'I wanted to escape this life by hiding who I was,' says an 'untouchable' in Japan: Invisible Asia Ep 7

  • 19 May 2021

Invisible Asia Ep 7: 'I wanted to escape this life by hiding who I was,' says an 'untouchable' in Japan 14:17 min Synopsis: The Invisible Asia Podcast is a special edition series in which The Straits Times casts the spotlight on people and communities living in the shadows of their societies where they exist largely unseen and unheard of. Do follow all nine episodes of Invisible Asia over the next two months on The Straits Times podcast channel on Apple podcasts, Spotify or Google podcasts. The Straits Times' Japan correspondent Walter Sim speaks with Japan's "untouchables", known as the burakumin. They are descendants of a shunned caste from a long-gone era, who are still ostracised in modern times purely because of their lineage. Our series' narrator is Tan Jia Ning. Official estimates number the burakumin at 900,000, but activists says there are as many as 3 million across the country who have moved out of the hamlets their ancestors once lived in. Risa Kumamoto - emerging from discrimination against burakumin to become a respected academic (0:30) History of Japan's burakumin (2:00) Emotionally scarred while growing up as a burakumin (3:59) Taro Murasaki: From monkey trainer to monkey theme park owner (7:46) The late Japanese politician blocked from becoming Japan's Prime Minister in 2001, chiefly because of his ancestry (9:58) How burakumin such as abattoir worker Yuki Miyazaki still live in fear of their ancestry being exposed in public (10:23) Read the full story by Walter Sim: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/i-wanted-to-escape-this-life-by-hiding-who-i-was Produced by: Magdalene Fung, Tan Jia Ning, Toh Wen Li, Yeo Sam Jo, Ernest Luis & Adam Azlee Edited by: Adam Azlee Discover Invisible Asia Podcast playlist: https://omny.fm/shows/st-bt/playlists/invisible-asia Discover Invisible Asia Video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnK3VE4BKduNKeEL19yhXFVHxGB8X315b Discover ST & BT podcasts: Channel: https://str.sg/JWVR Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2PwZCYU Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2Lu4rPP Google podcasts: http://str.sg/googlestbt Websites: http://str.sg/stbtpodcasts https://bt.sg/moneyhacks Feedback to: podcast@sph.com.sg  --- Discover more ST podcast series: Asian Insider Podcast: https://str.sg/JWa7 Green Pulse Podcast: https://str.sg/JWaf Health Check Podcast: https://str.sg/JWaN ST Sports Talk Podcast: https://str.sg/JWRE Life Weekend Picks Podcast: https://str.sg/JWa2 #PopVultures Podcast: https://str.sg/JWad Bookmark This! Podcast: https://str.sg/JWas Lunch With Sumiko Podcast: https://str.sg/J6hQ Discover BT Podcasts:  http://bt.sg/podcasts Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.