About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

14 J. Comp. L. 74 (2019)
The Enduring Influence of Bentham's Legal and Political Thought in Japan: From the Meiji Restoration (1868) to the Present

handle is hein.journals/jrnatila14 and id is 459 raw text is: 

The Enduring Influence of Bentham's Legal and Political Thought in Japan

  The Enduring Influence of Bentham's

  Legal and Political Thought in Japan:

  From the Meiji Restoration (1868) to

                            the Present

                            MICHIHIRO KAINO
                       Faculty of Law, Doshisha University

Several intervals of Japanese history have seen periods of interest in the works of Jeremy
Bentham. The first period was the Meiji era (1868-1912) that followed the Meiji Restoration
in 1868, an event which marked the end of Japan's feudal government led by the samurai
(warlords). At the time, the new ruling elites, who were prompted by an urgent need to
introduce modern codes of law into Japan in order to catch up economically with the
West, were eager to study foreign ideas on legislation. Bentham had published several
influential works on codification, and Japanese legal scholars sought Bentham's works as
well as copies of German and French civil codes. As a result, several of Bentham's works
were translated into Japanese in the 1870s.
   In the 1880s, when movements towards drafting a Japanese constitutional
code intensified, more of Bentham's works, including the important A Fragment on
Government,' were translated. The new Japanese codes that emerged, however, including
the Constitutional Code of 1889, were modelled on German codes, and not framed in
accordance with Bentham's ideas. Japanese scholars in the Meiji period considered the
German codes to be far more helpful in terms of meeting the need to enact their own codes.
Bentham's emphasis upon the freedom of the press and public discussion was also too
radical for Japanese society at the time. Nevertheless, Bentham had built a great reputation
among Japanese legal scholars in the late 19th century.
   In Japan, the interest in Bentham increased as society gradually became freer and more
democratic. However, in the Taisho era (1912-26), when Japan became an authoritarian
society, interest in Bentham faded. And after the end of World War II, Bentham was
treated unfairly by commentators until the 1990s.2 However, during and then after the
1990s, positive interest in Bentham increased, especially following the fourth and 13th
Conferences of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS), which were held
in 1994 in Tokyo and 2014 in Yokohama respectively. Most recently, Bentham studies in

' Bentham, J (1977) [1776] A Comment on the Commentaries andA Fragment on Government Burns, JH and Hart,
HLA (eds) The Athlone Press at 391-551.
2 See the section 'After World War II' below.
74     JCL 14:2 (2019)

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most