Judicial Lawmaking and the Influence of Comparative Law
Studies in Comparative Law and Legal Culture series
Edited by John O. Haley and Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 1.1: The first decades, 1961–2000
The Asian Law Center commenced as the Asian Law Program in 1961 with receipt of the first of two foundational grants from the Ford Foundation. A year later, in 1962, the appointment of Dan Fenno Henderson as director fully launched the Program as the first center established outside of East Asia for research and teaching on East Asian Law and the only one ever to be established with a primary focus on Japanese law. Henderson, a 1944 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Whitman College, had studied Japanese at the U.S. Army Japanese Language School at the University of Michigan. After brief service in Occupied Japan, he enrolled in the Harvard Law School, graduating in 1949 with his first degree in law. He practiced law briefly in Seattle but decided to continue his study of Japan and Japanese law, earning a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1955. He was licensed that year to practice law in Japan (and subsequently South Korea) and became a partner of Graham & James in its Tokyo Office. He left active practice in 1962 to become first a consultant to and then director of the Asian Law Program. As an academic lawyer Henderson envisioned a program to equip “liaison” lawyers to deal professionally with trans-Pacific transactions, which at the time meant a primary focus on Japanese law.
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