai 1975: 98). At first, assume that your room is littered with your children's toys. Suddenly, a guest visits your house. You want hastily to clean up your room, but there is no time. Thus, you just squeeze the toys into your closet. Now, your room is in order, but the closet is in a mess. This is called 'repression'. In this metaphor, the room implies the conscious, and the closet refers to 'the personal unconscious' which is a Jungian concept. Jung considered that the unconscious comprises two layers, i.e., 'the personal unconscious' and 'the collective unconscious' (Kawai 1967: 89-113). The former unconscious belongs to an individual, whereas the latter is a universal unconscious among human beings throughout history. Thus, repression implies forcing something into the personal unconscious. In psychoanalysis, this could be a sexual trauma. However, it includes not only sexual but all kinds of traumata and shadows in Jungian psychology.

As mentioned above, repression is the psychological act of forcing something into the personal unconscious. However, in the case of Buraku discrimination, 'the cultural unconscious' would be a more appropriate expression as compared with 'the personal unconscious', since Buraku discrimination is part of the Japanese (undesirable) culture. Kawai suggests that 'the cultural unconscious' lies between 'the personal unconscious' and 'the collective unconscious' (Kawai 1977: 33).

3.4 Kegare

Although the above subsections considered the projection of the shadow as a psychological factor, it can also be regarded as 'kegare' (pollution). However, expert opinion is divided on its definition. For example, the Concise Encyclopedia of Buraku Issues (Akijo, et al. 1999: 111-112) defines kegare as a sense of pollution identified with death, childbirth, and blood.

There is another definition of kegare among scholars of Buraku issues. Uesugi considers that kegare is the disturbance of social order, as discussed also by Mary Douglas[17]. For example, you would not perceive your hair as being dirty while it is on your head; however, you would perceive it as being dirty if it falls onto a desk. Nevertheless, it is the same hair, the reason for this difference in perception is that your hair is not in its 'proper place,'  i.e. on your head. You believe that the desk is not the 'proper place' for your hair. This is kegare (pollution).

Similarly, discriminators believe that their community is not the proper place for the Burakumin, therefore, the Burakumin are considered to be outsiders. However, if we conceive of kegare as the disturbance of the social order, then kegare is not a cause but a result that is caused by contact between the discriminators and the Burakumin. However, this does not explain why the discriminators consider that their community is not the proper place for the Burakumin.

This paper argues that kegare implies a refusal of the 'withdrawal of projection'. As mentioned earlier, people do not want to acknowledge their own shadow because it literally implies their dark traits. The discriminators want to project their shadow on the Burakumin in order to avoid recognizing it. Thus, the Burakumin have to live separately from them. If the Burakumin live near them, the discriminators will have to acknowledge their shadow, a situation they want to avoid. Thus, they believe that their community is not the appropriate place for the Burakumin. If they come in contact with the Burakumin, they often describe the Burakumin as 'smelly' or 'dirty'. Alternatively, they despise the Burakumin as beasts (yotsuashi). This implies their disgust for their own shadow.

4. The Relationship Between Cooperativeness and Buraku Discrimination

The two preceding sections have discussed cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination, respectively. This section describes the relationship between them, which is fundamental to the Japanese. At first, Section 4.1 mentions the relationship with the aid of Jungian psychology. The next two subsections describe secondary relationships between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination, respectively. First, Section 4.2 states that the Japanese possess not only cooperativeness but also independence. Second, the Burakumin are not completely abandoned by Japanese society. They are protected by anti-discrimination measures. Section 4.3 addresses the relationship between anti-discrimination measures and Buraku discrimination. Section 4.4 considers the relationship among the community of discriminators, Buraku discrimination, and the community of the Burakumin, i.e. the Buraku, by combining all the above discussions. Last, Section 4.5 suggests a method for the abolition of Buraku discrimination.

4.1 The Fundamental Relationship: Cooperativeness and Buraku Discrimination

Figure 1 shows the relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination.

Figure 1: The Relationship Between Cooperativeness and Buraku Discrimination

At this point, we enlist the aid of Jungian psychology in order to understand the above figure. We pay particular attention to Kawai Hayao's ideas of the maternal and paternal principles (Kawai 1976: 9-10). A basic function of maternity is inclusion. It has both positive and negative aspects. The positive aspect is protection. A mother protects her baby from an enemy and raises her child. When the newborn baby encounters the enemy, it may become prey to the enemy. The mother defends her baby in order to avoid such a situation. On the other hand, the negative aspect is dependence. When the baby grows and attempts to become independent from her, she prevents this from happening, clings to her child, swallows her child up, and finally kills her child by her strong embrace. It should be noted that here the term 'mother' refers to a psychological state. Thus, in reality, 'mother' can refer to both men and women.

