Abstract


A Comparative Study: The Peasants in the Novel, Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde and the Burakumin in Japanese Literature
Edward Fowler is a researcher who studies the descriptions of burakumin outside the caste system in Feudal Japan in Japanese Literature. According to Fowler’s research, the authors who are unfamiliar with the lives of the burakumins think that burakumin look, think and live differently from mainstream Japanese. According to foreigners, burakumin live under very bad conditions. The burakumin are always the losers. Lastly, authors outside the burakumin class describe in their fictions burakumin that people discriminate against burakumin. These four main arguments are supported in Orhan Kemal's novel Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde (could be translated into English as On the Fertile Lands). According to the novel, although there was no caste system in 1950 Turkey, the distinction between urban and peasantry was very clear. The peasants who migrated to the city to earn money and have better living standards are subjected to severe discrimination by the city dwellers. The main reasons for this discrimination can be said to be that the villagers see the city dwellers as superior beings, and the city dwellers see the villagers as far inferior to themselves. This study analyses the problems experienced in the city of three friends who migrated from their villages to Adana in order to earn money and have better living standards in Orhan Kemal's famous novel Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde. In addition, these analyses are compared with the depiction in Japanese literature of people in the burakumin class, who were outside the caste system in feudal Japan and were in the lowest class of Japanese society. These comparisons are based on Edward Fowler's arguments for the depiction of burakumin in Japanese Literature. In the novel, Orhan Kemal unilaterally portrayed peasants in the city negatively, just as in Fowler's arguments, although Orhan Kemal was a stranger to village life and the villagers. As a result, although there are very different societies, it is seen that burakumin in Japanese literature and peasants in the city in Orhan Kemal’s novel are depicted negatively and the burakumin in feudal Japan and the peasants who migrated to the city in 1950 Turkey had similar experiences.

Keywords
Comparative literature, Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde, peasants, burakumin, discrimination