A term for Japanese untouchables
. It literal
s "village people
" The burakumin are said to number around 3 million people
(in a Japanese population
of about 126 million).
The burakumin are sometimes called Japan’s “invisible race” due to the fact that there are no physical characteristics that distinguish them from other Japanese. However, there have been and continue to exist arguments that the burakumin are racially distinct from the majority of the Japanese people. The burakumin have also been referred to as the "eta-hinin", a term that is still in use today. The word "eta" can be translated as “much or very polluted/unclean,” and the word "hinin" simply means “not a person.” Burakamin have been determined to have no identity and no status as people (one of many derogatory terms used for burakumin is "yotsu", a four-legged animal).
These are people descended from ancestors who were once leather workers, grave keepers, people who cleaned the toilets, and horse handlers. During the Edo Era (1603–1867) specific discriminatory policies arose toward the burakumin. Despite various reforms, the revelation of one's background as burakamin is utterly ruinous.