Condemning J. Mark Ramseyer’s Paper

Minderheiten in Japan: Ainu, Buraku, Ryukyu people, Koreans
Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 19 | Issue 9 | Number 8 | Article ID 5599 | May 01, 2021
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

Condemning J. Mark Ramseyer’s Paper “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan”
Mark Ramseyerの論文 “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan”に対する非難声明

Mieko Fujioka, Joseph Hankins, Risa Kumamoto, Suraj Yengde

We, the signatories to this statement, condemn the publication of J. Mark Ramseyer’s paper “On the Invention of Identity Politics: The Buraku Outcastes in Japan,” Review of Law and Economics (RLE) 16; 2 2020. The article does not meet scholarly standards; furthermore, the foundational argument is based on a logical fallacy, blaming Burakumin for the social conditions that underlie their oppression. This is a thin, recognizably reactionary move that has no place in scholarly journals.

We also draw readers’ attention to the fact that Ramseyer’s work on the Japanese military sexual slavery or “comfort women,” titled “Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War” published in December 2020 in The International Review of Law and Economics, has also been widely criticized for a similar failure to meet the basic scholarly standards. An increasing number of scholars from wideranging disciplines such as law, economics and history, have expressed their criticism (many of the letters and statements of criticism can be found at Resources on "Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War" in the International Review of Law and Economics.

In the article, Ramseyer argues that Buraku leaders “invented a fictive ethnic identify as a leather workers’ guild” (3) as a group facing discrimination, and began to extort money from the government for themselves. Ramseyer further contends that Burakumin are the objects of discrimination because of their involvement in criminal activities and their dysfunctional family structure. The author argues that Buraku groups then have created a criminal “career path” for young Buraku men staying in the Buraku community.

As researchers who have been involved with the minority movements and struggles of the marginalized, we express our concern that the author’s argument is an unwarranted attack that damages the minority movements and oppressed communities by justifying continuing discrimination against them. Although we have many concerns regarding the author’s claims on the history of Buraku, we leave the task of analyzing them to historians. In this statement, we focus our critique on the following three issues.

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