We do not need Google Street View in Japan. It make so many problems in Japan !
This atical is not witten by Mr.Manabu and Buraku-min people
Japan: Street View and the Burakumin
The Internet, many would argue, has created the possibility for anyone to express their opinions
freely without having to belong to a category of people with the “legitimacy to speak”
(i.e. journalists, scholars, etc.). Recently, however, some have worried about an increase
in the number of racist and denigrative comments against minorities spreading across the web.
In Japan, for example, the advent of Google's new Street View service [GSV], aside fromarousing
indignation among someand sparkingdebates over privacy issuesamong others, has also led some
bloggers to discuss the relationship between areas photographed in GSV and the so-calledhisabetsu
buraku(被差別部落). Thehisabetsu burakuare discriminated hamlets inhabited by people who,
for many centuries and over many generations, have carried the burden of doing the “tainted jobs”
(butchers, executioners etc.). Theseburakumin(部落民) [hamlet people] resemble theDalits[the
untouchables], the lowest caste in the south-east Asian Hindu system, both formally abolished
under modern constitutional systems but continuing their existence through prejudice in
the minds of many people.
The first to raise questions regarding the topic of Google Street View and discrimination was
Manabu Kitaguchi [北口学] atJournalist-Net, a journalist, expert in human rights and president
of theJapan Journalists Association for Human Rights(日本人権ジャーナリスト会):
In the U.S., debates about privacy and human rights sprang up after the launch of Google's
new service, Street View, and in Europe many human rights NGOs opposed its launch.
However, in Japan, where there is no debate between citizens and media, the service was launched
and it had a big impact on the Japanese problem of discrimination. In particular, following the launch
[of the service], there was an increase in the number of people leaving anonymous messages on
online bulletin boards instigating discrimination and threads with titles of “high-tech area names
list” [in reference to the infamous “List of Buraku Area Names”, seeWikipedia articlefor details],
together with identification of the discriminated areas [through the use of Google's images]
With the launch of this easy-to-use service in a country with endemic discrimination issues,
Google has started a service that is giving rise to major problems. The company should,
I think, initiate a dialogue with Japanese human rights groups and hold public hearings.
I cannot help feeling that the “righteous” attitude here is to face the people who have been
hurt and make efforts to listen to those parties that have fallen victim to the influence of
Another blogger, Nobuo Sakiyama [崎山伸夫], became interested in the issue and expressed
his opinion about Mr. Kitaguchi's entry athis blog:
On this issue of the areas not covered [in Street View], which continues to draw attention,
I did a bit of investigating on the blanked-out zones [in GSV] and their connection with
burakumin areas, a topic about which I have no familiarity — at first I only knew of one such
place. It turns out that those uncovered areas correspond to places well-known for the presence
However, the borderline between the blanked-out zones and the areas that are not blanked out
is very subtle and, of course, no data about this matter has ever been released.
So I decided to ask the opinion of a well-known researcher on the topic of discriminated
(I prefer not to reveal his name at the moment) to get their thoughts on this issue. I wrote
[this researcher] an email, stating my personal opinion (regarding the relationship between
View and discrimination against some specific communities) that, “Although tackling issues
concerning the buraku discrimination problem is not my main interest, I do not however think
that it is appropriate for the location of those discriminated communities to become known
.” As the matter has now been taken up by the scholar I contacted, as well as the journalist
Mr. Kitaguchi, I am now considering withdrawing from this debate.
No Name Ninja