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For activist lawyer Taketoshi Nakayama, a crusading legal career was almost predestined, having grown up as the son of a human-rights campaigner in a household keenly aware of the injustices faced by marginalized members of Japanese society.

“My father required me to memorize the Constitution, particularly the equal-protection Article 14, by posting it on the wall,” said Nakayama, 69, who was born into a poor family in a socially disadvantaged “buraku” area of Fukuoka Prefecture.

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