Law in Everyday Japan: Sex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 15, 2005 - History - 279 pages
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Lawsuits are rare events in most people's lives. High-stakes cases are even less commonplace. Why is it, then, that scholarship about the Japanese legal system has focused almost exclusively on epic court battles, large-scale social issues, and corporate governance? Mark D. West's Law in Everyday Japan fills a void in our understanding of the relationship between law and social life in Japan by shifting the focus to cases more representative of everyday Japanese life.

Compiling case studies based on seven fascinating themes—karaoke-based noise complaints, sumo wrestling, love hotels, post-Kobe earthquake condominium reconstruction, lost-and-found outcomes, working hours, and debt-induced suicide—Law in Everyday Japan offers a vibrant portrait of the way law intermingles with social norms, historically ingrained ideas, and cultural mores in Japan. Each example is informed by extensive fieldwork. West interviews all of the participants-from judges and lawyers to defendants, plaintiffs, and their families-to uncover an everyday Japan where law matters, albeit in very surprising ways.

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Page 4 - In our view, scholarship on law in everyday life should abandon the law-first perspective and should proceed, paradoxically, with its eye not on law, but on events or practices that seem on the face of things, removed from law, or at least not dominated by law from the outset.
Page 4 - James G. Carrier, Gifts and Commodities: Exchange and Western Capitalism since 1700 (New York: Routledge, 1995), p. 20. Bataille expands upon Mauss in his essay "The Notion of Expenditure...

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About the author (2005)

Mark D. West is the Nippon Life Professor of Law and director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. He is coauthor of Economic Organizations and Corporate Governance in Japan: The Impact of Formal and Informal Rules.

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