The Identity of German and Japanese Civil Law in Comparative Perspectives / Die Identitšt des deutschen und des japanischen Zivilrechts in vergleichender Betrachtung

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Zentaro Kitagawa, Karl Riesenhuber
Walter de Gruyter, Jan 1, 2007 - Law - 288 pages
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Developments of the law in Japan and in Germany provide ample reason for an inquiry into “The Identity of Japanese and German Civil Law”. Japanese civil law has a long tradition of absorbing and digesting foreign influences, - in particular from Germany, France, England and the United States. The absorption of foreign influences occurred on various levels: at the legislative level, in particular during the drafting process of the Civil Code, at the judicial level and in the field of scholarship. The reception of legal theories was followed by a unique process that has been characterised as “theory reception” (Kitagawa). Irrespective of such foreign influences, we can discern a unique legal tradition in Japan - in other words, its own identity. At the same time, German private law is under the influence of legal harmonisation in the EU. While the predominant view in the 1980's was still that this development was confined to a restricted area - that of “consumer law” - recent developments demonstrate that European Union legislation now influences large parts of German civil law. What does this mean in terms of the identity of German civil law? And how does this development of a “Europeanization” of German civil law affect related legal systems, such as that of Japan?

The present volume contains the proceedings of a conference held in Japan in 2006 to mark the occasion of the “Germany Year in Japan”. In their contributions, Japanese scholars discuss the various influences on Japanese law; German scholars enquire into the Europeanization of German private law; and finally, the identity of Japanese civil law is discussed from the perspectives of German civil law and of common law.


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About the author (2007)

Zentaro Kitagawa, University of Kyoto, Director of the International Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS); Karl Riesenhuber, Ruhr-Universitšt Bochum.

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