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Crucial Fallacies in “On the invention of identity politics the Buraku outcastes in Japan” by J. Mark Ramseyer / J.Mark Ramseyer “On the invention of identity politics the Buraku outcastes in Japan”に関する重大な誤謬とそれに基づく問題


Fujino Yutaka


Translation by Okada Kimiko, supervised by Komori Megumi

May 1, 2021
Volume 19 | Issue 9 | Number 6
Article ID 5595


The Japanese version of this article follows the English translation.日本語版が英語版の後に掲載されています。

Note: All quotes are from “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan”, The Harvard John M. Olin Discussion Paper Series: No. 964, June 20, 2018.

 

Various problems can be found in the article by J. Mark Ramseyer (hereinafter, the article) to the extent that its content is hardly worthy of a serious refutation from an academic point of view. Although it is not clear whether it is intentional or simply a matter of negligence, there are many misrepresentations of facts. We should not underestimate the significance of the fact that such papers are being accepted in the academic world. Bearing this in mind, I will discuss the following three points related to modern Japanese history, my field of specialization: 

1) errors concerning the formation of modern Buraku, 

2) errors in the prejudicial equating of Buraku people with criminals, and 

3) errors concerning the Levelers’ movement.

 


Errors concerning the establishment of modern Buraku

The article argues that after the Meiji Restoration, the people of the discriminated Buraku, Burakumin, moved into cities in western Japan and formed slums, which became associated with high crime rates (26). Kamagasaki in Osaka City is given as a typical example (8), but Kamagasaki was not formed as a discriminated Buraku area. The area was created in 1903 when a slum was cleared to make way for the 5th National Industrial Exposition, and day laborers who had been forced out of their homes were relocated to the area (Matsuda 2003). Many such elementary factual errors can be found in this article, and these errors form the basis for its main argument. 

Errors in the article regarding population migration from the discriminated Buraku to the urban slums may be pointed out using an example in Yokohama.

In Yokohama, since the opening of the port, many laborers worked in various occupations such as day labor, dock work, and scavenging. Cheap lodgings and tenements were built in the nearby hills, and these grew into urban slums. One of these areas was called Eta Mura (a derogatory term for a Burakumin Village) (Yokohama Bōeki Shimpo, December 17, 1913) or Eta no Nagaya (tenement house) (Yokohama Bōeki Shimpo, December 27, 1913). Why were such discriminatory names used for the area? The reason was the occupations of the residents of the area. As of 1881, 12 second-hand shoe dealers and seven second-hand geta (traditional Japanese footwear) dealers were living in the area (Yokohama Shoninroku, Dainippon Shoninroku-sha, 1881).

In addition, Inoue Teizō, who explored the slums and discriminated Buraku areas around Japan in 1919, wrote that this area “used to have many tanners” (1923). Also, according to a 1919 survey by the Yokohama City Welfare Department there were many “shoemakers, sandal makers, and geta repairers” (Jiku Jiho, Vol. 1, No. 2, August 1919).

Yoshikawa Eiji, a writer who spent his childhood close to this area at the end of the 19th century, wrote that “people unjustly separated from society formed a Buraku in the low lying areas and pointed out the existence of ‘old discrimination against Buraku.’” Yoshikawa also noted that there were people working in the slaughterhouse in this area. (1955)

It is thought that people engaged in leather processing, shoe and sandal manufacturing, and slaughterhouse laborers moved to this area from the discriminated Buraku areas around Yokohama, which led to the entire area being regarded as a discriminated Buraku (Fujino, 2009). This means that there were discriminated Buraku people among those who migrated from rural areas to Yokohama, and because there were leather workers, shoe and other footwear makers, as well as slaughterhouse workers among them, the whole area was called Eta Mura. This fact refutes the observation of the article that denies a relationship between the leather industry and the discriminated Buraku and makes clear that the discriminated Buraku people were the lowest class of farmers.

The article ignores the relationship between the discriminated Buraku and the leather industry, and emphasizes the fact that most of the discriminated Buraku in the early modern period were not descended from leather workers or executioners, but were the poorest class of farmers, who were subject to prejudice because they were poor, not because they were outcastes (24-25). 

It is true that in the 1880s, the deflationary policies of Matsukata Masayoshi, the Minister of Finance, caused the price of agricultural products to fall, and poor farmers who lost their land flowed into urban slums, forming the urban miscellaneous trade class as well as the labor force during the Industrial Revolution. The article merely applies this general migration of population from the rural to urban areas to the Buraku people. The error is in the presumption that the Buraku people were the poorest class of farmers. If the discriminated Burakumin are to be understood as simply the poorest class of farmers, it cannot be explained why discrimination against the Buraku people continues through the modern age to the present. 

Moreover, as previous regional studies into the history of the discriminated Buraku have shown, the perception of equating the discriminated Buraku with poverty is also contrary to the facts. The discriminated Buraku people earned their livelihood by gaining exclusive access to various occupations, including leather goods manufacturing and medical drugs (Fujino 2007). The perception equating Buraku with poverty itself exemplifies Ramseyer's prejudice against the Buraku.

There were many people among the Buraku working in leather related occupations and these people migrated to the slums of Yokohama, where many European and North American people lived, and there was a high demand for leather products such as shoes. As mentioned above, the prominence of people engaged in occupations that were characteristic of the discriminated Buraku led to the whole area being identified as such. The article does not take these facts into consideration, and simply states that the discriminated Buraku people migrated to the cities, formed slums, which became associated with a high crime rate.

