Course Description

Thailand and Japan were two of a few countries in the world which succeeded in modernization by their own efforts. Both countries began with modernization policy almost simultaneously. Japanese government tried to introduce Western modern industry as soon as possible and set up modern military forces in Western style. Japan aimed not only to protect itself against the Western powers, but Japan also intended to expand its territory in Asia. Such a policy led Japan to the way of militarism, and this way ended with the 15 years war in China and World War II. Since 1868, Japanese society experienced dramatical changes several times while the Kingdom of Siam chose to go  another way. If the Siamese government would have chosen a similar way to Japan, then it would rather threatened its existence and independence in Southeast Asia. Thailand found the way to keep its existence in peaceful relationships with Western countries.

We find some essential differences in their modernization process. The reason for such differences is quite clear; namely, that is because Thailand and Japan had quite different historical background and social structure. Furthermore, a similar argument is also true between China and Japan. It is often assumed that Chinese and Japanese culture and society would be very similar. It is really true that Japan had learned many valuable cultural goods from China and through China. But both nations show very different social structure and life style.
So, the first subject of our course is the following point; what is different between Thai and Japanese society, or between Chinese and Japanese society? How were these differences formed through their historical development? We want at first to seek our answers to these questions in Japanese history. Our historical investigation can be divided into two parts as follows -

Part 1: Introduction – Japanese Legal History in Pre-modern Period ─

  1. Japanese society in the prehistorical period ( ~ 6.c.)
  2. Reception of the Chinese political system in 7. and 8. c.
  3. Classical period and the gradual transition to the feudal system ( 9. ~ 14. c.)
  4. Establishment of the Tokugawa Regime and the economical development ( 16. ~ 19. c.)

Part 2: Modernization and the Road to War ─

[A] Modernization process and special topics in Civil law ;

  1. End of the Isolation policy and the beginning of the modernization under the Meiji Regime (19. ~ 20. c.)
  2. Reception of the Western legal system
  3. Democracy movement and the first Constitution of Japan
  4. Codification of the Civil Code
  5. Real rights and their historical background
  6. Law on Obligations; Remedies for Non-performane and development of Tort Law
  7. Foundation of the "IE-Family" system as a political institution, and marriage in the Prewar period (judgments of the Supreme Court)

[B] The 15-years War and World War II ;

  • Establishment of Japanese militarism and the road to war

Part 3: The current Constitution and the Judicial Review ─

In the last part, the the Constitution of 1947 will be presented, and its special features are treated:

  1. Postwar Reforms and special features of the new Constitution
  2. Judgments of the Supreme Court on the Article 9 (Renunciation of war)
  3. Judgments of the Supreme Court on Human Rights

We will treat also some actual topics if our time schedule would allow us to do so, especially “Reform Project of Law on Obligations” which has been proceeding since 2006 .

* How your grade point will be evaluated?
1. Your attendance in the class : 10 % (Regular attendance is very important !!)
2. Short tests for Part 1 & Part 2: 20 + 30 % (2 times)
3. Final test for Part 3 : 40 % (This test will be given in the last class.)


August 15th, 2018

(Shiori Tamura)

Published on  August 15th, 2018