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This essay was published in 2003, in Japanese, as my contribution to a tribute volume honoring Nozaki Ayako, a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Tokyo who passed away suddenly earlier that year. In an article she published in 1999, Nozaki had offered a thoughtful, perceptive critique of an article I had published four years before, dealing with the resolution of traffic accident disputes in Japan. Her article led me to reflect on the reasons for the difference in our views; and that in turn led to this essay. As indicated in the title, two key themes of this essay are experience and diversity. The underlying impetus for both Nozaki’s work and mine was first and foremost our respective life experiences, and those experiences deeply affected the perspectives from which we approached the same basic topic. In turn, the contrasting perspectives presented in our two works reflect the vital importance of diversity – in this case, diversity in life experiences, in backgrounds, and in gender – to legal education and to development of the law. The traffic accident example serves as a testament to the indispensable nature of experience and diversity for the law. Differing perspectives – shaped by many factors, including gender, race and status, as well as work and other life experiences – lead to differing views and new insights into the workings of the legal system, and these insights in turn inform the process of legal development and legal change.

As raised directly in the final section, this essay also constituted an effort to influence teaching methods at Japan’s new law schools, which began operations in 2004, the year after this essay appeared. In its final set of Recommendations of June 2001, the Justice System Reform Council had listed diversity, along with openness and fairness, as the three central tenets for the new system of legal training. I viewed the heightened attention to diversity as one of the most important aspects of the Japanese reforms; and this essay represented one of my efforts to highlight the value of diversity to legal education and the legal profession. Looking back over fifteen years later, I’m sorry to report that, so far as I can tell, those efforts had virtually no impact.

Title of Book

Nozaki Ayako, Seigi, kazoku, hō no kōzō tenkan: Riberaru feminizumu no saiteii [The Structural Transformation of Justice, the Family, and Law: A Repositioning of Liberal Feminism]

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter




tort litigation, civil litigation, legal education, diversity, perspective


Comparative and Foreign Law | Legal Education


This is the English language version of essay originally published in Japanese.

Keiken, tayōsei, soshite hō [Experience, Diversity, and the Law]