Japanese law goes pop

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Journal Article

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Wolff, L. (2014). Japanese law goes pop. Acta Asiatica Varsoviensia, 27, 165 - 183.

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Copyright © Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 2014




This article explores the extent to which the growth in law-themed popular culture since the turn of the century, especially television shows, signals a shift in popular attitudes towards law. Four decades of research into Japanese legal consciousness has called into question the extent to which there is a Japanese cultural aversion to law, with most scholars expressing doubt over whether culture properly explains the comparatively low litigation rates in Japan compared to other industrialised nations. This article argues that popular culture, although not without its limitations, offers new clues into how legal consciousness is developing and changing in 21st-century Japan. The article concludes that popular culture paints a picture of a greater readiness by Japanese people to engage with law, although scepticism remains about the law’s promise to achieve justice and social solidarity.

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