The following is a collection of notes written by a businessperson Mr. Yoji Okada in 2008. He was born in 1946 in A city Hiroshima prefecture. He wrote this private note, and Kobayakawa summarized and translated it into English.
I am a Burakumin. Since 1973 to 2008, I have been a manager of a small sized company.
When I knew my background, I was a university student. As my parents had left both hometowns before my birth, I did not know about the truth of our family narrative absolutely. I as the youth have never thought to suffer from Buraku discrimination. I have never heard terms of eta-hinin and Burakumin. At the first grader in my junior high school period, an incident that let me know those terms occurred. That was in the lunch hour. A classmate suddenly canted laud “Eta-hinin, eta-hinin” against one classmate with little rancor. Actually, I had rather been on the discriminative side. I did not know meaning that term. Seven or eight classmates with him were in frozen silence, and I also was in silence because I could not understand what happened. Somehow, I remember well that incident, which was my only one Buraku-experience. I however, don’t know whether that classmate came from Buraku.
After school of that day, I expected to get the meaning of this word to my parents. As soon as I ask what eta-hinin was, my father turned into a scowl with blazing eyes. My mother dropped her eyes with wincing, and outed from a room. He did not answer my question, whoever, with dignity, he told me not to talk that term absolutely. Since then, I never speak the term eta-hinin; I could know inflammation of my father and my mother’s sadness in my university period. Thinking about it now, since pre-war, my father has been being in spite of a liberal guy in criticize of the emperor system, the Buraku issue was taboo for him.
Those days, many universities throughout country put themselves in an environment of students’ movements, and certainly with still wet behind the ears, I was an aggressive member of those movements. This was a story of commonplace. I joined discussion of students and demonstration on the streets. Being anxious about my student life, my parents remonstrate with my thought using a term silly movement. This expression was unacceptable for me absolutely, and we got into a sudden altercation. I reproached their apathetic attitudes against social contradictions was serious guilty. For some reason, I dragged the encountered seriousness to Buraku issue, which were the marriage issue and the employment issue, and I insisted we should struggle against Buraku discriminations with them who were making efforts by themselves to transform this country from discriminative to equal. I cannot remember why we discussed the Buraku issue. The simple answer was environments in Buraku were in very foul living conditions and poor education and occupation caused by discrimination. That phenomena were typical contradiction in this nation.
After altercation, coming into my room, my mother said that with her friends in her district, she had confederative school refusal movement quietly against a discriminatory remark by the principal of her elementary school. It meant she has been a member of the Boy-and-Girl-Pioner of Suiheisha, namely she had Buraku origin. Frequently, I have heard that when young Burakumin knew their origin they got shocks that caused the world to end. However, as I already have had some respectable individuals from Buraku engaging with Buraku Liberation Movement (BLM), my mother’s profession did not shock to me. Instead, I was very happy because I could decide how I should live to leave my home. Because, when I saw my mother suffered from my dispute with my father. I decided choosing to conflict discrimination more, so my father and I drifted away.
My father was a person who married to woman from Buraku. In this point of view, although he looked more liberal than average Japanese people, but an illusion. Addressing of the Buraku issue was a taboo for himself as for average Japanese people were holding. His marriage filled with hardness, and he could find quiet life with getting over his hard times. However, his marriage story did not to encourage others as an experience. He shocked because I made him dredged up memory of his marriage. In addition, I required we should fight to Buraku discrimination. He had to be upset very much with a complex sentiment with surprise and anger.
Now, I can know his sentiment. But I cannot absolutely agree with him because I am on the “bloodline” of Burakumin still now. In addition, I can guess that even if a marriage between Burakumin and non-Burakumin would get succeed, it only would not able to solve all problems with the Buraku issue. Even if, I leaned to compromise to my father, my fears from Buraku discrimination would never relieve. I believe that Buraku discrimination is typical contradiction in this nation still now.