A Message from the Dean
How have the various problems that have arisen in human society been solved? How should these problems be solved? What basic principles are implemented by human society to solve problems? Law and politics scientifically explore these themes. It is difficult to materialize a multifaceted and multilayered human society consisting of free individuals, family relationships, business connections, organizations with various purposes, social systems, public spheres, municipalities, nations, international relations, and global communities. It is also difficult to understand and critically analyze this society.
The problems that we need to solve in our society are quite complicated. Various issues of modern society expressed by concepts such as the SDGs, Society 5.0, globalization, and risk society have become more distinct than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are more than 80 professors and associate professors in the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics and the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo, and their specialized fields are diverse. The world’s highest level of research and education has been conducted by the Graduate Schools and Faculty within the broad scope of law and politics fields to address various social problems, the structure of society, and the mentality that shapes our concept of society. On the one hand, the teaching faculty at the Graduate Schools and Faculty have tackled various social problems on the front line, together with practitioners from various occupations, including legal professions, government authorities, NGOs, enterprises, and the mass media, in many public institutions and research groups. On the other hand, whenever we work on the issues in modern society, and whenever we encounter unexpected problems, we must go back to basic principles and critically examine ourselves in terms of the history and international comparisons. The Graduate Schools and Faculty are proud of their fundamental research in the extensive fields. The teaching faculty of the Graduate Schools and Faculty have devoted themselves to various studies in the fields of legal history, political history, comparative law, and comparative politics. These research activities are reflected in the lectures and seminars of the Graduate Schools and Faculty.
The University of Tokyo Faculty of Law is one of the faculties with the longest tradition in Japan. It was established in 1877 when the Tokyo Medical School merged with the Tokyo Kaisei School to form the University of Tokyo. The Department of Law at the Tokyo Kaisei School was established in 1873. Since its establishment, the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law has played a key role in the research and education of law and politics in Japan and has launched many talented people into a wide range of fields. As facilities for perpetuating academic traditions and accumulating resources for research and education, the Faculty of Law Library and the Center for Modern Japanese Legal and Political Documents were established in the Graduate Schools and Faculty. The former facility is proud of the collection of domestic and foreign books and magazines, which visiting researchers from foreign countries have often admired. The latter facility possesses Japan’s largest collection of newspapers and magazines published in Japan during the Meiji Period (1868‒1912) and the Taisho Period (1912‒1926). However, tradition is not worthy of its name if it is not renewed gradually and progressively. From the current activities of the Graduate Schools and Faculty, two examples of such progress can be given.
The first example is Advanced Business Law Program as one of the World-leading Innovative Graduate Studies at the University of Tokyo, which was launched in 2017 and is administered by the Graduate Schools. It was adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology World-leading Innovative and Smart Education Program in 2019. The Advanced Business Law Program is committed to research and education to address the various legal and political issues that arise during the accumulation and advancement of information, knowledge, and technology in the field of business law in a broad sense. The Program cooperates with the Graduate Schools and the Faculties of natural science at the University of Tokyo and expands relationships with enterprises and institutions engaged in legal practices. By this Program, the Graduate Schools and Faculty expand the interdisciplinary and cooperative research and education activities, resulting in abundant achievements.
The second example is the globalization of undergraduate education. When the Faculty amended its curriculum in 2017, lectures and seminars in foreign languages or using documents in foreign languages were expanded as “foreign language classes”. In Course I (General Legal Studies Course), the completion of a foreign language class is one of the graduation requirements. For students in the Faculty to easily study abroad, a system was established in which credits obtained at their study abroad destinations are included in credits required for graduation. In other classes, the number of lectures given in foreign languages by foreign teachers has increased, as has the number of foreign professors and associate professors. As of April 1, 2022, there are four foreign professors and associate professors who are appointed to be in charge of classes.
Moving forward, the Graduate Schools and Faculty will continue to make every effort to develop fundamental research and education in a wide range of law and politics fields on the one hand and engage in social, interdisciplinary, and international cooperation with other institutions and actors on the other hand, synthesizing both activities.
Dean of the Graduate Schools for Law
and Politics and the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo