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Clarke Lectures

The Program brings a high-profile scholar to Cornell each year to deliver a major public lecture. While at Cornell, the Clarke Lecturer also meets informally with faculty and students from across the university.

2016 Clarke Lecture

The Encounter of Japan with the Law of Nations and its Subsequent Evolution

Judge Owada
Judge Hisashi Owada

What role should Japan be playing in the international community? To understand how fraught that question is for the Japanese, the Honorable Judge Hisashi Owada explains, you must go back to the beginning of a national journey undertaken over a century ago. Owada detailed that history at the Law School on April 5 as he presented the 2016 Clarke Lecture.

Owada has served as a judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague since 2003 and was the court’s president from 2009 to 2012. Prior to joining the court, he had a highly distinguished career in the foreign service and in key government agencies in Japan, as well as in academia.

He began his lecture, “The Encounter of Japan with the Law of Nations and Its Subsequent Evolution,” by setting the scene of that encounter. In the 1850s and ’60s, strong­armed into a treaty with the United States, Japan emerged from three centuries of almost complete isolation from the rest of the world. The newly ascendant Meiji government eagerly sought to join the international community and embraced the “law of nations,” the code of conduct that governed relations within that community.

Owada explained that Japanese intellectuals, striving to understand the alien system of rules at play between the world’s major powers, referred to familiar Confucian principals of equality and justice between individuals. Over the next century, Japan’s attempts to gain equal footing with the Western powers on the basis of this framework met with repeated disappointment. Efforts to remediate unequal treaties with the United States and European countries were stymied in multiple venues. The Japanese came to realize, said Owada, that the law of nations was not a system for just and equal relations but “was really a tool of the strong.”

Japan’s disillusionment culminated in the utter devastation of the country’s defeat in the Second World War. “From that time on,” Owada said, “[the Japanese] were taught that you should not believe in the past . . . [This] spiritual vacuum in the minds of the people of Japan was the essential cause of [a] societal confusion that came to prevail over the entire nation in the immediate post­war period. The system of values that they had so eagerly clung to during the last hundred years of modernization, which in the minds of many was synonymous with the westernization of Japan through assimilation to the international community . . . had suddenly collapsed.”

Despite a trend toward nihilism in the face of this collapse, Owada observed, post­war Japan also in some ways embodied a spirit of internationalism reminiscent of the Meiji era. For instance, it sought to participate in the United Nations and the International Court of Justice as soon as those bodies were formed.

Owada noted that the people of Japan remain polarized over the country’s proper role in the international community. He hoped that his audience would leave with an understanding that, “the national psyche of Japan is much more complicated than it appears from the outside.”

Each year the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture brings a star scholar to Cornell to deliver a major public lecture. Funded by a gift to Cornell Law School from Jack and Dorothea Clarke, the program seeks to expand the purview of legal scholarship and to develop new ways of thinking about transnational law, politics, and culture.

2015 Clarke Lecture


Zhiping Liang 

Rule of Virtue: Understanding the Rule of Law Agenda in Contemporary China

Zhiping Liang, Research Professor & Deputy Director, Institute of Chinese Culture at the Chinese National Academy of Arts; Director, Hongfan Legal and Economic Studies

Zhiping Liang, an eminent Chinese scholar of history of legal ideas, sociological jurisprudence and comparative law, is currently a Research Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute of Chinese Culture at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, and Director of Hongfan Legal and Economic Studies, a prestigious non-governmental research institute in Beijing. He received an LLB degree from Southwest University of Political Science and Law in 1982 and an LLM degree from the School of Law, Renmin University of China in 1985. Professor Liang’s writings on law and culture have influenced generations of Chinese law students and young scholars. As a prolific writer, he has written and edited 20 books and numerous articles, including Explicating Law, In Search of Harmony of Natural Order and A Cultural Interpretation of Law. He was also a delegate of China to the First and Second Sessions of the Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on the Preliminary Draft Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO, Paris, France.