 


The error of prejudice equating Burakumin with criminals

The article consistently portrays discriminated Burakumin as criminal elements. The actions of the discriminated Burakumin during the rice riots, the denunciation struggle of the National Levelers’ Association, the efforts of the Buraku Liberation League related to the postwar Dōwa administration, and the actions to denounce the discriminatory Sayama trial are all treated as crimes committed by discriminated Burakumin. This is a view of Buraku people that has persisted in the discriminatory logic of modern and contemporary Japan. The article adopts this view without question. 

After the Russo-Japanese War, the state recognised that discrimination was an inevitable result of the poverty, poor sanitation and behavioral standards in Buraku communities. So, the police were mobilized to impose lifestyle changes on Burakumin. Tomeoka Kosuke, a social worker and commissioned officer in the local government bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who led this movement to improve the livelihood of the Buraku, said, “I have come to realize that of the more than 12,000 municipalities in our country, the poorest, filthiest and most dangerous are the villages of the new commoners (Buraku). Therefore, from the standpoint of reducing the number of criminals and organizing the municipalities, I believe that the improvement of the new commoners is indeed one of the most urgent tasks of social improvement” (Tomeoka 1907). He expressed the view that the discriminated Buraku should be “improved” from the viewpoint of crime prevention. Tomeoka was also heavily involved in sensitization projects and prison improvement projects, and one of the major objectives of his social work was to reduce the number of criminals. Therefore, the improvement of discriminated Buraku was also a project that became a part of such objectives (Fujino 1986). For this reason, police officers were mobilized in Buraku Improvement projects.

Through Buraku Improvement projects the association of the discriminated Buraku area with crime spread throughout society. A sense of discrimination against Buraku as a group of “inferior people” of a different "race" emerged, and the discriminatory name “Tokushu Buraku” (Special Buraku) took root (Kurokawa 2021). 

This perception was also shared by Kagawa Toyohiko, who was engaged in missionary work in the slums adjacent to the discriminated Buraku in Kobe City. In Hinmin Shinri no Kenkyū (A Study of the Psychology of the Poor), which he authored in 1915, and was published by Tokyo Keisei-sha, he noted that there were many criminals in the discriminated-Buraku area, and sought to trace the origins of the Buraku people to a “special kind of race,” calling the inhabitants “a degenerate race among the Japanese,” “a criminal race in the Japanese Empire,” and “a race of prostitutes in Japan.” He called for “racial improvement,” in other words, sterilization of the Buraku people and their eventual elimination (Fujino 1998). Kagawa’s argument is outright eugenics, advocating discrimination not only against the Buraku people, but also against slum dwellers, patients with leprosy, and people with disabilities. It caused a huge controversy in the 1980s known as the “Kagawa problem,” which has continued to this day.

The prejudicial association of Buraku with high crime rates was exploited politically during the rice riots of 1918. During the rice riots, Buraku people participated along with people demanding lower prices for rice around the country. However, as prejudice that associated Buraku people with crime was widely shared across society, the rumor that the riots were started by the Buraku people was intentionally spread and police control concentrated in the Buraku. According to Iwayuru Kome Sōdō Jiken no Kenkyū (A Study of the So-called Rice Riot Incident) compiled by Yoshikawa Mitsusada, a prosecutor at the Nagoya District Court, in 1939, of the 8,185 people who were prosecuted for the rice riot, 887 were Buraku people, or more than 10% of the total, indicating that the police crackdown was concentrated in Buraku areas.

Kobashi Ichita, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs explained that in the areas of Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, “the residents of the special Buraku” started the riots out of “a kind of emotional rebellion” (Shin Aichi (New Aichi), August 22, 1918) , while another senior official of the Ministry said that "the riots in Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Okayama, Mie and other prefectures were all caused by the special Buraku people and it is as if the rest of the rioters are merely following these special Buraku people" (Chūō Shimbun, August 26, 1918). Similarly, Soeda Keiichirō, Director General of the Regional Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, stated, "Looking at the situation of disturbances in various areas, it seems that most of them originate from the so-called special Buraku areas" (Soeda 1918). Similar statements were made not only by the Ministry of Home Affairs, but also by officials of the Ministries of Justice as well as Education, and it was this discriminatory prejudice that led the then cabinet of Terauchi Masatake to strengthen its crackdown on the discriminated Buraku.

The newspapers also reported on a rice riot in Unrinin Village, Anno County, Mie Prefecture, in which the Buraku people attacked the home of the landowner. Although the landowner’s family was able to escape unharmed, the papers reported that “the family of eight was surrounded by wild fire, and burned to death” (Ehime Shimpō, August 19, 1918), and that “members of the family could not escape and were all engulfed in flames and burned to death along with the building” (Tokyo Mainichi Shimbun, August 21, 1918). Thus, at the time of the rice riots, a sense of discrimination and fear that discriminated Buraku was associated with high crime rates and that Buraku residents were all cruel people spread throughout society (Fujino 1988). In particular, the rice riots gave rise to a new sense of fear of the discriminated Buraku, which later intensified discrimination (Kurokawa, 2021).

Ramseyer’s article, following along the lines of the discriminatory views of the bureaucrats and newspaper reports, assumes that the Buraku people led the rice riots, and affirms the discriminatory newspaper coverage at the time (28).

The article goes on to describe the Levelers’ movement, linking the protests against instances of discrimination (denunciation struggles, kyūdan) with violence and crime. In doing so, it relies on the report written by Hasegawa Nei, Chief Public Prosecutor of the Fukuoka District court in 1927.

