Minoru Oya

Doctor of Humane Letters

A lawyer and professor of law, a scholar, teacher, and administrator at a distinguished university, Minoru Oya has focused his considerable legal talents on analyzing criminal responsibility in relation to criminal punishment. Yet his concerns have been not only in the abstract theories related to this profound subject, but also in the practical questions of how to protect the rights of individuals.

In addition, he has served since April 2001 as chancellor of The Doshisha, providing a unifying force for a rapidly expanding and changing institution. As Oya himself has said, The Doshisha has taken a “very long journey” since 1875, when Amherst’s President Julius Seelye assisted Niijima Jo, a young Amherst graduate, in the founding of a small Academy for English Studies with two teachers and eight students. Now a respected educational and research institution with 36,000 students, it occupies four campuses and comprises 11 schools (including a women’s college, a kindergarten, and the university). Chancellor Oya has been active in ensuring continued close connections between The Doshisha and Amherst College, encouraging faculty and students from Amherst to pursue study and research in Kyoto, and helping Doshisha faculty conduct research leaves in Amherst.

Even while serving as a university administrator, Chancellor Oya has remained active in the law. The author of numerous professional articles and three books (Treatment of Mental Illness and the Law; An Introduction to Criminal Law;and Mental Behavior and the Law), Chancellor Oya is active in many academic and social organizations—among them the Kyoto Center to Aid Victims of Crime and the World Research Center for Human Rights Issues. His work reflects his deep personal commitment to assisting victims of crime, protecting human rights, educating the public in criminal jurisprudence, law, and mental health and welfare, and enacting national legislation to support these causes. In the 1990s, the Japanese government recognized his many contributions by appointing him an advisor to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice.

Always described as a considerate man, devoted to his wife of many years and to his three grown sons, he has at times been an avid baseball player, and remains a fan of the Hanshin Tigers.

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