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The entry for WWWJDIC lists 飯場 as a possibly sensitive word (sens). However, the definition is just

construction camp; bunkhouse; workers' living quarters

and it appears in 燃え尽きた地図, a novel from 1967, without any particular prejudice attached (in the description of a construction site). What's going on with this word?

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    Hint: Near-slavery. I do not feel like discussing 飯場 during the holidays. Perhaps you could obtain some information by googling "hanba system". Dec 30 '13 at 7:07
  • I appreciate it. Thanks for your assistance. Dec 31 '13 at 7:50
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From the Wikipedia article on Hitachi Mine (there does not appear to be one for 飯場制度 itself):

日立鉱山の急速な発展は、久原ら鉱山経営陣に鉱山で働く労働者の確保と、急増した鉱山労働者たちに対する統制という大きな課題をもたらすことになった。久原らは鉱夫に対してかなり強引な使役を行い、また日本の鉱山で慣習的に行われてきた飯場制度や、鉱夫間で技能養成や相互扶助などの目的として存在した友子制度を利用して、鉱夫を日本各地から確保し、確保した鉱夫たちを統制していった。

The language is not direct, but it's easy to imagine what went on.

(as an aside, 「友子」 here appears to refer to a system of apprenticeship between miners.)

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  • This answer would be greatly improved by providing an English explanation of the content of the quoted text.
    – Questioner
    Feb 21 '14 at 7:43
  • Is English use/explanation promoted or enforced in the FAQ or any other official document? I was also avoiding discussing the concept directly out of sensitivity. Feb 21 '14 at 22:11
  • "Enforced" is perhaps too strong. It's more just by virtue of the interface and the community, English is the lingua franca for talking about Japanese. Note that the question you are answering is stated in English. It's arguable that if someone had enough Japanese ability to understand the text you cite, they probably wouldn't need this site. Also, there are other users of JLU who are earlier in learning that would benefit. As for sensitivity, it's commendable that you are concerned, but I think we're all adults here and can deal with difficult topics objectively.
    – Questioner
    Feb 22 '14 at 6:21

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