No sleep, No rest : A Survey of the Pre-Modern and Meiji Era Police System
By KhunTiffany

Menu Chronology :: Text :: Bibliography


1860 "Settlement Patrol" patrolled from dusk till dawn in Yokohama in groups of 3, 2 carried lanterns 1 held a drum all had wooden protect foreigners
1863 Kanagawa bugyo (magistrate) provided the settlement with deep yellow uniforms "Rape Leaf Brigade"
1867 Joint British and French patrol in Yokohama while 20 ashigaru (low-level) samurai patrolled the perimeter. An Englishman commanded the patrol.

MEIJI year 1

[SEPT3] Edo is changed to Tokyo

[SEPT23] Aizu surrenders

(Kyoto) DAJOKAN (Council of State) controlled the
KEIHOKAN (Criminal Law Department) court system and judicial police functions such as investigating criminal offenses and making arrests
Hoboshi took the role of the yoriki and doshin

GUNMUKAN (Military Dept) maintain public peace, suppress rebels and control rioters

6 han/domains provide personnel for Kyoto-fu chu chimbu mawari (Kyoto City Pacification Patrol)
3 other domains are asked to staff the fire dept


[JULY] Suzuki Mikisaburo staff sergeant in charge of military
affairs and responsible for bringing soldiers, etc. home after the Battle of

[AUG] KEIHOKAN changed to GYOBUSHO (Ministry of Corrections)
GUNMUKAN changed to HEIBUSHO (Armed Forces Ministry)

police trrops now named after patrol districts rather than han affiliations

Fukuzawa Yukichi assigned by the government to study the European model and define "police"
Danjodai was established with exclusive responsibility for surveillance of political conspirators
Danjodai range throughout the country using tactics similar to those of the former bakufu secret inspectors.
They arranged police protection for the British crown prince who visited J. in 1869

Feudal land registers returned to the throne in 1869


[APRIL] police force numbered 2,500

Yamagata Aritomo, with Saigo Tsugumichi (Takamori's younger brother), returns from (France, Belgium, Holland, Prussia,Russia)

French model for the Imperial Army is adopted (there will be a shift to a Prussian/German model in 1883)

[SEPT] Joint British and French patrol in Yokohama moved from the Armed Forces Ministry to the Tokyo-fu (by this time the patrolmen were wearing semi-Western uniforms with the English word "Police" painted on their helmets and paper lanterns)

National Police Bureau issue standards and guidelines to be enforced at the prefectural level ***discrepency

Telegraph service opened between Tokyo and Yokohoma in 1870

*Saitou Hajime, henceforth known as Fujita Goro, moved to the Tonami Prefecture


[APRIL17] Imperial Bodyguard GOSHIMPEI first important military unit under the direct command of the empeor

[AUG24] Danjodai was abolished but its authority/duties moved to the Justice Ministry
[AUG29] Abolition of the han (haihan chiken)

All urban and rural areas received orders from central government about patrolmen

New system based on Western European models was set up in Tokyo
1,000 from Kagoshima (Satsuma) brought by Saigo TAkamori
1,000 from Kagoshima (Satsuma) brought by Toshiyoshi Kawaji
1,000 from other prefectures a ratio of one patrolman to every 3000 city inhabitants

the patrolmen were called torishimari-ko, or collectively as torishimari gumi

Tokyo is divided into six districts

[DEC7] government had suggested that the traditional samurai hairdress, clothes, and swords be given up voluntarily ***discrepancy [Hackett [p76]
August 1871 the gov. had suggested that the traditional samurai hairdress, clothes, and swords be given up voluntarily, but few relinquished their badges of social standing so readily

dec 7, 1875 Yamagata in his capacity as army minister, proposed the abolition of the ancient sword-carrying privilege of the samurai class. In his view, the development of conscription and national garrisons for defense and a police force for the protection of citizens obviated the carrying of weapons by a single group. HIs charge was that many surly and reckless individuals, unaware of the changing times, flaunted their pride and committed reckless acts in the name of defending the he proposed that all weapons outside of the army should be placed under military control and the wearing of swrods should be abolished at once."