On the other hand, cutting is a basic function of paternity. It also has both positive and negative aspects. A father does not directly protect his baby from an enemy, but he disciplines the baby. His discipline provides a way for the child to discriminate between good and evil. If the child does not abide by means of the discipline, the father punishes him or her. In this way the child is always exposed to danger from an enemy; which is the negative aspect; however, the child protects itself by means of the discipline taught by the father, this is the positive aspect. This idea is familiar to Christians because the Bible teaches them discipline. Christians protect themselves by means of the Bible. It should be noted that the notion of 'father' also refers to a psychological state. Thus, in reality, 'father' can refer to both men and women.

I have already mentioned that Japanese possess both maternity and paternity[18]. Cooperativeness is a manifestation of maternity because it lays emphasis on connections among the Japanese. On the other hand, Buraku discrimination is a manifestation of paternity because the discriminators break off their connection with the Burakumin.

4.2 The Secondary Relationship: Cooperativeness and Independence

Figure 1 represents a fundamental relationship for the Japanese; however, they have secondary relationships of both cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination. This subsection first discusses the secondary relationship of cooperativeness.

The Japanese attach importance not only to cooperativeness but also to independence because they possess paternity as well as maternity. Figure 2 depicts the relationship between cooperativeness and independence. As shown in this figure, independence and cooperativeness appear as in a set. In other words, it is not literally independence. It is impossible for people to possess only independence without cooperativeness. However, in this discusion, Japanese people's independence is weaker than their cooperativeness.

Figure 2: The Relationship Between Cooperativeness and Independence

4.3 The Other Secondary Relationship: Anti-discrimination Measures and Buraku Discrimination

As mentioned in Figure 1, discriminators intend to break off their connection with the Burakumin throughout paternity. However, the Burakumin are not completely abandoned because, apart from paternity, the discriminators also possess maternity. More concretely, the Burakumin are protected by anti-discrimination measures as shown in Figure 3. The Japanese Government paved roads and built houses in order to improve the living conditions of the Burakumin. Such government undertakings were legally terminated in March 2002. However, the anti-discrimination measures include other attempts intended to abolish Buraku discrimination, such as Dōwa education (social integration education), as well as these undertakings. However, as compared to the anti-discrimination measures, discrimination against the Burakumin is stronger. If the former were stronger, Buraku discrimination would have been abolished long ago. On the other hand, the anti-discrimination measures often arouse the jealousy of the discriminators, thus contributing to the reproduction of Buraku discrimination (Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 50-51).

Figure 3: The Relationship Between anti-discrimination Measures and Buraku Discrimination

Why is Japanese independence weaker than cooperativeness? Why is anti-Buraku discrimination weaker than Buraku discrimination? Since the relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination (Figure 1) is fundamental to the Japanese, cooperativeness, which composes this fundamental relationship, is stronger than independence. Similarly, the other fundamental component—Buraku discrimination—is stronger than the anti-discrimination measures.

4.4 The Relationship Among the Community of Discriminators, Buraku Discrimination, and the Buraku

This subsection considers the relationship among the community of discriminators, Buraku discrimination, and the community of the Burakumin, i.e., the Buraku by integrating all the above discussions; Figure 4 displays this relationship. Interestingly, although Buraku discrimination should have broken off association with the Buraku, it actually connects the community of discriminators with the Buraku. In other words, both the two communities are caught in a relationship trap. Haraguchi Takahiro also mentions that Buraku discrimination is a result of the relationship between the two communities (Fujita 1998: 80-84). In fact, the discriminators can project their shadow onto the Burakumin by virtue of this connection.

Figure 4: The Relationship Among the Community of Discriminators, Buraku Discrimination, and the Buraku

Therefore, Buraku discrimination should be related to paternity; however, it is also related to maternity. This is because the true character of Buraku discrimination is contradictory. Buraku discrimination is a contradiction because both the communities possess maternity with paternity. As already mentioned, cooperativeness is a manifestation of maternity, and independence is a manifestation of paternity. However, independence (paternity) is weaker than cooperativeness (maternity). Thus, in Figure 4, paternity is placed within parentheses. The community of discriminators compensates for the weak paternity (independence) by the strong paternity (Buraku discrimination). Similarly, the Buraku are forced to compensate for the weak paternity with the strong paternity, anti-Buraku discrimination. However, the Buraku does not voluntarily compensate for this because it does not want to be discriminated against.

