JAPAN: Tradition Shattered

Should U. S. President Calvin Coolidge invite three thugmen to dine with him, the event would be scarcely more shocking than a recent dinner in Tokyo at which the Premier of Japan sat down to eat with three of the "Defiled Ones," members of the despised class called Eta.

Says a Japanese proverb: Bow once to an Eta and you must not lift your head for seven centuries. This unfortunate class, numbering today more than 3,000,000 Japanese (1% of the population), is traditionally made up of the descendants of prisoners taken in battles...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!