Kinji Akashi

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This chapter discusses the Japanese contribution to the development of international law after the ‘encounter’ of Japan with it. It might be argued that ‘international law’ of European origin has extended its application to non-European regions since the age of European voyages of ‘discovery’. First, the chapter confirms the traditional Japanese view on ‘international relations’ and ‘law’. The discussion then proceeds to how Japanese officials and scholars accepted, and made use of, international law. After the forced and unavoidable abolition of the long-sustained seclusion policy, Japan swiftly adapted itself to the reality imposed by the Western powers and, at least in appearance, has reached the rank of ‘civilized nation’ within half a century of its drastic policy change, without being colonized.

Keywords: Japanese contributions; international law; East Asia; seclusion policy

Article.  10016 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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