Sexual Violence and the Law in Japan  book cover
1st Edition

Sexual Violence and the Law in Japan

Edited By

Catherine Burns

ISBN 9780415654180
Published September 10, 2012 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides a detailed examination of judicial decision-making in Japanese cases involving sexual violence. It describes the culture of 'eroticised violence' in Japan, which sees the feminine body as culpable and the legal system which encourages homogeneity and conformity in decision-making and shows how the legal constraints confronting women claiming sexual assaults are enormous. It includes analysis of specific case studies and a discussion of recent moves to address the problem.

Table of Contents

Prelude: Rape v Murder - or (Excessive) Self-Defence?  1. Legal Storytelling and Sexual Violence  2. Hegemonic Masculinity and Guilty Feminine Bodies  3. Confronting the Japanese Criminal Justice System  4. Credibility in the Court: Scripting Rape  5. 'In Truth She Was Probably Very Drunk': Women Subject to Scrutiny  6. Markers of Truth: Silencing Women in the Court  7. Subversive Stories and Feminist Strategies  8. Conclusion

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Catherine Burns lectures in the School of Languages and linguistics, Griffith University, Australia. Her research interests include gender studies, law and popular culture in Japan, and feminist jurisprudence.


"Sexual Violence and the Law is not the study of misery, but a book of light and shade.  True, its main concern is to expose the institutionalized injustice women face as victims of sexual violence. But the book also devotes itself to feminist strategies to subvert the inherent patriarchy of the law...Even when its focus on the dark side of Japanese life, Burn's book sheds important new light on gender and sexuality in Japan...Playfully, Burns makes the most of her narrative method by assuming the role of storyteller herself, hooking the reader into her book...Sexual Violence and the Law is illuminating interdisciplinary scholarship. Burns takes a risk in tackling her subject of Japanese law despite lacking a legal background, but she more than succeeds.  Indeed, it is precisely because of her nonlaw background that she infuses the discipline of Japanese law with new and fresh insights."--Journal of Japanese Studies, 32:2 (2006)