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October 23 - Discrimination in Japan

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McMaster University
Religious Studies
Mark Rowe

Japanese October 23/2012 Discrimination in Japan - The reading for Thursday – be up on avenue. Marathon of monks on avenue as well. No more readings on reverse, be on avenue or online - If your white male or female you would be treated very differently than if your Korean, etc. - Different ranks of foreign - Depending on where you are – rural, etc. - Issue of taboo – things that are prohibited - What do taboos do o Protect social structure – incest, to protect a group and its continuation through time - The idea of what’s dirty is different in each land - Taboo is something that is dirty - The idea of dirty teaches us a lot – what does dirt do? What does the idea of dirty do for a society? - Mary Douglas: “Where there is dirt, there is system.” “Dirt is matter out of place.” That doesn’t belong- what do you have? The idea of a system, of rules, boundaries between acceptable practices/shapes/skin/manner, etc. You have an outline of a system, you have a structure. - Replace the word ‘dirt’ with unnatural, unclean, non-Christian, scrap goat, etc. terms that define normal and abnormal - Liminal space the betwixt and between – the spaces between in and out, us and them, natural and unnatural. The space that define boundaries. Things that we cannot define are a problem to our system. Show us the limits of our system - Monsters help define what it is to be human – normal and the system. Example – Kukai and pilgrimage - Shinokosho o Place for everyone in society and everyone in their place o Note how the lowest peasants are actually places second o Merchants are at the bottom – trade/business is supposedly frowen upon o In order to make the lowest feel okay – you need something lower o Untouchables – those who prepared meat or leather  Burakumin “people of the hamlet”  Eta untouchables ‘lots of impurity’  Hinin “non – person’  Not defined by skin colour, ethnicity defined solely by their profession – dealt with unclean things  If your dealing with leather, the acids leave a certain scar that leaves a scar  Bottom of Tokugawa society
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