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Nitenman

Burakumin isnt a feodal asian term

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I believe it's the issue here indeed.

I dont know, it's like let's make a game set in pre-civil war America, but black people taken from Africa will become indentured workers.

Burakumin means Hamlet People, a discreet reference to the fact that they were segregated. Eta means more or less Filth, clearly more indicative of the prejudice that society imposed on them.

A crazy theory applicable to Rokugan: Eta are the descendents of those humans who refused to follow the Hantei or opposed the Kami at the Dawn of the Empire, and got formally ostracized during the reign of the so-called Shining Prince Hantei Genji.

Edited by Nitenman

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I don't mind the change - just as I don't mind changing the Banzai chant. 

Its not important that the wording be historically accurate, since the game isn't supposed to be a historical reality-fiction.  Its supposed to be a historical fantasy-fiction.

I think the caste system is important as Samurai don't really exist without it - but in the game it is given credence through actual divine mandate.  If the word Eta is actually considered derogatory in Japan (we have some derogatory epithets here in the states from the days of our caste system) then it might be a smart thing to change it.

Edited by shosuko

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for some historical information on the above subject please read the following link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burakumin 

As to integrating this into the setting, I will state that it should be kept. The Caste System in Japan (and china for that matter) was set up at the time having a basis in Theology and political practicality and it would be somewhat insulting to have the setting without it mentioned or addressed. Caste systems by definition are horribly unfair, sometimes brutal ,and unstable over the long term, but it's What the Empire knows. To handle this in setting, I actually do not recommend being delicate about it. Show a samurai occasionally abusing a Merchant with thier position of power. Show a Henin abusing one of the Henin because they can. And have the Eta be treated as less than dirt. Ignoring this ingores one of the main reasons  the Samurai always kept and eye on the Peasants. No one wants a Peasant Ikki popping up in their territory. Indirectly, it also shows the difference between the Monks and the Samurai, as the former is egalitarian, and the Later is most certainly not. It might lead to story ideas

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Well its no real big deal anyway. If they change it to be just politically correct fair enough. Doesn't change the fact of the oppression this caste undergoes. But in that case they need to decide on one final term, because they still use the term Eta in some places.

strangely enough there are never really been mentions of a monk or peasant ikki in L5R beyond a setting proposed in the Imperial Histories book (The Great Famine)

Edited by Nitenman

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2 hours ago, Nitenman said:

The thing is even Burakumin is sort of derogatory as it hides with hypocrisy the discrimination.

So does the term African-American, as it still otherizes them as not-normal Americans.  The fact that the term is considered "pc" is actually subject to debate.

At a point you just have to take the best word you can use right now, and just use it.  Its not like it matters too much provided they do it now - prerelease - so that the change doesn't have to come later. 

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Indeed, it's just a matter of consistency in the book. They refer to Eta page 7 as a slur, ok, maybe then they should remove it, but then use Burakumin or Hinin intermitently.

It's totally right if they dont want to use Eta not to offend anyone, but then maybe they could simply stick to Hinin, which was an historical and cultural reality.

 

Edited by Nitenman

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Yes, but  eta (穢多, literally, "an abundance of defilement" or "an abundance of filth") is a term used to describe the lowest of the low in the setting, short of something from the Shadowlands, in which if you want to go from the historical perspective, an Eta is worth 1/7th a regular Rokugani life and can be struck down with little issue. Also there are historical documents that indicate they were treated as poorly as the game suggests (separate neighborhoods called 'etamuras' and general abuse by those above, etc), to kinda emphasize the dark side of the caste system, I'd say keep it.

The Caste System goes a bit like this:

The Emperor : Honor The Emperor of Rokugan
The Shogun (In periods when he/she is present): Political Leader When the Emperor is Weak or cannot be bothered
The Daimyo and Associated Family: The Kuge Nobility
The Buke Samurai: The various lords and such
The Gi-Samurai:Low-Ranked but still samurai and most definitely NOT Peasants. May have to work like a peasant but they aren't going to admit that


Ronin: Dirty Sellsword masterless samurai. Always causing problems for the nobility.


Peasants (Farmers & Fishermen): 90% of the population. The productive class and are to be praised as such. Not that the Samurai would want to do any of the work they do, but they should be praised for working hard. And squeezed for the fruits of thier labors
Artisans/Craftsmen: While they are comparative layabouts, they do produce lovely things in the name of culture, so we don't have as much a problem with them as with:
Merchants/Salespeople: Nothing but greedy scum who such the life out of the peasantry and the nobility. Why The Emperor tolerates you I  have no idea....


Outcasts: Hinin *bump* Sorry my... *TWACK* Samurai: Oh gross, he got blood on my sword. I need to get this filth off of me as soon a as possible and have a purification done. Dirty Creatures


Eta: As above: but a more visceral reaction, like closing of the  Etamura and setting it on fire to purge the unclean. 

 

Harsh, but Samurai culture is pretty harsh. To each other. More so to those below
 

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I'm on the same train of thought. And I will keep using Eta in my games whatever they end up using, because I believe using an hypocrite word that was put in place in Japan to sort of reduce the truth of the prejudice is even more derogatory .

And I still stand on my theory that Eta are the outcast descendents of those who opposed the Kami. Lets not forget we are dealing with an unjust, xenophobic autocratic society. I love Rokugan, but I've never looked at it with rose tinted glasses.

Here's what I actually think of Rokugan's political and social system.

 

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This was something that struck me when I first read it, too, as hisabetsu burakumin is a more contemporary term . But I'm sure if you went and found the main dates of usage for every term used in L5R, it's not unlikely you would find that there are a hodgepodge of vocabulary from different periods being used together. But L5R draws inspiration from numerous different periods of Japanese history anyway, so this is to be expected. At any rate, given the derogatory nature of the word "eta," I can see why FFG sought to remove it as a standard term in L5R.

Given that burakumin is a term in use today with a very particular meaning, and the still controversial nature of government programs and initiatives designed to aid burakumin and their descendants (tl;dr some people are upset that such programs exist at all,)  for various reasons I don't think FFG would keep the term if they tried to release the L5R RPG in Japan anyway.

The only other option FFG could employ I think is to use a novel English term to refer to this caste and present no "Rokugani" term for it at all.

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