Toward equality: exploring the Dōwa education's role in overcoming Buraku discrimination in Japan

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Suzuki, Yuri
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Despite the exact numbers being unknown, the Buraku people (Burakumin) are the largest minority group in Japan. Although the Burakumin are racially and ethnically Japanese, they have long endured discrimination due to their ancestral associations with “unclean” occupations during Japan’s feudal era. Discrimination against the Burakumin has profoundly impacted their lives in various ways. It has led to social exclusion, limited employment opportunities, and restricted access to housing and education. As a result, to address systematic discrimination and promote societal equality, Dōwa education was implemented in 1969. The system of Dōwa education provided support and resources to decrease the educational gap between Buraku communities and the wider Japanese society. Furthermore, as these initiatives required schools to teach about the Buraku problem, it fostered understanding and promoted equality. Currently, the Dōwa education has been considered pivotal in advocating for the rights and social integration of marginalized communities, particularly the Burakumin. However, the persistence of discrimination against the Buraku communities highlights the need for a deeper evaluation of Dōwa education initiatives in its role of eradicating discriminatory attitudes. This paper analyzes the educational value and the effect of Dōwa education implementation within schools. With the complex nature of Dōwa education and its multifaceted implementation, assessing its impact on Buraku discrimination is difficult and requires a nuanced approach that considers various factors.
Human Rights Education