The Creation of
the Edo Outcaste Order
Tokugawa period (1603-1868) severe sanctions against those usually known
as kawata (derogatorily labeled eta by others)
and those labeled hinin (literally “nonhuman”) were codified
in law and backed by state force.
This article, focusing on the city of Edo, traces the political and
social processes that led to the creation of an outcaste order in
Japan. It argues that even
though ideologies of “pollution” and “impurity” may have played a role in
determining who was targeted for discrimination, the production of a
system of prejudice and intolerance was chiefly the result of deliberate
political and economic policies of the ruling class.
Volume 27, Number 2 (Summer
© 2001 Society for Japanese Studies