Andrea Ortolani

The Japanese Legal Language: Its Birth, Evolution and Modern Problems

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This study analyzes the birth and evolution of Japanese legal language. It starts with a brief introduction of the fundamental characteristics of Japanese as the national language of Japan. The article continues by considering the first Italian report on the major legal works that were translated into Japanese between 1850 and 1890. These translations provided a model and a linguistic basis for the emerging Japanese legal science. With an insight on contemporary developments, the author also discusses the recent process of linguistic reform of the Civil Code. The article ends with some thoughts on the influence of Japanese language and its structures on Japanese substantive law as well as on the circulation of legal models in Japan.


  • Language
  • Law
  • Japan
  • Civil Code
  • Meiji


Article first page

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