Translation of 水平社宣言 (Proclamation from the Buraku Liberation League) from 1933

This is an amateur (practice) translation of 水平社宣言 (Proclamation from the Buraku Liberation League), a statement issued by the 全国水平社 (National Buraku Liberation League) in the year 1933. It calls for solidarity and pride among the Burakumin, an ethnic subpopulation descended from a low-status pre-Meiji caste which was (and remains) the subject of discrimination and prejudice in Japan.

The source text is from Wikisource.

Proclamation from the Buraku Liberation League (A Proclamation Drafted by the National Buraku Liberation League)

National Buraku Liberation League

Year 1922


The special class of Burakumin resolve to attain total liberation by our own hand

We, the special class of Burakumin, resolve to grasp economic and professional freedom via our demands to society at large

We must press forward, so that we awaken to our essential human natures and attain the highest degree of fulfillment available to the human race


We call upon our people, the special class of Burakumin, who have been scattered throughout the nation, to band together in solidarity.

Brothers who have suffered great indignations for a long time, the fact that the many efforts over the past half-century undertaken for our sake have not given rise to any meaningful results is wholly attributable to ourselves, and is divine punishment for the blasphemy that we have daily heaped upon others. Upon consideration of the fact that similar movements, seeking to urge people to act, have, contrary to intentions, led many of our brothers astray, we ought to this time form a movement which aims to respect humanity as a whole, rather than simply those among our brethren, and in doing so naturally achieve our own liberation.

Brothers, our ancestors were men of action who dearly sought freedom and equality. They were sacrificed underneath crude, class-based policies, and martyrs of the working class. They were stripped alive of their skins, as one would skin a beast; their warm hearts were torn from their human bodies, as though tearing open the chest of a wild animal; but even in the midst of a horrid nightmare, in which contempt was spat upon them like evil curses, and the prideful blood of humans flowed unceasingly through their veins. That’s right; and now, we are in an era where humans, who have inherited this blood, seek to become gods themselves. The time has come for those sacrificed men and women to return the brand which was pressed upon their skin. The time has come for our martyrs to be celebrated with this crown of thrones.

The time has come for us to be proud of being eta.1

We must absolutely not disgrace our ancestors and blaspheme against mankind through cowardly words or actions. And we, who know well the depths of humanity’s coldness and the depths of mankind’s despair, must seek out and rever the warmth and brilliance of mankind from the bottom of our hearts.

The Buraku Liberation League (Suiheisha) is thereby born.

May the world of man be filled with warmth, and may mankind itself shine brilliantly.

21st year, 3rd month of the Taisho Era

National Buraku Liberation League

1 “During the feudal era, the outcastes were termed eta (穢多, lit. ’an abundance of defilement’ or ‘an abundance of filth’), a term now considered derogatory. Eta towns were termed etamura (穢多村).” (From Wikipedia)

May 14th, 2023 | Posted in Japanese

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