Burakumin - Marriage and Family

Marriage and Domestic Life. Burakumin marriage practice and family life are similar to those of the mainstream Japanese, except for certain minor differences reported in ethnographic literature. Marriage and sexual relationships in buraku tend to be more informal and unstable. Extramarital relationships are not uncommon, and, because of the frequency of unstable marriage alliances, they are socially accepted in many cases. An unmarried household head is very common, and many households consist of a single parent and (often illegitimate) children. Economic situations and the mobility of spouses influence postmarital residence; it may take many forms that mainstream society considers irregular. Because of discrimination and long-lasting segregation, endogamy within buraku has been dominant, but the younger generations increasingly are opting for intermarrige with non-Burakumin.

Inheritance. Observers have reported that Burakumin inheritance practice is more informal than that of the mainstream Japanese, presumably because of the flexible and often unstable Burakumin family structure. Ultimogeniture, which is very rare among the mainstream Japanese, is not uncommon among Burakumin.

Socialization. Reflecting the informality of buraku life, socialization of Burakumin children is generally less strict than that of mainstream Japanese. Economic hardship and unstable family structure force many Burakumin parents to leave their children for long hours with their relatives, with neighbors, or sometimes at home without adult supervision. Some children were raised in family craft shops beside the working parents. The educational standard is generally lower among Burakumin than among mainstream Japanese. Analysts believe that economic difficulties, discrimination, and a lack of motivation and role models are the main causes of this problem.

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