In the “Introduction”, Hasegawa writes that the Buraku people “generally lack a sense of morality, are suspicious and brutal, their morals have deteriorated severely, their spirit of improvement and progress has gradually disappeared, and they seem to have become increasingly desperate.” Hasegawa is also strongly influenced by prejudice against Buraku people. Therefore, he states that as the Levelers’ movement “became more and more intense, the number of disturbances increased, and their nature became increasingly contentious, leading to criminal cases of disturbances, threats, assaults, etc., and the number of those who were prosecuted were countless” and goes on to introduce cases against the denunciation activities of the Levelers’ Association. Hasegawa's approach to the crackdown was based on the view that “where there is a case of denunciation, there is always a crime.” He declares that “I am a person who denies the existence of the so-called right of denunciation,” and criticizes the activities of the Levelers’ Association in denouncing discrimination as “revenge, direct action, and private punishment against those who discriminate in speech and action," and as "a challenging attitude against society.” Ramseyer develops this argument that the discriminated Burakumin are a group of criminals on the basis of cases classified as crimes by Hasegawa's extreme prejudice. It ignores the significance of the founding of the National Levelers’ Association in the history of human rights while insisting on emphasizing the views of the prosecution charging the denunciation activities as crimes. The errors in the article regarding the Levelers’ Association will be discussed in detail below.

The article is consistent in its critical tone in describing the illegalities surrounding the Dōwa projects and extortions, without mentioning the significance of activities in working with the local governments, developed by the postwar Buraku Liberation movement or the significance of the report of the Council for Dōwa Measures. 

The article also mentions the case of Ishikawa Kazuo, the “perpetrator” of the Sayama case, which indicated that there was a miscarriage of justice, and a request for retrial has been made, but he describes it as a case that links the Buraku with crime. He suggests that in convicting Mr. Ishikawa, the police had the “right man” (38). He also continues to criticize the protest movement against the discriminatory trial as violence and crime (39).

In the course of denouncing the Sayama trial, there were inevitably incidents by radical political forces occupying the courthouse and attacking judges. However, the main objective of this movement was to prove the innocence of Ishikawa by exposing the discriminatory attitudes of the police, public prosecutors, and the judges that led to the miscarriage of justice. The violent words and actions of just a handful of radicals were by no means the mainstream in the struggle to denounce the Sayama trial. However, the article makes no mention of these facts, and consistently argues that the pre- and post-war Buraku Liberation movement beginning with the Levelers’ movement was a movement of violence and criminal acts.


Errors concerning the Levelers’ movement

The article argues that the founding of the National Levelers’ Association (Suiheisha) in 1922 was a revolutionary plot by Comintern sympathizers in Japan (32-33). Indeed, the Japanese Communist Party showed interest in the founding of the Levelers’ Association. Sakai Toshihiko had Takahashi Sadaki joined the Levelers’ Association to form the National Levelers’ Association Youth League, that was sympathetic to communism within the Association, with Takahashi at its core. However, the Association was not dominated by these communist forces. What the Levelers’ and the communist movement had in common was a sense of solidarity as people suffering discrimination that went beyond ideological beliefs, as well as a desire for the status of “equal imperial subjects.” Within the Levelers’ Association, there was a range of beliefs, including anarchism, nationalism, and many other ideas apart from communism. Buddhist beliefs of the Jōdō Shinshu sect were common among the Levelers’ Associations in western Japan. The Kantō Levelers’ Association was strongly influenced by anarchism and nationalism, but communism did not have much impact. (Fujino 1989)

Hasegawa Nei's 1927 account on which much of the article relies for its logic, has the following sentences in its opening.

Marx and Engels, in their co-authored Manifesto of the Communist Party, stated that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” How right they were. In recent years, the trend of social movements has been to improve the current social and industrial institutional system in order to improve the status of the exploited classes. The war in Europe has been a turning point in this trend. The revolutionary tone has notably diminished compared to before the war, the violent tendency to curse the capitalists and seek to destroy capitalism has gradually disappeared, and social movements promoting class struggle have come to advocate moderation.

 

The article also relies on a Kyoto Prefectural Government report (March 1924), which states:

 

The founders of the movement, Sakamoto, Komai, Kiyohara and others, were all young radicals among the Buraku people and have been advocating socialism. They have worshipped Sakai Toshihiko. They are acquainted with Sakai and others under special observation, and they are receiving assistance from the socialists for this project. In addition, it is suspected that the ultimate purpose of the project is to be involved in the general class struggle and to participate in the transformation of society in concert with the socialists. (Asaji 1995) 

 

It is clear that those on the side of maintenance of order were very wary of the possibility of the Levelers’ movement joining with the socialist movement.

As can be seen in the writings of Hasegawa and Kyoto Prefecture, the state regarded the National Levelers’ movement as a “social movement based on class struggle.” The article accepts this perspective as fact.

It would be impossible to explain from this perspective the fact that the National Levelers’ Association regarded the edict abolishing the senmin class (the so-called “Emancipation Edict”) issued in 1871 as the “sacred will” of Emperor Meiji, or that it strongly protested from a patriotic standpoint against the anti-Japanese 1924 Immigration Act of the U.S. On the contrary, the Ramseyer article places the Levelers’ Association, which it says was dominated by communists, in the same category as the Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution in China and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and condemns the denunciation struggles as collective and brutal violence. The article cites the above Kyoto Prefectural Government's Suihei Undō no Jōsei (March 1924) in which the police reports, “Never mind that most burakumin opposed the Suiheisha, …The violent tactics of the Suiheisha eliminated that sympathy.” However, the article makes no mention of the statements in the report that the rise of the Levelers’ movement diminished the Buraku people’s sense of self-deprecation and raised their self-esteem, regardless of whether they agreed with the movement or not, or that “the rise of the Levelers’ movement gave the Buraku people a strong feeling of the urgent need to eliminate discrimination.” The article arbitrarily selects quotes from historical materials in order to portray the Levelers’ movement as being simply one of violence.

