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Japan’s Burakumin (Outcastes) Reconsidered: A Special Issue Refuting Ramseyer’s Interpretation (Table of Contents)

Edited by Ian Neary and Saito Naoko

Special Issue Coordinator: Tomomi Yamaguchi

May 1, 2021
Volume 19 | Issue 9 | Number 1
Article ID 5591


Mark Ramseyer, the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese law at Harvard, published four articles (two articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and two discussion papers) about the Buraku issue from 2017 to 2020. Responses to them were slower to emerge than the ones to his work on “comfort women”, ianfu, but in the course of the last twelve months a number of historians, anthropologists and sociologists in Japan have produced critiques of his claims about Buraku history showing that they are based on equally flawed scholarship. This special issue comprises five statements originally written in Japanese pointing out his “misunderstandings”, accompanied by a joint statement by a group of two Japanese and two Anglophone social scientists on his research objectives and methodology, and a trenchant comprehensive joint statement produced by five Anglophone scholars who have a broad spectrum of expertise on the history and culture of Buraku communities. This is a rare example, and not only for the Asia-Pacific Journal, to publish a special issue bringing together work by leading Japanese and Anglophone scholars and making it available in Japanese and English. 


  1. Professor Mark Ramseyer and the Buraku Question: an introduction - Ian Neary

  2. Mistaken Assertions: a response to J Mark Ramseyer マーク・ラムザイヤー論文について前近代史の叙述部分に関する問題点 - Teraki Nobuaki and Fujii Toshikazu, translation by Ian Neary

  3. Problems with the References to Historical Documents in J. M. Ramseyer, “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku outcastes in Japan” / M. Ramseyer “On the Invention of Identity Politics : The Buraku Outcastes in Japan”における歴史研究への言及の問題点 - Toriyama Hiroshi, translation by Hirano Yuji, with translation supervised by Komori Megumi

  4. Issues in Ramseyer’s understanding of modern Buraku history and the Suiheisha / M.Ramseyer の近代部落史および水平社理解の問題点 - Asaji Takeshi and Hirooka Kiyonobu, translation by Ian Neary

  5. 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, with translation supervised by Komori Megumi

  6. Letter to the Editors-in-Chief of the Review of Law and Economics: “On the invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan” by J. Mark Ramseyer - Akuzawa Mariko and Saito Naoko

  7. Condemning J. Mark Ramseyer’s Paper “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan” - Fujioka Mieko, Joseph Hankins, Kumamoto Risa and Suraj Yengde

  8. Doing Violence to Buraku History: J. Mark Ramseyer's Dangerous Inventions - Timothy Amos, Maren Ehlers, Anne McKnight, David Ambaras and Ian Neary


This is the Table of Contents for Japan’s Burakumin (Outcastes) Reconsidered: A Special Issue Refuting Ramseyer’s Interpretation, edited by Ian Neary and Naoko Saito.

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.


Ian Neary is an emeritus fellow at the Nissan Institute and St Antony’s College, Oxford University. He has published on the Suiheisha, human rights in East Asia and a text book on Japanese politics. His biography of Matsumoto Jiichirō, The Buraku Issue and Modern Japan, was published in English in 2010 and in Japanese translation in 2016. His book, Dōwa Policy and Japanese Politics, will be published by Routledge in July 2021.

Saito Naoko (齋藤直子) is a Specially Appointed Associate Professor at the Research Center for Human Rights, Osaka City University. She has research interests in Buraku issues and the sociology of the family. She is currently working on the topic of marriage between Buraku and non-Burakumin.Her recent works include Sociology of Marriage Discrimination [結婚差別の社会学] Tokyo: Keisō-shobō (2017).

Tomomi Yamaguchi is an associate professor of Anthropology at Montana State University. She is a cultural anthropologist and studies social movements in Japan, especially regarding feminist and right-wing movements. She is a co-author (with Nogawa Motokazu, Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Emi Koyama) of Umi o Wataru Ianfu Mondai: Uha no Rekishisen o Tou [The “Comfort Woman” Issue Goes Overseas: Questioning the Right-wing “History Wars”], Iwanami Shoten, 2016. She is also an author of “The ‘History Wars’ and the ‘Comfort Woman’ Issue: The Significance of Nippon Kaigi in the Revisionist Movement in Contemporary Japan” in Pyong Gap Min, Thomas Chung and Sejung Sage Yim eds. Japanese Military Sexual Slavery: The transnational redress movement for the victims. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2020.