Past Lectures

Soohyuck Lee
Soo-Hyuck Lee



Three Hypotheses on the Korean Peninsula Issues- about the Destiny of North Korea, Chinese Policy towards North Korea and the North Korean Nuclear Program



Soo-Hyuck Lee, Chair Professor, Dankook University; Dean, Human Resources Development Center & Humanities Academy, Dankook University

Soo-Hyuck Lee is Chair Professor at Dankook University. He has served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, First Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service, Secretary to the President for Diplomacy and Trade, and the Ambassador to Yugoslavia and Germany. During his career, Lee also participated in the multinational talks for the security and peace on the Korean Peninsula-in the Four-Party Talks in 1997 and in the Six Party Talks (from 2003-2004) as the Head of the South Korean Delegation. He has written three books on the Korean Peninsula peace and unification issues: Conversations with United Germany (2006, Random House Korea);Transforming Events- An Analysis of North Korea's Nuclear Issues (2008, Joongang Books); and North Korea is a Reality (2011, 21st Century Books).

Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:30 PM, Rm 184, Myron Taylor Hall, Cornell Law School


Lecture Video:

Katsuhito Iwai

capitalism and cultures: Universality and Peculiarity of the Corporate System Across societies

Katsuhito Iwai, Visiting Professor, International Christian University, Masashino University/Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo

Katsuhito Iwai was born in Tokyo in 1947. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1969, he went on to study economics at MIT and received Ph. D. in 1972. He taught at Yale University from 1973-1981 before moving back to the University of Tokyo where he was Professor of Economics until 2010. He was Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University and Visiting Professor at University of Pennsylvania in 1988-1989. He is currently Visiting Professor at International Christian University and at Musashino (Buddhist) University, both in Tokyo. He also holds The University of Tokyo's Emeritus Professorship.

His research interests encompass disequilibrium dynamics, ontology of money, evolutionary economics, corporate governance, fiduciary principles, comparative system, and foundation of human sciences. He has published Disequilibrium Dynamics (Yale U. P., 1981) and many other books and articles on these subjects. Concurrently with these academic works, he also wrote books and essays for general readers in Japan on global capitalism, post-modernity, civil society, Japanese economy, and relationships between money, law and language. He received the Grand Prix of Nikkei Economic Books Award in 1982, Suntory Academic Award in 1993, and Kobayashi Hideo Literary Award in 2003. In 2007 Iwai was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal for his Academic Distinction by the Japanese government. In the same year he delivered 9th John Whitney Hall Lecture at Yale University. In 2009, The University of Belgrade gave him an Honorary Doctorate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 4:30 PM, Room G85, Myron Taylor Hall, Cornell Law School



President Sun-Uk Kim
President Sun-Uk Kim




Gender Equality legislation in korea


Sun-Uk Kim, President of Ewha Womans University

President Sun-Uk Kim is the 14th president of Ewha Womans University, since taking office in August 2010, and has been Professor in the School of Law at that same university since 1995. She is a legal scholar holding an LL.D. in Administrative Law from the University of Konstanz, as well as an LLM. And LL.B. from Ewha Womans University, and has published extensively on a number of topics, including gender equality, South Korea's legal system, human rights, and public policy.

From 2005-2007 President Kim serve d as the first female Minister of Government Legislation in Korea, and has held numerous appointments in law and policy associations, including the Committee of Legal Education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2008-2010), and the Policy Consultation Committee of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (2007-2009).

She is the immediate past President of the Korean Association of Gender and Law (2008-209_ and past Vice-President of the Korean Public Law Association (2003-2004). In addition to her duties as President of Ewha, President Kim is the Chair of the Alumninetzwerk Deutschland-Korea (ADeKo) as sell as a member of the Consultation Committee of the Constitutional Court of Korea.

Monday, October 21, 2013, Room 700, Clarke Hall, Cornell University

Robert Dohner
Robert Dohner

U.S. Policy and the Changing Economic and Financial Landscape of East Asia

Robert Dohner, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the Department of the Treasury

Robert Dohner is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at the Department of the Treasury, responsible for the region extending from Pakistan and India through China, Korea, and Japan. Prior to this, he was the Director of the East Asia Office, responsible for China, Japan, and other economies of East and Southeast Asia. Prior Treasury positions include Tokyo Financial Attaché and Director of the Office of Central and Eastern Europe.

