Japan as a Victim of Comparative Law
Giorgio Fabio Colombo, Japan as a Victim of Comparative Law, 22 Mich. St. Int'l L. Rev. 731 (2013).
24 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017
Date Written: February 13, 2017
"Japan has a very peculiar place in the framework of comparative law in general. It is often praised as a case of successful ground for legal transplants, as it was able to adopt and adapt Western (whatever that means) legal models in a Confucian (again, whatever that means) country. On the other hand, its depiction is more than occasionally stereotypical, based on old and surpassed scholarship which over-emphasizes Japanese “cultural uniqueness.” The general picture of Japan in comparative law scholarship has been defined as “schizophrenic.” Of course there are many reasons behind this situation, and in this paper I will try to explain why Japan has been, and still is, a “victim” of comparative law. The starting point of this analysis is one of the most widely accepted and well-known descriptions of the relationship between law and society in Japan, a picture that everybody even slightly familiar with Japanese law studies will immediately recognize. In 1976, an extremely influential book stated with no hesitations that “Japanese do not like law,” especially when it came to dispute resolution. Law, the author explained, is something external to Japanese social order and therefore, notwithstanding the significant imitation of Western legal models, the underlying traditional, social norms prevailed. Hence this bold statement was made."
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