[APRIL] Tokyo fu changed the name of the six district torishimari gumi stations to daiku yakusho (large district offices)

[July] torishimari gumi re-named RASOTSU

Joint British and French patrol in Yokohama abolished

Toshiyoshi Kawaji leaves on the (Iwakura Mission) studying continental police
(France, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Austria, and Italy)
*France was determined to be the ideal model since the onset of the trip

1000 more patrolmen added to the TMPD (SAFE TO CALL IT TMPD RIGHT NOW?)
Tokyo patrolmen were transferred to the Justice Ministry and new police officials were established in the ministry
Move to separate the police and military

Calendar reform and compulsory education in 1872

[SEPT 29] Police Bureau KEIHORYU created

Fujita Goro starts working for the police (rumor)


Universal Conscription
Toshiyoshi Kawaji returns from the (Iwakura Mission) and petitions the government

[JUNE] Local law enforcement personnel who fulfilled patrol and guard functions labelled as "bannin", who are now under the control of the central government

Home Ministry (Naimusho) which controlled the Police Bureau (Keishikyoku/keihokyoku)

land tax reform

[NOV25] firefighting given to Police Bureau KEIHORYU from Tokyo-fu


[JAN9] Police moved from the Ministry of Justice (Shihosho) to the Ministry of Home Affairs (NAIMUSHO/Home Ministry) in accordance with the recommendation of Kawaji Toshiyoshi. Police will remain in the Ministry of Home Affairs until [1947]

The new police agency was named the POLICE BUREAU

[JAN14] TMPD/Keishicho organized under a separate Metropolitan Police Board (semi-autonomous) linked to the Interior Ministry

[FEB2] RASOTSU re-named JUNSA (constable) ***discrepency

[FEB20] Police receive 7,000 small arms from the army

[FEB] Eto Shimpei and Itagaki TAisuke armed insurrection in Saga to force gov to adopt the Korean invasion plan
Okubo suppressed rebellion and Eto executed

Keishicho/TMPD sent to Saga, Kumamoto, Yamaguchi and Ibaraki prefects to put down farmer and samurai rebellion

*the arming of the police was NOT in anticipation of the various rebellions... Toshiyoshi Kawaji had already made the suggestion for arming the police before the rebellion

85 gaslights were installed on the mainstreet in Ginza
*Yoshiwara (red-light district) was the supposed to be the first location however the fire at Ginza and subsequent rebuilding made the area a priority

[JUNE10] Fujita Goro moves to Tokyo and marries Takagi Tokio of Aizu


[JAN9] Torishimari gumi became united under the term rasotsu ***discrepency

Toshiyoshi Kawaji is now the Daikeishi

"bannin" changed to RASOTSU ***discrepancy some called the 1871 patrolmen RASOTSU

[1875-1945] Administrative Police Regulation (gyosei keisatsu kisoku) gave adjudication duties to the Ministry of Justice (Shihosho)
*basically a separation of administrative and judicial police
*police however retained the authority to issue ordinances and perform quasi-judicial functions

shiho keisatsu (judicial police) investigate/arrest law breakers
gyosei keisatsu (admin/preventative police) preventative

gyosei expected to follow procedures outlined in the SHIHO KEISATSU KISOKU (Regulations for the Justice Police)


[March] Sword Prohibition Act

gaslights installed from Ginza to Asakusa and westward from Ginza to the palace

[November 30th] from CLARA's DIARY...on a fire near Ginza by Kyobashi "the streets were lined by household goods or heaps of smoking ashes while people were busy here and there, policemen aiding them in every way." (Steele 110)


[JAN] Satsuma Rebellion/Seinan War
Keishicho/TMPD abolished (due to financial pressures and internal disorder)

[JAN11] Police Bureau KEIHORYU in Home Ministry NAIMUSHO changed to Police Board KEIHO KYOKU

TMPD/Keishicho moved to Police Board KEIHO KYOKU

Toshiyoshi Kawaji appoint head of the Police Board KEIHO KYOKU

[FEB20] Fujita Goro appointed to be an inspector ***interesting because the Keishicho was abolished

[MARCH] Toshiyoshi Kawaji appointed Major General SHOSHO in the army and Chief Superintendent of POlice KAIKESHI (Daikeishi?) ***discrepancy

[MAY] Fujita Goro participates in the Satsuma Rebellion/Seinan War

Yokohama pic?

[OCT28] Fujita Goro returns to Tokyo

Keishicho/TMPD re-established


[MARCH28] Fujita Goro appointed as a sub-inspector (assistant inspector?)

