NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

263.11 sec. 1 - Business Law in Japan and the U.S. (Fall 2014)
"Laws, Contracts, Markets, and Social Norms"

Instructor: Zenichi Shishido  (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course

Units: 2
Meeting Time: TuTh 6:25PM-9:05PM
Meeting Location: 136
Course End: September 25, 2014
Class Number (formerly Course Control Number) (Non-1Ls): 49769

Business Law in Japan and the US: Laws, Contracts, Markets, and Social Norms

This is an intensive course in the comparative study of Japanese and American business systems. We will raise a basic question: how does law matter to business practice? We need to take two complementarities into consideration to answer this question. First, the legal system of each country consists of a variety of legal subject areas, each of which does not affect business practice by itself, but rather will affect it complimentarily together with other areas of law. The title of this course, Business Law, covers many areas of law that affect bargaining among participants of the firm and the practice of the business enterprise, including corporate law, securities regulation, labor law, bankruptcy law, and tax law. The second complementarity exists between law and other social environments such as markets and social norms.
The United States and Japan have developed the two most successful business systems in the world, in totally different ways. Business law is part of the infrastructure of the incentive bargain between participants of the business enterprise, together with markets and social norms. Although American law is common law in origin and Japanese law is civil law in origin, their business laws have converged significantly over time. Even so, interesting differences remain. This is true especially with respect to markets and social norms. We will attempt to understand how the business systems of the US and Japan have developed in light of their differing laws, markets, and social norms.
Each week, students will be exposed to both classical readings in business law theory, as well as more recent scholarship that applies the classical theory to case studies of modern US and Japanese firms. Through the readings and by participating in discussions, students will learn not only the Japanese legal system, but also the dynamics of the Japanese business system in comparison with the US business system.

Zenichi Shishido is Professor of Law at Hitotsubashi University, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. Professor Shishido taught at Seikei University (1983-2009), and has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School (1998-1999) and Harvard Law School (2005). He continues to be a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall) on a regular basis. Professor Shishido is a well-known authority on Japanese and comparative corporate governance, having written extensively on the subject in both Japanese and English. He has also served on advisory councils to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT). Professor Shishido’s new book Enterprise Law: Contracts, Markets, and Laws in the US and Japan (Edward Elgar) is forthcoming.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Business Law
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
International and Comparative Law

The following file is available for this course:


If you are the instructor or their FSU, you may edit your files on this page.

No reader.

Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

Go to Course Search