The Press: Glass House, Dirty Windows

Like many other newspapers abroad, the Japanese press played the news from Arkansas with ill-concealed relish. But Japan's most influential daily, Asahi Shimbun, pointedly reminded its readers that perhaps Japan is in no position to throw rocks at Little Rock.

Asahi devoted 10,000 words to the plight of Japan's 3,000,000 eta (literally: "very dirty") untouchables. The eta class, also known as hinin (not human), includes most of the Japanese nation's leatherworkers, shoemakers, butchers and slaughterhouse workers. Though the etas were formally abolished as a caste in 1871 under the Meiji Restoration and the word itself was removed from dictionaries, the prejudices that...

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