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PRESENTATION SCRIPT Global Themes in Local Context: A Case Study of a Japanese Human Rights Museum



he past two decades have witnessed a global turn in the social and political identity of Japan’s Buraku caste-based minority group. While postwar Buraku rights organizations originally displayed a tendency to interrogate Buraku issues insularly, they have increasingly begun to situate the Buraku struggle within a worldwide human rights perspective, which has affected not only Buraku engagement with global organizations such as the UN but also the manner in which equality issues are framed at the local level. This presentation examines the Suiheisha History Museum in Kashihara, Nara, Japan as a case study of this phenomenon. The museum has effectively extended its boundaries throughout the local community by dubbing Kashihara “The Homeland of Human Rights” and creating a fieldwork map for visitors. Through field visits to the museum and qualitative content analysis of its brochures and handouts, I have collected evidence of this new global reframing of Buraku identity and political consciousness in the museum’s self-promotion. This presentation will focus on how the museum has both rooted itself firmly in Kashihara’s history but also asserted itself as a global center of reference for human rights movements. Please also see the presentation in its entirety at


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