Next, the article argues that the control of the Levelers’ Association was transferred from the communists to a criminal cohort when Matsumoto Jiichirō became the chairman of the central executive committee of the National Levelers’ Association and its leader in 1925. It describes Matsumoto, who ran a construction company in Fukuoka, as the head of the criminal organization. and that under him, denunciations of discrimination became acts of extortion (33-35). The article’s view of Matsumoto also relies on the above publication by Hasegawa Nei. Hasegawa says of Matsumoto, “Many people may think of him as a head of a criminal organization, but he is a good man with blood and tears.” The article takes the description, “head of a criminal organization” of Matsumoto literally, and portrayed the National Levelers’ Association under the leadership of Matsumoto as a criminal cohort. However, Matsumoto was not only a leader of the Levelers’ movement, but also a Member of Parliament affiliated to the Socialist Masses Party, a proletarian party. In particular, Matsumoto favored the Popular Front tactics advocated by Nosaka Sanzō and Yamamoto Kenzō, who participated in the 7th Congress of the Comintern in 1936, in their “Letter addressed to Communists in Japan.” After the attempted military coup of the February 26 Incident, he sought to build an anti-fascist front to protect the parliamentary government from the military, and called on all parties to participate. There is no reference in the article to these facts. What is consistent is the prejudiced argument that the Buraku Liberation Movement was a movement of criminals before and after the war.


Conclusion

As mentioned above, Ramseyer's article neglects the basics of writing an academic article, of reading through materials and literature and examining existing research on the subject. It was written based on the assumption that Buraku people were a criminal cohort and that the Buraku Liberation Movement was a violent criminal movement. It is not even worthy of academic critique. 

Therefore, it is necessary to rigorously question the responsibility of Ramseyer, the author of the article, and the responsibility of the Review of Law and Economics, for its role in publishing it uncritically.

 


Bibliography

Asaji Takeshi, “Suihei Undō no Jōsei – Sōritsu ki Zenkoku Suiheisha o meguru Chihō Gyōsei Shiryō (Situation of the Levelers’ Movement – Local Administrative Records Regarding the National Levelers’ Association at the Time of its Founding), Buraku Kaihō Kenkyū, No. 102, February 1995.

Fujino Yutaka, “Tomeoka Kosuke to Buraku Mondai” (Tomeoka Kosuke and the Buraku Problem), Buraku Liberation Research Institute ed., Ronshū Kindai Buraku Mondai (Modern Buraku Issues) Kaihō Shuppansha, 1986.

Fujino Yutaka, “Kome Sōdō ni okeru Hisabetsu Buraku Shudōron no Seiritsu“ (The Establishment of the Buraku Initiative Theory in the Rice Riots), in Tokunaga Takashi, Kurokawa Midori, and Fujino Yutaka, Kome Sōdō to Hisabetsu Buraku (Rice Riots and the Discriminated Against Buraku), Yūsankaku Publishing, 1988.

Fujino Yutaka, Suihei Undō no Shakai Shisō shi Kenkyū (A Historical Study of the Social Ideas in the Levelers’ Movement), Yūsankaku Shuppan, 1989.

Fujino Yutaka, “Kindai Nihon no Kirisuto kyo to Yusei Shisō (Christianity and Eugenics in Modern Japan),” in Fujino, Nihon Fashizumu to Yūsei Shisō (Japan Fascism and Eugenics), Kamogawa Shuppan, 1998.

Fujino Yutaka, Hisabetsu Buraku Zero? – Kindai Toyama no Buraku Mondai (Zero Buraku? - Buraku Issues in Modern Toyama), Katsura Shobō, 2001] [Kanagawa ken no Buraku shi (Buraku History of Kanagawa) Kanagawa no Buraku shi Editorial Committee, Fuji Shuppan, 2007.

Fujino Yutaka, “Kindai nihon no Hajimari to Buraku Mondai no Seiritsu” (The Beginning of Modern Japan and the Establishment of the Buraku Problem), in Kurokawa Midori and Fujino Yutaka, eds. Kindai Buraku shi – Saihen sareru Sabetsu no Kōzō (Modern Buraku History: The Realigning the Structure of Discrimination), Yūshisha, 2009.

Hasegawa Nei, Suihei Undō narabini kore ni kansuru Hanzai no Kenkyū (A Study of the Levelers’ Movement and Crimes Related to It), Ministry of Justice, Research Division, Shihō Kenkyū, No. 5, Report Collection 4, July 1927.

Kurokawa Midori, Hisabetsu Buraku Ninshiki no Rekishi – Ika to Dōka no Aida (History of Buraku Recognition: Between Heterogenization and Assimilation), Iwanami Gendai Bunko, 2021.

Kyoto Prefectural Government, “Suihei Undō no Jōsei (Situation of the Levelers’ Movement)”, March 1924.

Matsuda Kyoko, Teikoku no Shisen – Hakurankai to Ibunka Hyosho, (The Imperial Gaze: Expositions and Cross-Cultural Representations), Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 2003.

Soeda Keichirō, “Sōjo ni Kaerimite” (Reflections on the Disturbances), Shimin, Vol. 13, No. 9, September 1918.

