Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2001

Abstract

The one hundredth anniversary of the Kyoto University Faculty of Law is the kind of splendid occasion when, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked, a distinguished institution "becomes conscious of itself and its meaning." I can hardly express my pleasure at being invited to join in your celebration; but I must express my fear that I can add little to it. When Dean Tanaka kindly invited me, I should probably have declined, for I, a foreigner, can hardly know enough about an institution so central to the life of its country and its profession to speak of it and its meaning. But you have done me the honor and given me the pleasure of allowing me to teach at Kyoto several times, and I welcomed the opportunity to thank you by addressing you. A faculty as eminent as this one constantly renews and even reinvents itself. Today, that renewal and reinvention come at a momentous time: Your country's achievements in so many fields have now made it useful to reconsider the kind of legal education that will serve you best. Probably no nation has ever been so deliberate and so cosmopolitan in shaping its institutions. When it decides to reconsider an institution, Japan characteristically surveys similar institutions throughout the world, takes their finest elements, and combines them in the blend that best suits Japan. No doubt this is how you will reconsider Japanese legal education. It thus seemed to me that I might best contribute to your festivities by describing and explaining one of the systems of legal education you may wish to scrutinize-my own. My goal is not to convince you to adopt the American scheme of legal education. You will know better than I what you want. However, although Japan may not be an "ordinary" country, in legal education it is America that is unusual. We differ in several crucial respects from most of the world. I want to justify our anomaly.


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