Accepted Paper:

Education for the future: buraku issues in compulsory education  

Author:

Christopher Bondy (International Christian University)

Paper short abstract:

Examinations of junior high textbooks suggest buraku issues are often minimized or ignored. Based on interviews, I show that schools are using flexibility built into the system to place buraku issues in a more central position. The paper also will consider other options for schools to center buraku issues.

Paper long abstract:

Surveys of textbooks in compulsory education suggest that buraku issues are often minimized or ignored. The prevailing attitude seems to be "If it is not on the entrance exam, we cannot spend time covering it." However, schools can, and some do, make use of other means of teaching about buraku issues to students. This paper takes a two-fold approach. It begins by examining third-year junior high school social studies textbooks to establish a framework for what is defined as legitimate knowledge. In it, I highlight the systematic ways in which minority issues broadly, and buraku issues specifically, are relegated to historical discussions, and only glance over the conditions facing these groups today.

While central in defining legitimated knowledge, textbooks are not the only way in which materials in schools are covered. Following this review of textbooks, the paper then considers how schools can embrace or reject this knowledge. Based on interviews with teachers, I show that schools are making use of flexibility built into the system to place buraku issues in a more central position.

Finally, the paper will discuss the broader social outcomes for the placement of buraku issues in schools and consider ways in which movements could work to encourage schools to center buraku issues and counter the prevailing marginalization.

Panel P117
Buraku futures: navigating the changing landscape of law and economy