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Old Japanese maps on Google Earth unveil 'burakumin' secrets

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Google did nothing wrong! Japan needs to grow up and get over it! Discrimination against foreigners is bad enough but to treat a part of you own flesh and blood as trash is inexcusable!

As for the "major company" that screens applicants for discrimination I can only wish the hard economy takes it toll on the managers and others guilty of this practice!

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Actually, it seems that the Japanese efforts to stop google earth are to prevent such discrimination.

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Google can't be held responsible for the prejudices of Japanese people. These are just historical maps.

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This is a very interesting story. The truth has exposed burakunin to more prejudice, but it has also exposed the prejudice itself somewhat. Older Japanese will find this exposure uncomfortable, and younger Japanese will be surprised by all this, having little connection with it. For now, Google has swept things back under the rug, but I wonder if they will stay there...

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Does not sound like Google infringing on human rights but Japanese companies and their hiring laws.

But hey - no news there!

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But the modern locations of the old villages are largely unknown to the general public, and many burakumin prefer it that way.

not where I live, everyone knows which part of town they live in and who they are - it's common knowledge. many of them don't care either.

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The ugly truth of history, -but people are supposed to learn from their mistakes.

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problem is not the maps, problem is Japan & its lack of dealing with open discrimination of its own people, as well as us lowly foreign types.

Wudnt it be nice to have these maps open up real dialogue & help fix Japan instead of just covering it up & leaving prejudice & discrimination intact & undealt with, but I suppose that is the REAL Japan them isnt it!

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How about they just stop discriminating instead?

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as many have already posted, Google is not at fault, just the Japanese discrimination and their desire to hide the discrimination. A bit like waiwai being closed down because it gives people an "incorrect" (but truthful!!) version of Japan.

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Buraku Liberation League is now going after foreign companies (Google) for extortion. They probably ran out of Japanese companies/entities to sue.

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Imagine if, by some glitch, this info somehow made it on to modern GPS and car navi systems.

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GPS, glitch? these are special overlays that you have to manually download and add into google earth. 99.99% of google earth users would never see these overlays - only google earth geeks. In fact this news story which is running all over the world in tech news sections of newssites has drawn a thousand times more attention to them than if no one had mentioned anything.

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It's not Google's fault that discrimination exists in Japan. Why doesn't Japan get rid of the friggin' Koseki Tohon system anyway? It just makes discrimination easier.

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I do not know. The three monkeys of see, hear and say no evil. Why stir up past bad behavior? Anti-discrimination laws in hiring might be considered though for this, age, nationality...

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prevent discrimination by going after the companies who do it. maps do not discriminate, they merely indicate.

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Its time that all discrimination in Japan was outlawed. Japan cannot get a seat on the UN Security Council, which it so badly wants, because of its discriminatory practices. It is totally abhorent and disgusting that the Japanese government try to hide the truth abut this country from the rest of the world. The way the Burakumin have been discriminated against in Japan is nothing short of vile and contemptable. The discriminataion against these people still goes on today, as the report here shows. Discrimination against any other human being, for any reason, should be made illegal in Japan and sanctions should be taken against this country by other civilized countries until the discriminatory practices of japan are forsaken.

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I can't believe this is still going on. At least racism has psuedo-science to back it up.

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Burakumin are cool!

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God! This is Japan at its worst! This is something that I really can´t understand. Discrimination against your own, based solely on some jobs that needed to be humbly done by someone. Japan may be a rich country, but never will be a truly developed one until Japanese society openly faces its faults, discrimation, prejudices, ugly past. That´s why German people today live much better that Japanese: they have moved on, faced its past, have overcome it. Japan is still stuck in WWII and in the Meiji Jidai. So sad!

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Google needs to apologize and withdraw from the Japanese market now.

I hope someone presses charges against them for violating the privacy of these people.

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It is another Burakumin Liberation Leage shakedown. For anyone unaware of this, they have been doing this for decades in Japan, regardless of how farcial it has become. The last thing the BLL wants is the topic to go away. It has to be milked forever.

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tokyohustla: you are wrong. Problem is not Google, but this prejudice it accidentaly cast a light on. But I agree with you on one thing: Google should be careful when dealing with Japan. It´s a country on its own league. Not like the rest of the developed world.

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Lostinnagoya,

The problem is Google. That's what I said.

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Show me one alleged crusty reactionary Japanese who "learned" something that he didn't already know from these "secret" maps, and I'll show you a shill for the burakumin liberation league.

