One of my goals in writing for The Japan Times over the years has been to try to render the seemingly arcane functioning of the Japanese legal system a bit more comprehensible to non-Japanese, non-legal types. This involves a big assumption that I understand it myself, but I have at least tried to offer up an analytical framework for trying to understand how things work in the legal sphere here (executive summary: You will probably lose).

Upon reflection, however, I fear that as a lawyer myself I sometimes may be too verbose, too meandering in my expositions about the quirks of Japanese law. Further reflection also brought the realization that I live in a country which has a well-established, powerful medium for conveying complex emotional situations in a minimal number of words: haiku. Since satirizing the inanities of daily life through senryū (a type of haiku) is also a popular pastime in Japan, it seems like a particularly apt medium for some of the things I write about. So without further ado, I offer up the following as my own attempted renderings in that format on the subject of Japanese law, justice and government.

You want a lawyer?
But without confessing first?
"Very difficult"