Agendas in Enlightenment of Dowa Problem

Kosuke Matsuura

In Japan, Dowa Problem, which refers to discrimination against those who used to be outcaste in Edo Era, has existed for the long time; however, the number of those who are conscious of Dowa Problem has been decreasing due to the long time. Should we do education which reminds me of the past? Does it worthwhile to educate discrimination now?

Until I take this Class, I have grown up without recognizing almost no dowa problem around me. After I learned about Dowa Problem, I asked my mother whether she had ever heard about the problem around her and existence of such regions. She acknowledged the existence as true and it became clear that the region was near my hometown. The fact was surprising because I had never known at all though I was living near the region for more than 15 years. Further, she told me an episode related to the fact. When she was in high school, she fell in love with a boyfriend who was born in a region which was believed to be a Dowa area; and she was severely scolded by her father due to the boyfriend’s birthplace when she introduced him. Unfortunately, they were separated and, she said, she then first recognized existence of Dowa Problem. Finally, I asked a question whether she would accept my marriage with burakumin girlfriend or not. She answered that she would accept but my relatives might complain.

From this episode, it is obvious that, though the elderly are recognizing and, perhaps, doing discrimination, the youth are hardly recognizing. That is, the more descendant the generation is, the less consciousness toward Dowa Problem becomes. The effect of Dowa Problem is getting relatively small and, if this situation continues, we can minimize the discrimination.

We can see various measures against Dowa Problem such as sayings in everyday life. For example, it is well-known “No discrimination and keep human rights (なくそう差別、守ろう人権). Moreover, we can see others on the rear of City Buses such as “Both your and our lives have the same worth (おなじです あなたと私の 大切さ). Of course, these sayings contribute to mitigating discrimination, but they may remember the existence of discrimination due to their implication.

It is clear that we should not let the existence of Dowa Problem fade away; however, it is impossible to abandon discrimination without completely forgetting that. More and more people are forgetting the existence; and less and less people are recognizing the existence. The next step will be ceasing measures which let us recall the existence. After that, the true equality will be realized.

One thought on “Agendas in Enlightenment of Dowa Problem

  1. Sources
    -Weiner, M. (2009). Japan’s minorities. The illusion of homogeneity (pp59-83): New York. Routledge.
    *City Bus in this blog indicates Kyoto City Bus.

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