The Journal of Japanese Studies



The Creation of the Edo Outcaste Order

During the 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)
© 2001 Society for Japanese Studies


Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
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