Codification, Decodification, and Recodification of the Japanese Civil Code

  • Hiroyasu IshikawaEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 32)


The Japanese Civil Code was a product of the mixed reception of various foreign civil codes in the late nineteenth century, and thus deserves to be seen as the “fruit of comparative law.” In Japan, while the Commercial Code is subject to decodification to a large degree, as company law and insurance law have been shifted from the Commercial Code to special laws, the Civil Code has escaped such direct decodification until now, retaining its original components. However, due to the emergence of numerous special laws, the Civil Code has been hollowed-out and decodified in an indirect manner. In particular, the rules of consumer law exist completely outside the Civil Code, so that the concept of consumer or business operator has been never incorporated within the Civil Code. However, to integrate the special rules for consumers and so forth into the Civil Code would not fit the vertically-segmented structure of the law-making and law-enforcing process in the ministries, which is a characteristic of Japanese bureaucracy. Such multilateral constraints on the basis of Japanese legal history and the political configuration form a certain image of the forthcoming recodification of the Civil Code.


Japanese law Civil law Judicial passivism Law-making process Bureaucracy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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