McLauchlan, Alastair Books
About the author: In 1973, Alastair McLauchlan completed a BA in French and a Diploma in Teaching and became a secondary school teacher. In 1980 he moved to Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and since 1992 has studied part-time for his BA (Hons) in Japanese, Master of Education (Distinction) and most recently his PhD. He has published many journal articles and spoken at four international conferences on the buraku issue.2003 0-7734-6568-5
The buraku issue is a continuing thorn in the side of the Japanese government’s human rights record, although it is seldom discussed by Japanese politicians, academics, the media, or society in general. A buraku is an enclave (carrying social overtones of ghetto) where some, but not all, residents claim ancestral association to the leather workers and butchers (then called eta, a very insulting term which means ‘much filth’ and which is only used today in graffiti and discriminatory insults) of the Tokugawa Era (600-1868). Prejudice and discrimination against buraku residents continues to this day. Many Japanese are simply not aware of the problem and of the despised denunciation tactics of Kansai’s main activist group, the Buraku Liberation League (BLL). Furthermore, the BLL jealously guards access to buraku communities, making it all but impossible for researchers to operate without their support. It took the author of this study five years to win the BLL’s support and permission to do fieldwork in an eastern Osaka buraku. This study is based on a wide range of new and old material, much of it never before translated, and his own fieldwork, and will be an invaluable addition to all research and university libraries, but especially those with collections in Asian studies and anthropology.