On the other hand, the Buraku has not completely cut off its ties with the community of discriminators because the maternity power (cooperativeness) of the community of discriminators remains in inverse proportion to its paternity power (independence). The surplus power of maternity is used for the anti-discrimination measures. However, I do not ignore the efforts of the Buraku Liberation League. Their efforts (paternity) obtain the surplus power of maternity from the community of discriminators.

As described above, Buraku discrimination is a contradiction between paternity and maternity[19]; this reflects the contradiction between maternity and paternity of both the communities[20].

4.5 A Method to Abolish Buraku Discrimination

Thus far, we have considered the relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination. The most interesting issue of the Buraku problem is the method by which Buraku discrimination might be abolished. The method involves a change in the relationship that is shown in Figure 4. Kitaguchi Tadashi also mentions that the abolition of Buraku discrimination implies restoration of the relationship among people (Fujita 1998: 136). Fujita and Uesugi share the same opinion (Fujita 1998: 147-149, Uesugi 1997: 175-183). In a concrete sense, both the communities acknowledge this relationship. Subsequently, the middle component—Buraku discrimination—would disappear and they would directly face each other without Buraku discrimination because psychological illness usually disappears when rightly acknowledged. As Fujita argues, the two communities have to make a collective effort to overcome Buraku discrimination (Fujita 1987: 92-93).

However, Buraku discrimination is also a social problem. Thus, it does not disappear even if a few people are aware of the relationship. It will only disappear when the majority of the people recognize this relationship. Thus, Dōwa education is required for both the communities. However, there are some people who object to it by saying, 'Do not wake up the sleeping child'. This phrase implies the notion that Buraku discrimination would automatically disappear if the Buraku Liberation League, schools, mass media, local governments, and the Japanese Government ignore Buraku discrimination (Nakano, et al. 2000: 14-15); however, this is untrue. On the contrary, this policy recommends that the Burakumin should continue to accept the discrimination (Nakano, et al. 2000: 18-19).

Here I consider that in this case 'the sleeping child' implies the unconscious (Buraku discrimination). Besides, this child has a friend named 'cooperativeness'. Its friendship also belongs to the unconscious. Thus, in order to abolish Buraku discrimination, I recommend that we 'Wake up the sleeping child' and 'Be careful of its friendship'. It implies being conscious of the unconscious. I believe that this notion becomes a weapon against Buraku discrimination.

5. Conclusion

This paper has considered the relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination. As mentioned in Section 1, Buraku discrimination is not racial discrimination. The Japanese discriminate against other Japanese. Furthermore, Buraku discrimination is not slavery because a slave is someone's possession; however, the Burakumin are not owned by anyone[21].

However, Buraku discrimination and slavery do have one common aspect. There exists the unconscious behind discrimination in both cases and this is generally referred to as the 'discriminatory conscious' (Akijo, et al. 1999: 152-153, Teraki and Noguchi 2001: 28-29). However, this is not an accurate term from a psychological perspective because if discrimination is part of the conscious, then discriminators can rationalize their reasons for discrimination. However, this is not the case because they unconsciously discriminate against people. On the contrary, discrimination is practiced to distinguish between people and this is done consciously. Therefore, the unconscious is behind the 'discriminatory conscious' operating it. This can apply not only to Buraku discrimination and slavery but also to all kinds of discrimination. In short, discrimination is the result of collaboration between the conscious and the unconscious.

Human history narrates this structure. For example, the slave trade was prosperous in the sixteen century. However, it is regarded as an evil today because the conscious, which opposed slavery, has been developed by an emancipation movement. In other words, the human race unconsciously conducted the slave trade. In this sense, the emancipation movement was a developmental process of the conscious. The human race weakened the unconscious, which produced discrimination during the developmental process.

This emancipation movement developed two types of conscious, at the same time a confrontation and a dialogue with the unconscious. I refer to the former type of conscious as 'the confrontational ego' and the latter as 'the dialogical ego'. In this case, I do not use the word 'conscious' but use the Jungian term 'ego'. As mentioned in Section 3.1, ego refers to the center of the conscious in Jungian psychology. I specifically use this term because I want to refer to the conscious, which has a certain unity. In the case of the confrontational ego, its unity implies the ability to fight against the unconscious. On the other hand, a unity of the dialogical ego is the ability to have a dialogue with the unconscious. Incidentally, the 'discriminative conscious' is a 'manipulated ego' that implies an ego that is operated by the unconscious. As a result of the emancipation movement, 'the manipulated ego' (discriminatory consciousness) weakened in inverse proportion to the development of the two types of egos, 'the confrontational ego' and 'the dialogical ego'.

