Return to the Sword: Martial Identity and the Modern Transformation of the Japanese Police
Glasnovich, Ryan Sullivan
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CitationGlasnovich, Ryan Sullivan. 2019. Return to the Sword: Martial Identity and the Modern Transformation of the Japanese Police. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation traces the creation and development of the Japanese police institution in the late-nineteenth century. Drawing on primary and secondary sources written by and for police officers, I focus on the role those officers played in creating their own distinct group and social identities during the formative years of modern policing in Japan. Previous scholarship has invariably taken a Foucauldian approach that situates police officers as tools of a modern, disciplinary state. Using social identity theory, I instead show how police officers actively created their role by developing an identity for themselves that incorporated Western theories of policing, traditional warrior ideologies, and a form of military masculinity. I argue that this martial identity and outlook presupposed police officers to see themselves as warriors on a battlefield rather than civil servants walking a beat. This, in turn, contributed to the authoritarian nature of the imperial Japanese state that developed in the late 1800s.
Focusing on Tokyo, my thesis begins by examining the groundwork laid for modern policing under the Tokugawa shogunate (1600–1868) and the subsequent occupation of Edo by imperial forces at the dawn of the Meiji era (1868–1912). Status-based policing and self-governance were deconstructed in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration as Edo transitioned to Tokyo. I then follow the police through three pivotal periods: the initial creation of a Western-style system, police officers’ service in the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion, and the intensification of militarization in the war’s aftermath. Each stage was a moment of discontinuity and change that offered many possible paths for Japan’s police institution and its officers. The road taken, however, led to a militarized police institution whose officers invariably saw themselves as at war with the ordinary people of Japan.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029818
- FAS Theses and Dissertations 
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