[MAY] Okubo Toshimichi assassinated

[AUG] Takebashi Mutiny in the Imperial Army 213 soldiers punished and 53 executed in front of a firing squad
***some received reduction in pay or a delay in rewards for their part in the Satsuma Rebellion
***mutiny reveals shizoku/ex-samurai discontent towards the oligarchy

CLARA's DIARY "Last night was one of terror. About eleven o'clock a battalion of soldiers made an insurrection at their headquarters at Takebashi, near the Kaisei Gakko. We were wakened about that time by five guns, which we knew came from the place and were signals of distress. Not five minutes afterwards Nagatacho was alive with people hurrying towards the palace or the Rikugunsho [Army Ministry]. Officers in disguise rode alone and unattended without lights...Regiments of foot and horse soldiers filed past as well as large companies of police armed with swords. Dark mysterious horsemen wrapped in military cloaks came slowly by and all the city seemed in a suppressed excitment. Mama said she saw three men in dark clothing meet at the corner and talk in low subdued tones as if in fear of being overheard...At the beginning of the last war [Seinan War], the Mikado paid some of the troups generously while the later participants were forgotten or neglected. These began to grumble, and others followed their example. Soon the whole battalion was in mutiny and on Friday night openely rebelled...This morning those rebellious soldiers were bound and escorted by the other loyal soldiers to the Saibansho (Courthouse)." (Steele 198-9) [Footnote by Steele Killing an officer, arming themselves and deserting their regiments, about 200 soldiers fromt he ranks of the Imperial Guards tried to set fire to the palace and assassinate high government officials, but were supressed before achieving their objectives. The Insurrectionist's main grievance was the unequal distribution of honors for their role in helping deal with the Satsuma Rebellion."

Central Telegraph Office opened and the main attraction was an electirc bulb which burned out in 15 minutes


Toshiyoshi Kawaji dies during his return from his 2nd trip to Europe ***discrepency he died 5 days after returning date? I CAN'T BELIEVE WE DON'T HAVE A STRAIGHT STORY ON HIS DEATH

Conscription law revised from 7 to 10 years

[AUG 18] CLARA's DIARY "...the rumor of General Grant's assassination...the judge submitted this letter at once to Mr. Terashima, minister of foreign affairs, who informed him privately that he had received the same intelligenc and sent out a company of trusty police, who discovered that the perpetrator of this contemptible threat was an Englishman!"

[AUG4] Fujita Goro appointed to be an inspector

[OCT8] Fujita Goro receives a medal, Order of the Blue Paulownia and 100 yen

1880 Public Meeting Ordinance meetings required police *approval*...police could now disperse meetings
police and military personel were not allowed to participate in political meetings and associations
Mid 1880s

Higher Police KOTO KEISATSU formed to specialize in political surveillance

Police control infrastructures such as the postal and telegraph systems


[JAN4] the military police (kempei) were organized by order of the Council of State

[JAN19] Fujita Goro appointed by the army to the rank of "Goyoogakari"

[SEPT9] Fujita Goro leaves the position of "Goyoogakari"

[NOV11] Fujita Goro appointed sergeant (actually under the rank of inspector)

Imperial decree promising a constitution

Suzuki Mikisaburo, police chief in Tsuruoka (Yamagata Prefecture)? was in charge of security for the Emperor's tour. Since Suzuki worked in a rural area he may have provided additional security.


Arc light was successfully installed at the Ginza offices of Okura enterprises (not clear if it was gaslight or electric)

Imperial Edict to soldiers, sailors, police, teachers and the public service sector in general

[NOV26] Fujita Goro fought against Tomiyama Madoka (sergeant) in a tournament/demonstration sponsored by the TMPD (final result = draw)


By this year all men in the army were supplied by the Universal Conscription laws

Conscription law was revised extended to 12 years

Army enters a transition phase from the French model to German model due to Prussia's victory over France in 1871


Police training school in each prefecture with centrally set curricula and instructors who were graduates of the National Police Officers Training Institute

Suzuki Mikisaburo retires from the police force.