The fact is that this information is already known to everyone, but republishing the maps with their original non-politically correct labels opens old wounds (think nazi memorabilia). That hasn't stopped the Western media from spinning this as yet another "dirty dark secrets of Japan" story though.

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Japanese society [needs to] openly faces its faults

it can't because it is so deeply insecure about itself, but doesn't realise that dealing with your problems openly and head on is actually the way to self-assuredness. but unfortunately the dominate policy is "hear no evil, see no evil..." and just sweep it under the carpet and pretend that everything is already sunny and perfect.

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About 15 years ago a good friend of mine decided to translate "Village Japan" by Malcolm Ritchie into Japanese. Some of you may have heard of this book, one of the most famous studies in Sociology in the 20th C, based on a village just down the road from here. To cut a long story short, he received death threats. The descendants of the Burakumin said that they could tell from the context even if the names were changed, exactly which family and which house is which today. As far as I know, it still hasn't been translated...

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Sorry, adjust the above to Anthropology, and Richard King Beardsley's "Village Japan".

I didn't realize there was another one by the same title published in 1999 by M Ritchie, which is probably something quite different...

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Hells if there is cheaper rent to be had, show me the way Google Earth.

As for the story itself, it is just ridiculous on so many levels.

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maybe next up is a map of all the restaurants and hot springs that ban foreigners? They can then have a whole discrimination nexus of data for the country to then wish away publically, but adore privately.

The heart of the matter is that Japanese see the job as the person, where anti-discriminatory countries have learned that that is irrelevant.

This issue of taint is why there is such panic over the flu because it crosses caste lines that no longer fits into a Japanese concept. Proof again that Japan socially is barely above 15th century thinking, with modern knowledge of science having STILL not yet changed laws or perceptions.

If your great-great-grandfather or anyone since had a job you didn't like, it would be laughable to discriminate you now because of that, yet this is what's happening.

The practice of screening based on geography/occupation needs to be banned. Please tell me how Japan is a part of the OECD or UN again??

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I feel sorry for Japanese who feel the need to discriminate against other Japanese

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this calls to mind a debito article from the japan times about all those rural communities which are dying out and in desperate need of a injection of youngsters, but it will never happen because no-one wants to move there and then have their family discriminated against for the next 10 generations

so at least when it comes to discrimination japan is an equal-opportunities employer

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I guess not all Nihon-jin are "ware ware Nihon-jin."

I really doubt anyone with Ainu heritage who may have read this story felt any sense of shock or surprise.

Taka

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WOW and I only thought all japanese were prejudice towards gaigin, hell they are even prejudice towards there own.

I think they can piss off, if they didnt like google loading it then they shouldnt have made the damn maps in the first place. Funny how karma bites you in the ass japan.

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I think the Ainu are a step above the burakumin in the pecking order but you've got a point. Sort of like the Japanese of Korean ancestry having an uphill battle. The pecking order in Japan is pretty amazing and easy to offend. I like blocking the aisle on the company bus so the OLs can get off before the salarymen in the back. It took me two years in Japan before I found anybody who would talk about burakumin. It's like Japan's dark secret. Amazing that it still hangs on. But then there are other examples of a group shilling an old wrong for modern preferences. Anybody care to start a list? Which it is with the burakumin I can't be sure.

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“eta,” a now strongly derogatory word for burakumin that literally >means “filthy mass.” The translation is poor and inflammatory to say the least. "Much defilement" would be better. The derivation of the word isn't quite clear but Japanese wiki says "people whose work involved dealing with a lot of impure things" is a likely one.

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ca1ic0cat,

I like blocking the aisle on the company bus so the OLs can get off before the salarymen in the back.

We may not always agree, but I take my hat off to you for that.

Taka

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Burakumin discrimination is a testament to human nature. Humans will find ANY excuse to malign each other. In the absence of people who are different, they will create those differences amongst themselves. Those with power will be exalted, those without will be cast aside. One wonders though a few things: Were cooks considered burakumin too, because they handled the butcher's meat too or were they somehow exempt? Second, undertakers were Burakumin, right? I wonder how the Burakumin haters feel about Okuribito's success? Anyway not Google's fault that Japanese people decided to make these maps in the first place. Certainly not thier fault that people use it to deny others thier humanity.

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ANOTSUSAGAMI,

In the absence of people who are different, they will create those differences amongst themselves.

I can't argue with that.

Taka

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Anotsusagami, to answer your question above about cooks and meat, without going off topic, most Japanese didn't eat what we now think of as 'meat' in Edo times.

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Well, the Burakumin Liberation League can't be too upset with Google. They still use them to provide the site search on their home page.

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