Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

Women of Japan 日本の女性

The Models’ Words モデルの言葉

TSUNAOKA Sadako

綱岡貞子(フォンボが記述) TSUNAOKA Sadako (written by HWANGBO Kangja)

She was born and raised in Kobe and still lives there. Born in 1947, she has been left behind by Japan’s rapidly growing economy and forced to lead a life of poverty. She left school at the age of 13 in order to work hard to help with her family’s livelihood. She continues to work at her sewing machine, making shoes. She started attending part-time high school and first came in contact with the Buraku Liberation Movement. She looks back on those days: “The time when I was working during the day and going to school at night was the time I enjoyed the most.” She and others talked about their lives in their declarations of being “Burakumin,” “Korean,” or “Chinese.” She was unable to complete her high school education when she got married, but she has continued to be involved in the liberation movement. Saying “I wasn’t in any position to talk about discrimination against women,” she lives by doing to the utmost what she can on her part without hurling her dissatisfactions at others. She states her wishes as: “There are always people in weak positions. I want to always be involved with them.”

translation by Beth Cary

彼女は神戸で生まれ育ち、現在も生活している。1947年生まれの彼女は、日本の高度経済成長から取り残され、貧しい生活を強いられていた。13歳から学校にもいかず、家計を助けるため、必死で働いた。ミシンを踏んで、靴をつくる仕事は現在も続いている。定時制高校に通い始め、部落解放運動に初めて出会った彼女は、「昼働いて、夜学校に行っていた時期が一番楽しかった」と当時を振り返る。「部落民宣言」「朝鮮人宣言」「中国人宣言」があって、生い立ちを語り合ったという。結婚によって、高校卒業は実現できなかったが、解放運動は現在も休みなく続けている。「女性差別なんか言ってられなかった」という彼女は、誰に不満をぶつけることもなく自分のやれることを精一杯やって生きている。「いつも、弱い立場の人がつくられる。そんな人たちとずっと関わっていきたい」というのが彼女の願いである。