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Re: Words

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Friday, September 8, 2000, 1:13
From: "John Cowan"

> Such, indeed, is the term "gaijin": there are Japanese and there are
> period.
I beg to differ. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things this is true, but no one would point at a Chinese, even if it were obvious he was non-Japanese, and scream "gaijin!".
> Which is not to say that there is no discrimination *within* > Japanese society: there is one group, though outwardly indistinguishable > (its members can "pass" if they are careful) who are treated as
> (or 47th-class) socially.
The "burakumin". Ethnically Japanese, but an inferior caste of occupations like tanners and butchers. It's a verboten topic in Japan, but I've heard it's tough to "pass" during the background checks required to broker a marriage. Koreans were _low_ man on the totem pole. When I was there, even 2nd generation Japan-born ethnic Koreans had to be fingerprinted, just like the rest of us "gaijin". I don't know if that's still around. There was a great deal of outcry; foreigners didn't appreciate being made to feel like criminals and Korean Japanese were none too thrilled either. Perhaps this has now changed. Kou