Organized Panel Session
This paper examines the previously overlooked role of police in Japanese efforts to revise their unequal treaties with Western empires. During the 1880s and 1890s the Japanese government employed a range of political strategies in its efforts to renegotiate treaties and end extraterritoriality. As the most immediate representatives of both the Japanese government and its justice system, police served as a valuable public relations tool. Accordingly, through police training and English education, Japanese policymakers sought to create idealized civil servants that could serve as mediators between Western visitors and their fears about an uncivilized Japan. At the same time, the Japanese police were positioned as gatekeepers who could open the way for a smooth transition to mixed residence in Japan’s interior. By examining the multifarious roles of the Japanese police, this paper reflects on how modern nations employ police for more than state-building and the maintenance of social order.