Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2022
This chapter introduces the development of individual dignity in Japan. First, it notes that the idea of individual dignity in the Japanese Constitution is affected by the US Constitution through the enactment process. However, there are still some social constraints on individualism in the law. Next, I scrutinize two factors of individual dignity in light of the hybrid approach in academic discussion. The Japanese Constitution has been affected not only by the US Constitution but also the Prussian Constitution. As a result, it contains both the individualism of the US Constitution and the human personality of the German Basic Law. Finally, I shed light on individual dignity in Japan by reviewing constitutional case law. Although the Supreme Court indicated both factors of individual dignity, for most of the time after WWII the Court upheld the laws that constrained individualism. Recently, the Court tends to hold unconstitutional the old laws that constrain individual dignity by looking to social change. This reorientation of the Court regards society as supporting individualism. Society plays the role of a catalyst toward progress in individual dignity.