We can argue in the same manner for the abolition of Buraku discrimination. This paper has clarified the unconscious behind the 'discriminatory consciousness' that formed the basis of the relationship between cooperativeness and Buraku discrimination. Furthermore, this paper proposes a method to combat this relationship (the confrontational ego), and at the same time, a dialogue which discloses the relationship (the dialogical ego).


1 The word 'discriminators' implies not only forthright discriminators but also potential ones who are not conscious of Buraku discrimination. Most Japanese would belong to the latter. On the contrary, there are some people who fight against Buraku discrimination; nevertheless, they are not the Burakumin. Matsuzaki Toyota, who appears in Sumii Sue's river novel, Hashi no nai kawa is a typical example of such people.

2 However, as Tsujimoto mentions, the Japanese cannot justify discrimination against foreigners (Tsujimoto 1999: 79-83).

3 General discussions on the vertical relationship are provided in Nakane (1967, 1978).

4 For example, Sumii (2002 [1961]: 479-481).

5 Uesugi also considers this viewpoint (Uesugi 1990b: 90-91). General discussions on the horizontal relationship are provided in Nakane (1972).

6 The Japanese discriminate not only against the Burakumin but also against foreign residents in Japan, including Koreans who have permanent residency (zainichi kankoku chōsenjin) (Nakao 1997). If you are a foreigner, you may have had the unpleasant experience of being called 'Gaijin!' by some Japanese. It is an unpleasant but natural sentiment since Kojien, fifth edition, mentions that Gaijin has two meanings besides 'foreigner': (1) a person except a friend, an estranged person and (2) a person who is regarded as an enemy (Shinmura 1998: 438).

7 Uesugi mentions that Japanese management necessitates Buraku discrimination (Uesugi 1990b: 189-202).

8 Kawai mentions that it is extremely difficult for a child to escape from bullying if he or she is a victim even once. He suggests that this is a characteristic of Japanese society (Kawai 1995: 147-148).

9 Uesugi mentions that Suiheisha aimed at the emancipation of Eta (Uesugi 1990b: 72).

10 See Teraki and Noguchi (2001: 187) for the whole text of the declaration. Saiko Mankichi (his real name was Kiyohara Kazutaka) mainly wrote this declaration. His life story, until the inaugural meeting of Suiheisha, is provided in Shiomi (1996). When Saiko wrote its draft, he wanted to delete the sentence because he thought that it meant revenge. However, Yoneda Tomi, one of the founding board members of Suiheisha opposed deletion of the sentence because he interpreted the sentence as a manifestation of their will (Fukuda1985: 11).

11 To state precisely, Eta.

12 See Uesugi (1997: 145-147). He confirms their descendants in and around Kyoto in the present day.

13 See Uesugi (1997: 134-136). There are people who are discriminated as Tōnai even in the present day.

14 General discussions on Japanese 'aggression' are provided in Nakano and Kawata (1984).

15 For instance, Matsumura (1996) and Kadooka (1999).

16 Uesugi mentions that the proclamation of the abolition of humble people's social positions (senmin haishirei) is an appropriate expression rather than the proclamation of the emancipation of humble people (kaihōrei) because the Meiji Government did not aim at the emancipation of the Burakumin. Its true purpose was the establishment of a tax system. The Burakumin were provided tax concessions until then (Uesugi 1990a: i-iii, Uesugi 2004: 191-194).

17 See Uesugi (2004: 29-34). He discusses the social order as the relationship between the Buraku and the community of discriminators. However, Benedict describes it as a hierarchy. She reports that the Japanese order their world by maintaining this hierarchy. As long as 'the proper station' is maintained, they feel safe (Benedict 1989: 95-96). This is the viewpoint of the vertical relationship.

18 See Ito (2003b). Almost all theories of Japanese cultural specificity (nihonjinron) ignore Japanese paternity. For example, Kawai mentions that Japan is a maternal society (Kawai 1976: 8-34). This is because paternity is their shadow, i.e., their trait, which they do not want to recognize.

19 It may be noted in this order.

20 It may be also noted in this order.

21 See Uesugi (2004: 34-36). There existed slaves called Genin in Japan.


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