1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Lovesick Japan

A comprehensive body of evidence -- 2,700 Japanese court opinions – shows a Japan full of emotion but nevertheless characterized by a presupposed absence of physical and emotional intimacy, affection, and interconnectedness in personal relationships.   Love usually appears as a tragic, overwhelming emotion associated with jealousy, suffering, heartache, and death.

The cases also show that love is inextricably linked with law.  Japanese judges frequently opine on whether a person is in love, what other emotions a person is feeling, and whether those emotions are appropriate for the situation. When judges eschew formalistic legal analysis and conduct a more visceral examination of emotions, they highlight the illusory nature of the line between what we think of as “law” and what we think of as “non-law” in an area that is central to being human.

  • Reception follows in Brooks Commons, 1st Floor
    Sponsored by Department of Anthropology



Event Date: 
Friday, 23 March 2012 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Mark D. West
Speaker Title: 
Nippon Life Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs