The Bank of Yanagihara was the only bank founded by people in "Buraku"*1.
Leaders in Yanagihara-cho*2 (one of Buraku areas) gathered their private money together, and consolidated the capital with which they started business of the bank. They got the permission of bank business from the government and opened the Bank of Yanagihara in 1899.

The Bank of Yanagihara made great contribution to improve education and local industry of Yanagihara-cho community. Actions of this Bank was for Buraku community, and against Buraku Discrimination. Buraku Discrimination kept Buraku industry from getting a loan from banks in other areas. Buraku people were too poor for their children to get a enough education. They had wanted loan and bank for their industry ,education and community.
The bank changed its name to "the Bank of Yamashiro" in 1920 and expanded its business area. However, it was no longer for the community. In 1927 the Bank of Ymashiro closed due to the money crisis and global depression. The building of the bank was used as a shop or rent-house till 1994.

The Bank of Yanagihara

The Bank of Yanagihara
Memorial Museum
In order to widen Kawaramachi Street, Kyoto City bought the building in 1986 and planned to remove it.
This plan started the preservation movement of "the Bank of Yanagihara" building. Itwas the symbol of "Our Town-Planning". People of this town held "symposium to preserve the Bank building", and studied conserving culture and history of own town, and published a book of "The Bank of Yanagihara and its time".

Kyoto City investigated the building in 1989 and found its cultural value as wooden building for a bank in Meiji era(1868-1912). The building was registered in the list of the cultural properties of Kyoto City in 1995.

People of this community had a strong intention to preserve the building and Kyoto City decided to preserve the building. The City re-opened this building as "The Bank of Yanagihara Memorial Museum" (Kyoto City Sujin-rinpokan Library of Historical Documents) on Nov. 28 1997.

The Museum presents history and culture of "Buraku", and draws attention to the "Buraku" Problem and thier Human Rights Protection.

*1 Buraku is a Japanese word referring to village or hamlet. The word began to acquire a new connotation after the administration in Meiji era (1868 - 1912) started to use "Tokushu Buraku" (special hamlet) in reference to former outcaste communities. The intention was to negatively distinguish former outcaste communities from other areas.
At present the word "Buraku" is usually referred to as communities where discriminated-against Buraku people reside. On the other hand, the term "Tokushu Buraku" has been figuratively used from time to time in distinguishing a different society from a so-called ordinary society as well a sin describing Buraku areas, resulting in fostering discrimination against Buraku people.

*2 One of Leaders in Yanagihara-cho was Tamizo Akashi. He worked as mayor of Yanagihara-cho and made much effort against Buraku Discrimination and the poverty of Buraku communities in Meiji era.

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