Before joining Treasury, Dohner was a Senior Economist at the President's Council of Economic Advisers, a Principal Economist at the OECD, and Senior Economic Adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs. He also taught economics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and he has worked at the GATT and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Dohner has a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. and a 40 year old MGB.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012,  G85, Myron Taylor Hall, Cornell University

Zhu Suli
Professor Zhu Suli

"The unnoticed diverse functions of bridewealth in traditional China"

Professor Zhu Suli ,
Former Dean and Professor of Law, Peking University School of Law, and 2011-12 Wang Distinguished Visiting Professor, Cornell Law School.

September 28, 2011 - Anabel Taylor Hall, Founders Room - 12:20-2:00pm

Zhu Suli, Professor of Law at Peking University Law School and the Wang Distinguished Visiting Professor for the Fall of 2011, will present the Clarke Lecture for 2011-2012 on the theme of the "bride price" in China.

Professor Frank Upham

"The Story of the "Introduction" of Norms of Gender Equality into Japanese Employment Practice"

Professor Frank Upham, Wilf Professor of Property Law, New York University Law School.
April 26, 2011

Professor Upham has spent considerable time at various institutions in Asia, including as a Japan Foundation Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Doshisha University in 1977, as a Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Sophia University in 1986, and as a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2003. He speaks Chinese and French, as well as Japanese. His scholarship has focused on Japan, and his book Law and Social Change in Postwar Japan received from Harvard University Press the Thomas J. Wilson Prize in 1987. The book is generally viewed as the standard reference for discussions of Japanese law and its social and political role in contemporary Japan. More recently he has begun researching and writing about Chinese law and society and about the role of law in social and political development more generally.

Dr. Genda Yuji
Dr. Yuji Genda

"Jobs and Hope: Gone Forever? Cases from Japan"

Dr. Yuji Genda
Professor, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo.
November 4, 2009

The year 1998 was a turning point in Japanese history. Banks, securities firms, and other financial institutions that no one thought would go bankrupt before went bankrupt and the Japanese economy went into a long recession. Small and medium-sized corporations, the backbone of the Japanese economy, became insolvent, the country's unemployment rate increased dramatically, and the number of suicides hit 30,000 a year and has not declined since. Although it is legally possible, Japanese case law shows that the process of laying-off employees has been extremely difficult. As a result, during a time of a recession, the recruitment of new graduates is withheld for the protection of the employment of the middle-aged and the elderly. Japanese youth were hit hardest and losing their hope for work. How can the government, corporations, schools, families, not-for-profit organizations, and young people themselves find renewed hope? Professor Genda examines the relationship between hope and work.

Spotlight Article:
Yuji Genda Offers Hope for Japan's Future

"Cross-Strait Relations: Past, Present, and Future"
Tsai Ing-wen,
Chairperson, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Taiwan; and Cornell Law School LL.M. '80
September 4, 2008

Dr. Shi Zhengfu delivered the 2008 Clarke Lecture

Dr. Shi Zhengfu

"China's Reform as an Indigenous Institutional Innovation: an Inquiry into the Characteristics of Political and Economic Systems in China Today"

Shi Zhengfu,
Principal, Comway Capital Group and Founder, Center for the New Political Economy at Fudan University, Shanghai
April 24, 2008

"Towards a Law and Economics of Public Property: China and Beyond" Zhiyuan Cui, Professor, School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University and Wang Distinguished Visitor at Cornell Law School
April 17, 2007

"Innovation through Intimidation: Defamation Litigation in China" Benjamin Liebman, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia Law School
March 14, 2006

"Rule of Law Lessons: For China, From Japan, Through an American Lens" Frank Upham, Wilf Family Professor of Property Law, New York University School of Law
November 8, 2004

"Have you eaten? Have you divorced? Debating the meaning of freedom in marriage in China Inaugural Clarke Lecture
William Alford, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, and Director of East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School
October 30, 2003