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East Asian Law Quick Reference

Quick guide to the legal systems of East Asia: China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Taiwan (The Republic of China).

Westlaw Japan


Court Decisions

Statutes Provided by National Diet Library


Citation and Romanization

Citation standards for Japanese sources
in North American publications

To cite Japanese sources in North American legal publications, use the standards set out in the Bluebook.

The Bluebook: a uniform system of citation.
Appendix T2: Foreign Jurisdictions: Japan
Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law Review Association,
KF245 .U5 2015 at Reference Area

More information on the Bluebook:

Citation standards for legal publications in Japan
Romanized Japanese for Searching

When searching the library catalog using romanized Japanese, it is not necessary to input diacritics (such as the "macron" or long mark used in Japanese romanization). There are various standardized schemes for Japanese romanization. The scheme approved for use in North American Library catalogs is based on the Hepburn romanization system used in Kenkusha's new Japanese-English dictionary (see chart, page xiii of Kenkyusha's new Japanese-English Dictionary.)

Romanization in Library Catalog


chiteki zaisan

NOT titekizaisan or titeki zaisan



NOT Kempo, or Kempou, or kempoh


Katō, Masaharu

NOT Katoh, Masaharu (Names in the library cataloged are all indexed by the family name.)


Shihō kenkyū

NOT Sihō kenkyū or shihou kenkyuu

Word division Used In Library catalogs

(Based on rules established by the U.S. Library of Congress)

Spacing of romanization in Library Catalog


Minji Soshōhō

(Not minji soshō hō)
A single character modifier is treated as part of the two character word that precedes it


Nihonjin ron

(Not Nihonjinron)
A single character modifier is separated by a space from a three character word that precedes it

Japanese/Western Year Conversion

Japanese laws, cases and other resources are often dated using years based on the Japanese calendar. The current era is Heisei (平成), which began in 1988; 2019 is Heisei 31.

  • Conversion Shortcuts
    • Heisei [平成] years: Add 88 to the Heisei year.
      Examples: Heisei 2=1990, Heisei 20=2008.
    • Shōwa [昭和]years: Add 25 to the Shōwa year.
      Examples: Shōwa 5=1930, Shōwa 22=1947, Shōwa 60=1985.
    • Taishō [大正] years: Add 11 to the Taishō year.
      Examples: Taishō 2=1913, Taishō 10=1921
    • Meiji [明治] years: Add 67 to the Meiji year.
      Examples: Meiji 10=1877, Meiji 35=1902, Meiji 40=1907
Other Citation Guides

Guides & Knowledge Bases

Library Catalogs