Jurisprudence, together with various fields
in the humanities and
social sciences,
can play
an important role in
the project
of "Global
Japanese Studies".

Graduate School / Faculty of Law,
Tohoku University, Professor


My major is Jurisprudence, which covers mainly three fields: the theory of law, the theory of justice, and the legal methodology. My current research focuses on three topics: issues in public law litigation especially in environmental and disaster cases, the idea of justice in the intellectual history of the 20th century, and techniques of legal analysis and legal writing under the influence of the German legal method.

Jurisprudence very much belongs to legal studies, yet, at the same time, it necessarily references outcomes in other fields of social and human science like political science, history, economics, philosophy, and literature. It thereby deals with the law and society as the "world of meaning" by adopting a comparatist approach, based on the premise that people's view of life and value differs according to their cultural, socio-economic background. From this international and interdisciplinary standpoint, jurisprudence can certainly contribute to discussions on "Global Japanese Studies".

History of Ideas: a hermeneutic approach to human activities against the general background of history.

The notion of the history of ideas, which was firstly articulated by the philosophical school of German Idealism, has relevance to discussion of Global Japanese Studies. According to this notion, ideas created by intellectuals and shared among the people, particularly the idea of justice, are the main determinant of historical dynamism. This hermeneutic approach to history stands in clear contrast to the political approach that takes heroes as the main players of the history, and the social approach that regards the activities of the common people as the key factor in history.

I have many colleagues who work together on research in the field of the theory of justice, for example, Prof. Gerson Brea at the University of Brasilia, Prof. Shing-I Liu at Taipei University, Prof. Aurelio de Prada García at Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, and Prof. Christoph Lütge at the Technical University of Munich.

Searching for a third way toward the future of human society in globalization

Our project of "Global Japanese Studies" will surely gain in significance if it engages PhD and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world in seeking a concrete vision of the third way toward the future of human society in globalization. This concept can be named "the third way" because it aims at overcoming both the capitalist, free-economic but inequal society, on the one hand, and the autocratic communist one, on the other hand, in the "post-modern" era.

I would like to clarify why Japanese Studies are relevant to conceptualizing "the third way". Japanese society has been deeply influenced by the intellectual assets of the East-Asian civilization comprising Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism since the 6th century at the latest. But nowadays, the idea of efficiency, which originated in Western civilization, is dominant in all aspects of Japanese daily life, including commerce, production, finance, administration, and also education, pastimes and leisure. At this point, all peoples in the world face common challenges caused by the efficiency mindset, for example, alienation, exploitation, and disparity, as Karl Marx pointed out. In these circumstances surrounding Japanese society, it is important and meaningful for us, the intellectual community, to investigate "post-modern conditions" and to seek neither the neo-liberal-libertarian nor the centralist-communist, but the third way to tackle a variety of global issues for the sake of future generations.

Justice as the foundation of law and society

Aware of these intellectual tasks, I would like to focus, within the framework of the theory of justice, on a concrete question: Why Japanese Romanticism and the Kyoto School of Philosophy were committed to Japanese autocracy and militarism before and during the World War II even while criticizing the limitations of Western modernity.

In addressing this question, I am engaging in a wide-ranging philosophical discussion related to Phenomenology, the Kyoto School, and Post-Modernism. Furthermore, I find it also important to keep doing case studies of pollution and chemical damage, environmental protection, war compensation and peace, democracy and free speech, racial and gender equality, respect for minorities, intellectual property and fair use, capital concentration and international finance, etc. All these issues are part of fundamental research on law and justice. I would be glad if I could carry out such research together with younger scholars from all over the world.

  • Professor in the Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University. Completed the Master’s program at Kyoto University Graduate School of Law in 1993 and earned a Doctorate (Philosophy) from the Faculty of First Philosophy at the University of Augsburg in 2000. Worked as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Human Environment at the University of Human Environments, assistant professor at the National Institute of Technology, Sasebo College, and assistant professor in the Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University, before being appointed to his current position in 2007.
  • Research areas: Jurisprudence
  • Graduate School / Faculty of Law, Academic Staff (Japanese)