Law in Everyday Japan
Sex, Sumo, Suicide, and Statutes
Compiling case studies based on seven fascinating themes—karaoke-based noise complaints, sumo wrestling, love hotels, post-Kobe earthquake condominium reconstruction, lost-and-found outcomes, working hours, and debt-induced suicide—Law in Everyday Japan offers a vibrant portrait of the way law intermingles with social norms, historically ingrained ideas, and cultural mores in Japan. Each example is informed by extensive fieldwork. West interviews all of the participants-from judges and lawyers to defendants, plaintiffs, and their families-to uncover an everyday Japan where law matters, albeit in very surprising ways.
“This is a superb book that explores the interaction of law society and culture over a range of intriguing topics. In seven captivating case studies, Mark West shows how law influences people’s behavior and perceptions in everyday situations. Rather than trumping law, social norms are powerfully shaped by it. We learn that Japanese respond to incentives and penalties in ways very similar to people in other societies. Readers who savor a unique and mystified Japan steeped in timeless customs are in from a jarring shock to their assumptions. . . . By choosing themes off the beaten track of legal analysis, West demonstrates that even the quirkiest phenomena can be analyzed. . . . And he does so in a delightfully engaging manner.”