The return to Osaka in 2004 combined a powerful mix of interviews, reunions, and meetings that led to further exploration of areas that until that time had not demanded as high a priority in terms of the overall research on the education of Burakumin. But times were changing and I could hear it in the conversations with colleagues and activists who now included Koreans in their discussions on human rights far more than in the past. The discourse had altered from one of residential proximity and limited social intercourse between Burakumin and Zainichi, to the importance of understanding the historical challenges that Koreans have faced in Japan.1 Was this just a nod to the governmental policies that had shut down the Dowa projects that focused solely on Burakumin? Was this a form of overcompensating for the excessive attention paid to Burakumin? Was it an issue of following the resources and money? Was it a safe haven from the embittered political battles that have torn the BLL and their allies into various ideological camps? Was it job security for those who have spent their entire lives dedicated to social justice issues? This is the next group, this is where the funding is going, so off we go. Or had Zainichi demands finally attracted the attention of the powerful and bent the ears of those who could realign the priorities of the human rights movement? And how much was this dependent on the ascendancy of South Korea, the threat of North Korea, and the need for Japan to begin to assume a more mature and honest role in relationship to its nonJapanese residents?2 Whatever the reason, my visit this time was different with meetings and discussions, as well as two Kenkyukai (research study group meeting), focused largely on Koreans in Japan. As intimated in prior interviews in the previous years, the dominant discourse had clearly shifted away from the Burakumin. While this is not the time or place to provide a full-fledged analysis of the educational impediments and/or opportunities of Zainichi youth, that is for the next book, it is worth commenting on those aspects which interface with research on Burakumin. It should never be assumed that the Burakumin live in a world of their own. Zainichi, in particular, are ever present in neighboring com-

munities, engaged in similar types of work, attending some of the same schools, and experiencing similar, though distinctive, forms of discrimination.3 This year, reunited with my trusty colleague and friend, Maruyama, and I return to Ikuno-ku, Osaka, known by all as Koreatown. It is an impressive sight with stalls filled with twenty different types of bright red kimchi next to shops overflowing with barrels of herbs of every color imaginable. Glancing up one can see further down the passageway storefronts dazzling with the brilliance of Chima Jeogori, Korean traditional dresses. The wearing of these brightly colored and distinctively designed clothes as school uniforms has caused quite a stir within communities that house Chosen schools. In the wake of Japan’s dispute with North Korea over the kidnapping of hostages and the testing of missiles, Korean children in Japan have been mindlessly harassed simply because of the garments they wear. So fierce were some of these attacks that students felt compelled to wait to change into their uniforms until at school as walking the streets wearing the garments proved physically unsafe.4 Standing in the covered market area, women swish around me swilling off the cement blocks on which the produce and meat has been cut for display and sweeping up the bits of paper. I am vividly aware of how incredibly clean everything is, more clean than many other parts of the city that are inhabited by Japanese nationals. I can’t help but wonder how the stories remain about both the Burakumin and the Koreans as being unclean. Perhaps it is because most Japanese do not come into these areas of the city, or if they do, they do not see it as their responsibility to correct outdated images. And is it in part because of these preconceptions that Koreans seem to make an extraordinary effort to be spic and span? I am again reminded of my working-class roots in Britain where white lace curtains, starched doilies, and polished front stone steps are used as markers of morality and goodness. Is there something in human nature that provokes people who are viewed as less than equal to try to outdo those who are presumed, or presume themselves, to be superior?5