Inoue Teizō, Hinminkutsu to Shōsū Dōhō (Slums and Minority Communities) Ganshōdo, 1923.

Tomeoka Kosuke, “Shin Heimin no Kaizen (Improvement of the New Commoners), 1”, Journal of the National Police Association, No. 80, January 1907.

Yoshikawa Eiji, Wasurenokori no Ki – Shihan Jijoden (A Chronicle of What was not Forgotten: A Semi-Autobiography),’ Bungei Shunjū 1955.

 

 

 

J.Mark Ramseyer “On the invention of identity politics the Buraku outcastes in Japan”に関する重大な誤謬とそれに基づく問題

敬和学園大学人文学部教授 藤野豊

 

以下の文章の引用はすべて、‟On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan”(The Harvard John M. Olin Discussion Paper Series: No. 964)から行っている。 

 

Ramseyerの論文(以下、論文と記す)の問題点は多岐にわたる。その内容は、学術的には、まともに反論することに値しないものである。故意か過失かは定かではないが、事実誤認の叙述も多い。しかし、こうした論文がアカデミズムの世界で罷り通っている現実を軽視することはできない。そこで、わたくしの専門の日本近現代史に関する

 

  1. 近代被差別部落の成立に関する誤り 
  2. 部落民=犯罪者とする偏見の誤り 
  3. 水平社運動に関する誤り

の3点について論じることとする。

 

近代被差別部落の成立に関する誤り

論文では、明治維新以降、被差別部落民は西日本の都市に流入し、スラムを形成し、それが犯罪の温床となったと論じている(26p)。そして、その典型例として大阪市の釜ヶ崎をあげているが(8p)、釜ヶ崎は被差別部落として形成されたものではない。同地区は、1903年に第5回内国勧業博覧会の開催のため、スラムクリアランスがおこなわれ、住地を追われた日傭労働者が新たに集住して形成されたものである[松田京子『帝国の視線―博覧会と異文化表象』吉川弘文館、2003年]。この論文には、こうした初歩的な事実誤認が多いが、そうした事実誤認が論文の重要な論旨を形成している。

以下、被差別部落から都市スラムへの人口移動については、以下のような横浜の事例をあげることで、論文の誤りを指摘することができる。

横浜では、開港以来、多くの労働者が集まり港の周辺の丘陵地帯に港湾労働をはじめ日雇い労働、屑拾いなど種々の職業に従事するひとびとを対象にした木賃宿や棟割長屋が建てられ都市スラムが形成されていった。そのなかの1つが「穢多村」(『横浜貿易新報』1913年12月17日)、あるいは「穢多の長屋」(『横浜貿易新報』1913年12月27日)などと呼ばれた地区である。なぜ、このような地区に対し被差別部落への差別的呼称が使われたのか。その理由は、この地区の住民の職業にあった。1881年の段階で、この地区周辺には古靴直商が12名、古下駄商が7名居住していた(『横浜商人録』、大日本商人録社、1881年)。

さらに、1919年に全国のスラムや被差別部落を探訪した井上貞蔵は『貧民窟と少数同胞』(巖松堂、1923年)において、この地区は「昔は皮屋が多かつた」と記している。1919年の横浜市慈救課の調査でも「靴屋、草履造り、下駄直し業」が多いことが記されている(『慈救時報』第1巻第2号、1919年8月)。

また、19世紀末、この地区の周辺で幼少時代を過ごした作家吉川英治は、1955年1月から『文藝春秋』に連載した「忘れ残りの記―四半自叙伝」のなかで、この地区について「不当に社会から隔てられている人々が低地に部落をなしていた」と記し、「古い部落的な差別」の存在を指摘している。吉川は、この地区に屠場労働者がいたことも記している。

この地区には、横浜周辺の被差別部落から皮革加工や靴、草履製造、屠場労働に従事するひとびとが移り住み、それにより地区全体が被差別部落視されていたと考えられる[藤野豊「近代日本のはじまりと部落問題の成立」、黒川みどり・藤野豊編『近代部落史―再編される差別の構造』、有志舎、2009年]。すなわち、農村部から横浜に流入するひとびとのなかに被差別部落民もいたのであるが、そのなかに、皮革職人や靴・履物職人や屠場労働者がいたことから、その地区全体が「穢多村」と呼ばれたのである。この事実は、以下のような被差別部落と皮革産業の関係を否定し、被差別部落民を最下層の農民とする論文の見解も否定するものである。

論文は、被差別部落と皮革産業の関係を軽視し、近世のほとんどの被差別部落民は皮革産業の職人や死刑執行者に血統にはならず、最下層の農民であったことを強調し、‶アウトカースト〟ではなく、貧しいために偏見を受けてきたと論じている(24~25p)。

たしかに、1880年代の松方正義大蔵卿・大蔵大臣のデフレ政策により農産物価が下落し、土地を失った貧農層が都市スラムに流入し、都市の雑業層や産業革命期の労働者層を形成していったが、論文は、こうした一般的な農村から都市への人口移動を、そのまま被差別部落にも適用しているに過ぎない。その前提には、被差別部落民を最下層の貧農として理解する誤りがある。また、被差別部落民を単なる最下層の農民として理解するならば、なぜ、

部落差別が近代社会にも、現代社会にも存在しているのか、説明できない。

しかも、これまでの地域の被差別部落史研究が明らかにしているように、被差別部落=貧困という認識もまた事実に反している。被差別部落民は、皮革製造、薬種製造をはじめとするさまざまな職業の特権を得て、生業として生計を立てていた[藤野豊『被差別部落ゼロ?―近代富山の部落問題』、桂書房、2001年][「神奈川の部落史」編集委員会編『神奈川の部落史』、不二出版、2007年]。被差別部落=貧困という認識自身、Ramseyerの被差別部落への偏見を象徴している。

