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A classic from 1906, Toson Shimazaki’s “The Broken Commandment” follows the ideological struggles of a young teacher, Ushimatsu Segawa.

Born into the ostracized burakumin caste but hiding his origins by following a commandment of his father, Ushimatsu finally confronts his own hypocrisy to challenge society’s discrimination after meeting his personal hero, a fellow burakumin who publicly campaigns against prejudice. The humanist subject matter, daringly expressing outrage for the derided class in a period when they were still subject to widespread injustice, made Shimazaki an instant, if controversial, success in literary Japan.

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