Yamagata Aritomo is now the Home Minister ***discrepency Yamagata A. home minister in 1883

Law of Summary Procedure of Police Offenses (ikeizai sokketsu rei) allowed chiefs in stations to prosecute and adjudicate "police offenses" (ikeizai), usually dealing with public morality....fine of less than twenty yen and detention for less than thirty days

Police training institute founded for officials with rank of inspector and above

[JULY3] Fujita Goro appointed inspector


Organization of the TMPD/Keishicho subject to the direct supervision of the Home Minister

"higher police" (echos of Danjo

and precurser to the Tokko) was used in an imperial decree and defined the duties as related to the surveillance of organisations, meetings, newspapers, magazines, documents and other publications dealing with politics

1887 Press Ordinance allowed the Home Minister, Yamagata Aritomo to prohibit the sale and distribution of books and NEWSPAPERS

Yamagata Aritomo issued the Peace Preservation Ordinance prohibited secret organisations and meetings
the police could not prohibit outdoor meetings even though it may have received approval earlier

Yamagata ordered the expulsion of 600 individuals residing within 3 ri (12 kilometers) of the Imperial Palace and prohibit entry and exit of the residence for up to 3 years. The order was resisted by both Kiyoura Keigo (Dir. of the Keihokyoku) and Mishima Michitsune (Super. General of the Keishicho), however Yamagata threatened to carry out the order himself. 570 People were removed.


"higher police" section established in Osaka

[NOV1] Fujita Goro appointed "Chief Inspector" ***discrepency I have not found this rank in any of my sources


Article 9 of the Meiji Constitution police were empowered to issue 'ordinances necessary for the carrying out of the laws, or for the maintenance of the public peace and order, and for the promotion of the welfare of the subjects' (Bayley 1976:36)

Butoku Kai Enbu Tournament in Kyoto
Kendo Shodan Shiken (ranking examination) and the shogo (honorary) title established


Yamagata Aritomo is now the Prime Minister

[JAN23] Fujita Goro fought against Watanabe Yutaka in a tournament/demonstration sponsored by the TMPD (final result = Fujita Goro won)


First detective agency founded in Tokyo

[April 2] Fujita Goro retired from the police department and received a job at the Tokyo Education Museum in affiliation with the Tokyo Teacher College

1894-5 Sino-Japanese War
1895 Dai Nipon Butoku Kai a national organization to popularize kendo established
1898 Peace Preservation Ordinance lifted
1900 Security Police Law of 1900 (Chian Keisatsu ho) PROHIBITING women's participation in political meetings

Russo-Japanese War (victor=Japan)

[1905] Keishicho/TMPD nearly abolished

[1905] Hibiya Park Incident (police vs. protestors)

1906 Dai Nippon Butoku Kai selected three basic kata to be taught in grade schools

Tokko (Special Higher Police/tokubetsu koto keisatsu) established in the TMPD/Keishicho

Educational reform mandated the incorporation of kendo into the system

1912 Dai Nippon Teikoku Kendo Kata formed to teach kendo fundamentals to high school students

Tokko (Special Higher Police/tokubetsu koto keisatsu) regulated publications, motion pictures, associations, political meetings and election campaigns as well as to control thoughts and political crimes

Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (All Japan Kendo Federation) established

1936 [JULY] establishment of the Cabinet Information Committee (Naikaku Joho Iinkai) dedicated to propaganda and media suppression
1941 [DEC7] Pearl Harbor
1945 end of WWII

Ministry of Home Affairs (Home Ministry) abolished

[DEC] 1947 to June 1954 the Police Law was implemented to democratize the system

1950 Korean War Occupation forces left Japan to engage the enemy and the National Police Reserve (kokka keisatsu yobitai) was formed , they were given American weapons, uniforms and the Self-Defense Force (jieitai) was formed

[JUNE] Gen. MacArthur relieved of the office of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP)

[MAY2] Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway announced the relaxing of Occupation control
*signalling the revision of the Police Law

Police Law in place was amended and smaller communities merged their police force with the National Rural Police which created a centralized force

1952 1952 the U.S. Japan peace treaty was signed
1953 All-Japan Kendo Federation (Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei) established

[MAY] Police Law passed (program of re-centralization) set up a system of prefectural forces under the central control of the National Police Agency (NPA)

National Public SAfety Commission
National Police Agency (NPA or Keisatsu-cho)
Public Safety Commission
Prefectural forces

1956 legislation passed throught the National Diet reverting the system to some 70 years (with democratic checks)
  Security Police (Koan Keisatsu) =counter intelligence, surveillance of political extremists
Riot Police (Kidotai or rapid mobilisation troop)
all subdivisions concerning internal national security are controlled from Tokyo

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