被差別部落には皮革関連の職業に従事する者も多く、そうしたひとびとが、欧米人が集まり、靴などの皮革製品の需要が多い横浜のスラムに流入してきたのである。すでに述べたように、被差別部落に特徴的な職業の従事者が目立つことで、地区全体が被差別部落として周囲から見られていったのである。論文は、こうした事実を顧みることなく、単純に被差別部民が都市に移動しスラムを形成し、犯罪の温床となったと述べている。

 

部落民=犯罪者とする偏見の誤り 

論文は、一貫して被差別部落民を犯罪者集団であると描き続けている。米騒動における被差別部落民の行動、全国水平社の糾弾闘争、戦後の同和行政をめぐる部落解放同盟の闘争、そして狭山差別裁判糾弾闘争など、すべてを被差別部落民の犯罪として扱っている。しかし、こうした被差別部落視は、まさに差別を肯定する論理として近現代日本に一貫したものであり、論文はそうした差別的視点をそのまま継承する結果となっている。

日露戦争後に展開された部落改善事業は、被差別部落は経済、風紀、衛生のいずれにおいても最悪の環境であり、差別されるのはそうした環境故にやむを得ないという国家の認識のもとに、警察官を動員して被差別部落民に生活改善を強制するものであった。この部落改善運動を指導した社会事業家で内務省地方局嘱託の留岡幸助は、「我邦一万二千有余の町村中で、最も貧しく且つ不潔で、而かも危険の多き場所は、新平民の部落であることを知るに至つたのである。故に余は犯罪者を減少するの問題よりいふも、町村を整理するの上よりいふも、新平民の改良は実に社会改良中の最も要急なる一つであると信ずる」と述べ(留岡幸助「新平民の改善・一」、『警察協会雑誌』第80号、1907年1月)、被差別部落を犯罪防止上からも「改良」しなければならないという見解を示した。留岡は、感化事業、監獄改良事業にも深く関わっており、犯罪者をいかに減少させるかということは、その社会事業の重要な目的の一つであり、被差別部落の改善もまた、そうした目的の一環となる事業であった[藤野豊「留岡幸助と部落問題」、部落解放研究所編『論集・近代部落問題』、解放出版社、1986年]。部落改善事業に警察官が動員されたのも、そうした目的があったからである。

部落改善事業を通じて、被差別部落は犯罪の温床であるという印象が社会に広められていった。被差別部落に対し、一般の日本人とは「人種」が異なる「劣等者」の集団という差別感が生まれ、被差別部落に対する「特種部落」、あるいは「特殊部落」という差別的呼称が定着した[黒川みどり『被差別部落認識の歴史―異化と同化の間』、岩波現代文庫、2021年]。

こうした認識は、神戸市の被差別部落に隣接するスラムで伝道活動をおこなった賀川豊彦にも継承される。賀川は、1915年に著した『貧民心理の研究』(東京警醒社)のなかで、被差別部落に犯罪者が多いと述べ、被差別部落の起源を「一種特別の人種」に求め、そこの住民を「日本人中の退化種」「日本帝国中の犯罪種族」「日本の売春種族」と呼び、部落問題の解決法として「人種改良」、すなわち被差別部落民に不妊手術をおこない子孫を絶ち消滅させることを求めた[藤野豊「近代日本のキリスト教と優生思想」、藤野『日本ファシズムと優生思想』、かもがわ出版、1998年]。賀川の主張は優生思想そのものであり、被差別部落民のみならず、スラム住民、ハンセン病患者、障害者に対しても極めて差別的な内容を含んでおり、「賀川問題」として1980年代に大きな論争を引き起こし、現在に至っている。

被差別部落に犯罪が多いという偏見は、1918年の米騒動の際、政治的に利用された。米騒動には、全国各地で被差別部落民も米の廉売を求める民衆の一員として参加した。しかし、被差別部落を犯罪の温床とする偏見が社会に広く存在するなか、あたかも米騒動が被差別部落民により引き起こされたかのような風評が意図的に流され、警察の取り締まりが被差別部落に集中した。名古屋区裁判所検事吉河光貞が1939年にまとめた『所謂米騒動事件の研究』では、米騒動で検事処分を受けた8185名中、被差別部落民は887名と1割以上を占め、警察の取り締まりが被差別部落に集中したことを示唆している。

内務次官小橋一太は、京阪神では「特殊部落の住民が一種の感情的反抗心」から騒動を起こしたらしいと語り(『新愛知』1918年8月22日)、ある内務省幹部も「京都、大阪、神戸及び岡山、三重県等に於ける暴動は何れも特殊部落民にて其他の群衆は単に是れ等特殊部落民に雷同したるに過ぎざるが如くである」と語った(『中央新聞』1918年8月26日)。同じく、内務省地方局長添田敬一郎も「各地に於ける騒擾の状況を見るに、先づ所謂特殊部落より発動したるものが多い様でる」と述べている(添田「騒擾に省みて」、『斯民』第13篇第9号、1918年9月)。同様の発言は、内務省以外、司法省や文部省幹部からも発せられ、当時の寺内正毅内閣が、こうした差別的予断と偏見から被差別部落への取り締まりを強化していったのである。

