日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

Message From General Secretary Discrimination Awareness Raised by Overseas Support of the Buraku Liberation Center


Ever since the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, the Kyodan has been supported by so many churches around the world, and I really feel that this support has helped open the eyes of our rather inward-looking church to the prayers of people all over the world.


One aspect of this that I would like to highlight is the support the Buraku Liberation Center (BLC) received from an organization with which we had had no connection. Working through the auspices of EMS in Germany, the Waldensians (“Waldenser” in German) of northern Italy contributed a large sum of money for the work of eliminating Buraku discrimination in Japan, which was used to set up special programs for the period of October 2013 through September 2014. The BLC has referred to this as the “WE Project” (for Waldenser and EMS(Evangelical Mission in Solidarity)) and thus set in motion several projects that, due to financial restraints, it had not been able to undertake during its 33 years of ministry since being established in 1981.


These projects included the publishing of a collection of sermons born out of the Buraku Liberation Movement entitled “Let There Be Light to Humanity: Messages Towards Buraku Liberation;” the holding of lectures featuring Ishikawa Kazuo and his wife; and the showing of a new documentary entitled “SAYAMA: Until the Invisible Handcuffs Are Removed,” which documents the scapegoating of Ishikawa some 51 years ago when he was falsely accused and convicted of a murder he was clearly innocent of and for which he has still not been cleared.


The BLC was also able to hold a major conference of activists in the Buraku Liberation Movement in Aizu Wakamatsu (Fukushima Prefecture) that was attended by 230 people from around the country. They also were able to send BLC Management Committee Chairperson Higashitani Makoto and two others to Germany to learn about the plight of the Sinti-Roma people and the discrimination they face. The Waldensians itself has a long history of being discriminated against, and the reaching out in solidarity like this with not only its prayers but also its very generous financial support has been a great encouragement to us. This has been a great opportunity to learn about discrimination issues around the world and will certainly be a catalyst to spur on our own efforts to work in solidarity with others around the world to reach out to those who suffer from the curse of discrimination.


The Waldensians is a lay religious movement that the Roman Catholic Church labeled as a heresy and persecuted. In 1176, Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant in Lyon, France began this movement of voluntary poverty in southern France, where he sent out people two by two (Matthew 10) to call the clergy to repentance for their excesses. Needless to say, they incurred the wrath of the Roman Catholic Church and the bishop of Lyon forbade any lay person to preach. Waldo protested to the Lateran Council but, eventually, was excommunicated by Pope Lucius III in 1184. Despite persecution, this movement has left its mark in various places around Europe and has maintained its focus on living together with the poor. Although it was viewed as a heretical sect, in 1858 in Italy, it was granted religious freedom on par with the Roman Catholic Church and has continued to exist to the present.


Last November, the BLC sent a report on these activities, in English, to both the EMS and to the Waldensians, expressing its deep appreciation. Through this, the Kyodan as a whole is now being encouraged to reach out in solidarity to all who suffer from discrimination around the world, from the Buraku and Ainu people in our own country to the Sinti-Roma of Europe, the Dalit of India, and the blacks in the U.S. (Tr. TB)


—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary




なかでも、2013年度教団部落解放センターは、これまで教派的にも関係のなかった北イタリアのワルドー派からEMSを通じ て部落差別撤廃活動のための多額の献金を受け、2013年10月より14年9月の一年にわたる特別企画を実施した。センターはこのことをWE企画(Waldenser とEMSによる 特別企画)と呼称し、1981年センター開所以来33年の歩みの中で、これまでセンターが経済的に出来なかったいくつかの企画を具体化した。

それらは、解放運動の中から産み出された説教集「人間に光りあれー緑区 解放へのメッセージ」の出版、「狭山事件」即ち部落差別によるえん罪事件の犯罪人とされている石川一雄さんの不当逮捕51年の無罪勝ち取りのためのドキュメンタリー映画「SAYAMA―見えない手錠をはずすまでー」の各地における上映会と 石川夫妻講演会の開催、全国から230名も集めての大集会「部落解放全国活動者会議in会津」の開催となり、東谷誠運営委員長等3名のドイツ研修を通して「シンティ・ロマ」の現地研修等、世界にある被 差別問題に目が開かれると共に、日本国内のみならず世界の被差別問題をも学ぶ機会が与えられた。今回、このような企画を提供した長い迫害 の歴史を負ってきたWaldenser自体がセンターの働きに注目して連帯の思いを熱くし、 しかも祈りと共に実際の献金をもって励まされたことは、教団自体が世界にある多くの被差別の人々の持つ厳しい苦しみの現実にも目を向け、 強い連帯的行動が要請されていることに気付かされたことである。

ワルドー派は民衆宗教運動団体であり、それをローマ教会が異端として激 しく迫害したことに端を発した団体。1176年、リヨンの豪商ワルドー(Waldo,Peter)が使徒的貧民の生活を送ると共に有志の団体を結成、南仏等へ2名ずつ派遣し(マタイ10章)、 先ず聖職者らに悔い改めを語り始めた所からの出発点を持った。しかし、彼等はいち早いカトリック教会の反撥を受け、リヨン大司教は信徒の 説教の中止を申し渡した。これに対して、Waldo自身ラテラノ会議に抗議、上告したが、遂に教皇ルキウ ス3世に破門され(1184年)、迫害を受けた。その後グループはヨーロッパ各地に影響を残し、根本は貧者と共にあることを貫きつつも、ついには ローマから異端とされたが、1848年以降同派はカトリック同様の市民権を与えられて今日 に至っている。


2014年11月末、センターは、英訳も含めた特別事業報告書をEMSならびにワルドー派に送付して謝辞を言い現した。今後 は、わたしたち教団も国内の部落やアイヌ差別問題に留まらず、ヨーロッパのシンティ・ロマ、インドのダリッド、米国の黒人問題等世界各地 にある被差別の人々の苦しみとも更に連帯することを求められるかもしれない。長崎哲夫総幹事

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