After the Meiji Restauration in 1868, the legal system in Japan underwent huge transformations. In this seminar, we will look at two fields which played an equally important role for producing new legal knowledge: legal practice and legal scholarship. We will discuss the interplay between the two and explore the temporal dynamics of the legal change that took place.
Lena Foljanty’s presentation will deal with court practice in the 1870s and 1880s, the early reform period, and show how a new way of practicing law was established in a continuous conversation between the Justice ministry, the higher courts and the local courts. It will trace how translated Western legal ideas, the elites’ reform aims and local practices interacted and will discuss how a new style of legal practice emerged out of this interplay.
Colin Jones’ paper will trace the reception of Léon Duguit in early twentieth-century Japan. Focusing on his interpretation and popularisation by the Japanese jurist Makino Eiichi, it will show that Duguit was far more influential than commonly appreciated. But this is more than just a story about the farthest geographical reach of one French legal theorist's influence. Duguit's reception in Japan, the paper will argue, illustrates a larger conceptual shift in the way that Japanese jurists conceived of the social and its relationship to law.