また、新聞の報道においても、三重県安濃郡雲林院村で起きた米騒動について、被差別部落民が地主の家を襲撃した際、地主の一家は無事に逃げることができたにもかかわらず、新聞は「一家八名は猛火に包まれ無惨の焼死を遂げたり」(『愛媛新報』1918年8月19日)、「家族の者は逃ぐるを得ず全部火炎に呑まれ建物と共に焼死した」(『東京毎日新聞』1918年8月21日)などと報じた。こうして、米騒動の際、被差別部落は犯罪の温床であり、住民は残虐な集団であるという差別感、恐怖感が社会に流布されたのである(藤野豊「米騒動における被差別部落主導論の成立」、徳永高志・黒川みどり・藤野豊『米騒動と被差別部落』、雄山閣出版、1988年)。特に、米騒動を機に被差別部落に対する恐怖意識が新たに付与されたことは、その後の差別意識を拡大させていった[黒川みどり前掲書]。

論文は、こうした意図的に流布された差別的な官僚の私見や新聞報道をそのまま継承し、米騒動を指導したのは被差別部落民であると決めつけ、米騒動時の差別的は新聞報道を肯定している(28p)。

論文は、続けて水平社運動についても、糾弾闘争を暴力、犯罪と結びつけて叙述する。その際に依拠しているのは、福岡地方裁判所検事長長谷川寧が著した『水平運動並に之に関する犯罪の研究』(司法省調査課『司法研究』第5輯報告書集4、1927年7月)である。長谷川は、この書の「緒言」において、被差別部落民に対し「一般に道義の観念に乏しく、猜疑心深く、残忍性を帯び、風紀の廃頽甚だしく、向上進取の気は次第に消え失せて、益々自暴自棄に陥りたるやの観」があると述べている。長谷川もまた、これまで述べたような被差別部落に対する偏見に支配されている。それゆえ、長谷川は、水平社運動が「白熱化すると共に紛擾は愈々多きを加へ、其の性質も漸く険悪化し、争闘化し、騒擾、脅迫、暴行等の刑事々件を惹起し訴追を受けた者も亦枚挙に遑なき位に達した」と述べ、水平社の差別糾弾闘争を取り締まってきた事件例を次々と紹介している。長谷川は「糺弾事件の存する処必ず犯罪あり」という認識で取り締まりに当たっている。長谷川は「私は所謂糺弾権の存在を否定する者である」と断言し、水平社の糾弾闘争を「差別言動者に対する復讐であり、直接行動であり、私刑」とみなし、「世間に対する挑戦的態度」と批判している。このような長谷川の極端な偏見の下で犯罪とされた事例を根拠にして、論文は被差別部落を犯罪者集団とする論を展開し、全国水平社創立の人権史上の意義などにはまったく言及せず、水平社運動の糾弾闘争を犯罪とみなす取り締まり側の見解のみを強調することに終始している。なお、論文の水平社運動への誤りについて、詳しくは後述する。

論文のこのような姿勢は、戦後の部落解放運動が展開した行政闘争の意義、同和対策審議会答申の意義には触れず、同和事業をめぐる不正、エセ同和行為などへの批判を続ける論調にも一貫されている。部落差別に基づく冤罪であることが指摘され、再審請求がなされている狭山事件の「犯人」とされた石川一雄氏についても、被差別部落と犯罪を結びつける事例として取り上げ、石川氏を犯人に「ふさわしい男」(p.38)とみなしている。差別裁判に抗議する運動についても暴力、犯罪であるという批判を続けている(39p)。

狭山差別裁判糾弾闘争の過程においては、たしかに急進的な政治勢力の中から、裁判所占拠とか、裁判官への襲撃という事件は起きている。しかし、この闘争の主たる課題は、法廷において、冤罪の背景となった警察、検察、裁判官の差別意識を明らかにし、石川氏の無実を証明することであった。けっして、一部の急進派の暴力的言動が狭山差別裁判糾弾闘争の中心となる行動ではない。

しかし、論文は、そうした事実には一切触れず、水平社運動以来、戦前戦後の部落解放運動は暴力の運動であり、犯罪行為であるという主張を一貫させている。

 

水平社運動への誤り

論文は、1922年の全国水平社の創立をコミンテルンによる日本への革命工作であったと論じている(32~33p)。たしかに、水平社創立に対しては、結成当時の日本共産党も関心を持ち、堺利彦は高橋貞樹を水平社に送り込み、高橋を軸に水平社内に共産主義に共鳴する全国水平社青年同盟を結成させていた。しかし、水平社はそうした共産主義勢力により支配されていたわけではない。水平社運動に共通するのは、思想信条を越えた被差別者としての連帯意識であり、‶平等な臣民”としての地位への希求であった。水平社内には、共産主義だけではなく、無政府主義、国家主義などさまざまな思想が混然として存在し、西日本の水平社には浄土真宗の信仰も共有されていた。また、関東水平社には無政府主義や国家主義の影響が強く、共産主義の影響は及んでいなかった[藤野豊『水平運動の社会思想史的研究』、雄山閣出版、1989年]。

論文が論理の多くを依拠している前掲の長谷川寧『水平運動並に之に関する犯罪の研究』では、その冒頭、次のような叙述がなされている。

マルクス・エンゲルスは其の共著「共産党宣言」に於て「古来一切の社会上の歴史は、皆これ階級闘争の歴史である」と述べて居る、宜なる哉、其の言や。輓近、社会運動の趨勢を観察するに、社会上、産業上の現在の組織制度を改良して被搾取階級の地位を向上せしめんとするの思想が強くなつたと共に、今回の欧洲戦争を一転機として、社会運動に対する観念は一変し、戦前に比し革命的の色彩は甚だしく薄らぎ、資本家を呪ひ、資本主義を破壊せんとするが如き暴的傾向は漸次その跡を絶ち、従つて階級闘争主義の社会運動も穏健主義を標榜するに至つたかの様に思はれる。

