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2 Intl. J. Jurisprudence Fam. 149 (2011)
What's in between the Lines - Principles and Reality of Family Law in Japan

handle is hein.journals/ijjf2 and id is 157 raw text is: WHAT'S IN BETWEEN THE LINES?
Teiko Tamaki'
A major turning point in Japanese family law was marked by its shift away
from the principle of the patriarchal household, as endorsed in the ie2 system.
The ie system was introduced by the Meiji government, which regulated
family as an institution according to an ideological system that corresponded
to the Emperor system of governance, pursuant to provisions of the Meiji
Civil Code.3 The major principle of the ie system was reflected in its estab-
lishment in the head of household of an exclusive centralized power over and
duty towards his family members. Succession was completely male-
dominated in that the eldest son usually inherited the whole family estate,
including the family name, which was relevant to succession because the
family name was a symbol of family, and because a family line should be
maintained by having an heir take over the family name.
In 1947, family law was reformed by way of a revision of the above-
mentioned Civil Code.4 Japanese family law consists primarily of parts 4 and
5 of the Civil Code, in addition to a number of relevant acts concerning
specific family-related matters and procedural law. Part 4 of the Civil Code
' Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Niigata University, Japan. A draft of this paper
was originally presented at the symposium on The Jurisprudence of the Family:
Foundations and Principles, which was convened at the Bratislava School of Law, in
Slovakia, May 28 29, 2010. The author gratefully acknowledges the editorial assistance
(proofreading) of Ms. Michelle Gooden-Barry.
2 This term has been transliterated by others as iye, but in this paper the author adheres
consistently to a romanized system of transliteration for all Japanese words.
3 MINPO (Civil Code), Act No. 9 of June 21, 1898. There is no official translation of the
code in English; however, the Ministry of Justice has undertaken the translation of
Japanese laws since April 2009, working on editing the Standard Bilingual Dictionary
and translating approximately 440 laws and regulations into English (see http://www.moj.
go.jp/ENGLISH/issues/issuesl3.html for its announcement). The provisions of the Civil
Code in English are available at http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id-
2&vm-04&re-01 &new- 1
4 This was done by means of revising the latter two parts of the original Civil Code (Part
4 and Part 5) so that the code retained the same name and numbering. The current Civil
Code is Act No. 9 of June 21, 1898 (most recently amended with the final amendment of
Act No. 78 of 2006).

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