Colin Jones :: Obey Not Know: Essays on Japanese Law and Society


Like many things Japanese, the Japanese legal system has its peculiarities... and Professor Jones applies his decades of legal and teaching experience to shed light on its mysteries. As with most legal systems there is method to its madness, and while the reasoning behind it all is a bit different from the approaches of Western nations, it works. Usually.

Based on the author's long-running feature in The Japan Times, the book offers a selection of his most important columns, plus other articles drawn from numerous sources, and including a number of never-before published pieces. Older articles have been updated to reflect more recent developments, but remain vitally important to understanding how things work in Japan. And in spite of being written by an attorney, the book is in everyday English, peppered with entertaining and sometimes stinging asides.
Here, at last, is a glimpse into the Japanese legal system, ideal for foreign residents of Japan as well as legal researchers and practitioners.


  • Pages: 439
  • Trade paperback 5.5" x 8.5" (140mm x 216mm)
  • ISBN
    Softcover: 978-4-909473-08-0
    Ebook: 978-4-909473-09-7

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About the author

Colin Jones is from various places, but mostly Canada. He first went to Japan in 1983 as a student at International Christian University in Tokyo. From there he transferred to U.C. Berkeley, graduating in 1986 with a degree in East Asian Languages and Literature. After obtaining a masters degree in political history from Tohoku University's Graduate Faculty of Law, he realized he would probably eat better as a lawyer than as a historian. He went to Duke Law school where he was a Richard Nixon Fellow and graduated in 1993 with both a J.D. and an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law. After seven years doing M&A and securities transactions for a top finance firm in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo he bet his future on the First Internet Bubble, moving in-house to a position at Global Crossing. In 2005 he became a professor at Doshisha Law School and continues to practice in the corporate sphere. He has written extensively on a wide range of subjects with a particular focus on Japanese law. In addition to his long-running column in The Japan Times, he has written four books in Japanese, as well as being lead author on a 2018 treatise, The Japanese Legal System (West Academic), which you should really also rush out and buy.