また、論文が水平社運動に関して依拠したもうひとつの史料である京都府による「水平運動の情勢」(一九二四年三月調)にも、「其ノ創始者タル阪本、駒井、清原等ハ何レモ部落民ノ少壮急進派ヲ以テ任シ、予テ社会主義ヲ云為シテ常ニ堺利彦ヲ崇拝シ堺其他ノ特別要視察人ニ面識アル者ナレバ、本計画ノ裡面ニハ主義者ノ援助アリ。又其ノ究極ノ目的ハ一般的階級闘争ノ渦中ニ投シ、社会主義者等ト呼応シテ社会ノ改造ニ参画セムトスルニアラサルヤヲ疑ハシメタリ」と記されているように[朝治武「『水平運動の情勢』―創立期全国水平社をめぐる地方行政史料」、『部落解放研究』第102号、1995年2月]、取り締まる側は、水平社運動と社会主義運動が結びつくことに強く警戒していたことは明らかである。

この長谷川や京都府の言に見られるように、国家は全国水平社の運動を「階級闘争主義の社会運動」とみなしていたのである。論文は、こうした国家の視点をそのまま事実として受け入れている。

こうした視点では、全国水平社が、1871年に発布された賤民廃止例(いわゆる「解放令」)を明治天皇の「聖旨」と受け止めていた事実、愛国の立場からアメリカの排日移民法に強く抗議した事実などを説明することはできない。それどころか、論文は共産主義者に支配されたとした水平社を、中国の文化大革命時の紅衛兵や、カンボジアのクメール・ルージュと同列に扱い、糾弾闘争を「集団暴力」「残忍な暴力」と非難している。論文は、前掲の京都府「水平運動の情勢」(1924年3月調)の、京都府内の被差別部落民の「多数ガ水平社ニ反対セルハ水平運動ノ手段ガ激ニ失シ反テ同情ヲ失フ結果ヲ見ルヘシトノ思慮」によるものであるという叙述を引用するが、その一方で、水平社運動の勃興により、それへの賛否にかかわらず、被差別部落民の「従来ノ卑下心」が薄らぎ「自尊心」を高めたという叙述や「水平運動ノ勃興ハ部落民ヲ通シテ差別撤廃ノ急ヲ感覚セシメタルコト大ナルモノアリ」という叙述には一切触れていない。論文は、水平社運動を暴力の運動としてのみ描くため、史料引用を恣意的におこなっている。

次に、論文は、1925年に松本治一郎が全国水平社の中央執行委員長となり、その指導者となったことについて、水平社の支配が共産主義者から犯罪者集団に移ったと論じている。福岡で建設会社を経営する松本は犯罪組織のボスであり、彼のもとで、差別への糾弾はゆすり行為となったという(33~35p)。こうした論文の松本への評価が依拠したものも、長谷川寧の前掲書である。長谷川は、松本について「彼を暴力団の元締の様に思つて居る者も多いだらうがその反面には血あり涙ある好漢である」と述べている。論文は、この「暴力団の元締」という記述をそのまま信じ、松本治一郎の指導下の全国水平社を犯罪者集団として描いた。しかし、松本は、水平社運動の指導者のみならず、無産政党である社会大衆党系の代議士としても活動した。とくに、1936年、コミンテルン第7回大会に参加した野坂参三、山本懸蔵が「日本の共産主義者へのてがみ」で提唱した人民戦線戦術を松本は受け入れ、2.26事件後、軍部から議会政治を守るべく、全政党に呼び掛け、反ファッショ統一戦線を構築しようとしたが、こうした事実には論文はまったく言及していない。一貫するのは、戦前、戦後をとおして部落解放運動は犯罪者の運動であったという偏見に満ちた論理である。

以上、Ramseyerの論文は、資料、文献を読み込み、先行研究も検討するという論文執筆の基本的作業を怠り、被差別部落を犯罪者集団、部落解放運動を暴力と犯罪の運動と決めつける差別的予断と偏見に基づいて書かれたものであり、学術的には評論することにも値しない。所謂「トンデモ本」などと言われる類のものである。

それゆえ、論文を書いたRamseyerの責任、それを無批判に掲載したReview of Law and Economics の責任を問い、きびしく追及していく必要があると考える。

 

March 24, 2021

 

This article is part of Japan’s Burakumin (Outcastes) Reconsidered: A Special Issue Assessing and Refuting Ramseyer’s Interpretation. Please see the Table of Contents.



Please also see our previous special issues on The Ramseyer controversy on the 'Comfort Women' edited by Alexis Dudden, Supplement to Special Issue: Academic Integrity at Stake: The Ramseyer Article - Four Letters 

 

​See also, a special issue on The 'Comfort Women' as Public History edited by Edward Vickers and Mark R. Frost.

 

 

Fujino Yutaka (藤野豊) is a professor in the Faculty of Humanities, Keiwa College, and has research interests in Japanese fascism, post-war democracy, the Buraku Question, prostitution and Hansen’s disease. His recent publications include books on forced sterilization and the eugenics protection law, unemployment and the coal industry rationalization policies, and prostitution in postwar Japan. 

Okada Kimiko (岡田仁子) is a part-time lecturer at Kobe College.

Komori Megumi (小森恵)is the Acting Secretary-General, The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR).