Introduction to Japanese Law

Course Code: IJL101
End Date: 2023/4/6 Day: Thurs Time: 19:10-21:00 Hours: 20 Sessions: 10 Semester: Spring Core certificate: Legal Assistant Studies Medium of Instruction: English Special Notes: 【This is a hybrid course that you can join either at our Tokyo campus or online via Zoom.】 Location: Hybrid, In-Person (Tokyo), Online

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Course Description

This course will aim to deliver a comprehensive understanding of Japanese law beginning from an overview of the Japanese legal system and moving on to cover the main areas of law such as the constitution, civil law (mainly contracts), civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure, corporate law and administrative law (all of which are areas tested in the Japanese Bar Exam). The approach taken will be more of a practical one than an academic one with the focus being on the aspects of the law that affect our daily lives or businesses. Classes will begin with a lecture and move on to a phase of interaction. Attendees will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions and a short essay test to be submitted during the latter half of the course (this will focus not on the amount of knowledge acquired through the class but on the pattern of legal thinking.) Businesspersons, those involved in the legal profession or anyone interested in gaining practical knowledge on Japanese law are welcome.

Learning Objectives

1. Acquisition of legal thinking skills.
2. Basic knowledge of Japanese law.
3. Be able to see law as a daily life tool.

Who should take this course

Those with educational backgrounds in a law outside of Japan or those who use the law in their daily work and would like to organize or expand their legal knowledge.


No required textbook. Recommended readings Will be announced as required in class.


Mason Hester

Instructor Biography

Mason Hester is a licensed lawyer in the United States and has been working as an adjunct professor with TUJ since 2017. He also works in Tokyo as a consultant providing educational services for law firms and legal departments alike. Prior to coming to Japan, Mr. Hester worked as a general practitioner handling cases ranging from criminal to contractual work.

Mr. Hester has two B.A.'s from Mississippi State University. His undergraduate work in the arenas of political science, philosophy, and religion underlie his strong interests in natural law and metaphysics. Prof. Hester is passionate about universal sentient rights. In the classes he hopes to help develop his pupils' critical thinking skills and their innate skepticism so that they can learn to be independently minded individuals.