Regarding the May 3 book review “Marginalized in Tokyo’s leatherwork districts,” I was reminded how the word “rawhide” appeared in a TV cowboy drama’s theme song, and how in the Showa late 30s, a friend of mine and I went to a shoemaker near Kyoto Station.
We knew that in the district of the shoemakers were the so-called descendants of the burakumin (outcasts during feudal times). At that time, I thought thinking of such anachronistic abnormalities is nonsense, because Japan is a democratic country.
At wedding parties, some people still say that their ancestors are samurai or shizoku. Whenever I listen to such a speech, I get bored to death because it is the present social position that matters, not the social position of the ancestors!
In 1868, Japan saw modernization and it is changing little by little, but still some people like to talk about their ancestors’ social classification. Let’s stop talking about pre-modern social classifications like shi (warriors), nou (farmers), kou (craftsmen), shou (merchants) and “eta and hinin“(outcasts). We are all Japanese. Discrimination dies hard!
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.