Legal Reform in Taiwan under Japanese Colonial Rule, 1895-1945

The Reception of Western Law

Tay-sheng Wang

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  • Published: 2000
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies
    Policial Science
  • Bibliographic information: 392 pp., tables, notes, glossary, bibliog., index, LC 99-26277, 6 x 9
  • Series: Asian Law Series 15
  • Contents

Taiwan’s modern legal system - quite different from those of both traditional China and the People’s Republic - has evolved since the advent of Japanese rule in 1895. Japan has gradually adopted Western law during the 19th-century and when it occupied Taiwan - a frontier society composed of Han Chinese settlers - its codes were instituted for the purpose of rapidly assimilating the Taiwanese people into Japanese society.

In th early colonial period, this legal reform familiarized the Taiwanese with particular Japanese Westernized laws, although Taiwanese customary rule remained. After the 1920s, Westernized laws in colonial legislation gradually penetrated into society, laying the foundation for the independent evolution of the legal system after 1945.

Until recently, censorship in Taiwan prevented scholars from examining this subject; Tay-sheng Wang’s comprehensive study lays a solid foundation for future analyses of Taiwanese law. It documents how Western traditions influenced the formation of Taiwan’s modern legal structure through the conduit of Japanese colonial rule and demonstrates the extent to which legal concepts diverged from the Chinese legal tradition and moved toward Western law.
Background of Legal Reform
Reception of Western Law in Colonial Legislation
Modern Judiciary in the Colony
Criminal Justice and Changing Society
Westernization of Civil Justice
Appraisal and Legacy
Appendix A: Development of Taiwanese Law
Appendix B: The Law Relating to Laws and Ordinances
Appendix C: The Civil, Commercial, and Criminal Law
Appendix D: The Bandit Punishment Law