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Grant number like: FEL-268275-20

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Susan L. Burns
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021

In the Arena of the Courts: Law and Gender in Japan, 1871-1912

Research and writing leading to a book on how the modernization of Japan's legal system in the 19th century reshaped gender roles.  

Beginning in 1871, the newly formed government of Japan began to work to create a modern legal system. My project focuses on the place of gender in this process and the role of new laws and the new courts in shaping and policing gendered social roles.The project centers on the adjudication of four kinds of cases: 1)criminal cases involving abortion and infanticide 2)criminal cases involving “sex crimes” 3)civil cases involving marriage, divorce, and issues of paternity and child custody 4)civil cases involving disputes over inheritance and succession to the family headship. Through the examination of court records, texts related to “legal literacy,” and debates over the statutes themselves, I argue that the courts in this period became a potent space in which representatives of the state and ordinary citizens clashed over new ideas about gender, bodily autonomy, social roles, and individual rights and civic responsibilities.