Kawaji Toshiyoshi (川路利良)

Toshiyoshi KAWAJI (June 17, 1834-October 13, 1879) was a police bureaucrat and army soldier from the late Edo period to early Meiji period.

His common name was Masanoshin. His Gago (pseudonym) was Ryusen. Although at first he called himself Toshinaga, he seems to have changed his name to Toshiyoshi later.

He gained the Tokyo Metropolitan Police commissioner, shosho (major general) (concurrently be in the military service); he was awarded Shogoi (Senior Fifth Rank) and the Order of Second Class. KAWAJI is called the father of the Japanese police, because he established the structure of modern police system modeling after the western system for the first time in Japan.

He was born as the first son of Toshiai KAWAJI, a yoriki (quasi-samurai class) of Satsuma Domain, in Hishito-mura, close to Kagoshima City, Satsuma Province (now Hishito area, Minayoshi-cho, Kagoshima City). He was highly evaluated by Takamori SAIGO and Toshimichi OKUBO for his distinguished service in Kinmon Incident in 1864. After Meiji Restoration, he held the post of Daikeishi (top of the police department) of Keishi-cho (Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department) (later Tokyo Metropolitan Police commissioner), and devoted himself to the establishment of police system. In 1872 he went to Europe to learn the police systems in countries, and after returning to Japan, he made Joseph Fouche his model and endeavored to establish the Keishi-cho with reference to the French police system.

KAWAJI's sayings about how police officers should behave themselves were later compiled into a book titled "Keisatsu Shugen," which has been widely handed down among police officers as the "bible" of police spirit.

KAWAJI won the great trust of OKUBO, who became Secretary of Interior after the resignation of Takamori SAIGO, and he took the responsible for spying on fuhei shizoku (former samurai with complaints) after the attempted assassination of Tomomi IWAKURA (the Incident of Kuichigai-mitsuke) and the War of SAGA. Immediately before the Seinan War he sent spies to Satsuma--on the pretext that they were returning home--in order to conduct a secret investigation both of SAIGO's supporters and the fuhei shizoku in Satsuma, plotting to create a rift within Saigo's inner circle; one sees from such examples that his abilities were showcased not so much in his general police powers as in his use of spies for intelligence work and tactics designed to throw a group into confusion or create an internal rift.

In January 1877, hearing the government transfer weapons and gunpowder from Satsuma to Osaka, SAIGO's students at Shigakko (schools mainly for warriors) became infuriated and raised a riot, which triggered off the Seinan War. In February Satsuma Army caught all the spies dispatched by KAWAJI and put them under torture-like interrogations, forcing them to write a "confession" saying that KAWAJI ordered them to assassinate SAIGO. This is why Kawaji, as well as OKUBO, became the target of Fuhei shizoku's hate.

After the outbreak of Seinan War, KAWAJI fought at various places in Kyushu region as a brigade commander (Army Major General) of Betsudo-Daisan-ryodan (third stand-alone brigade) composed of Keishi-cho commissaries. His drawn sword squad, the best of swordsmen picked up from commissaries, played an active part in defeating the Satsuma Army in a fierce battle at Tabaruzaka and he participated in the battle for capturing Okuchi in May. After that, he defeated and advanced against Satsuma army after a hard fighting in Miyanojo in June and subsequently he was dismissed from his post of brigade commander and returned to Tokyo.

When the wife of Kiyotaka KURODA died from disease after the end of Seinan War in March 1878, KAWAJI opened her grave to confirm her natural death, because a rumor spread that KURODA had got drunk and killed her. At the time, some suggested that KAWAJI did what he did to cover up the scandal involving KURODA, who also came from Satsuma, and that this incident might well be one underlying cause of the assassination of Toshimichi OKUBO, KAWAJI's political patron, in May of the same year.

In January 1879, KAWAJI left Tokyo for the inspection of foreign police. However, a disease he caught in a ship took him to bed on the day of his arrival in Paris after returning to the hotel from a walk to Palais Royal with his accompanying staff. Since he had coughs and phlegm and occasionally vomited blood, Minister to France Samejima helped him receive a treatment of a local doctor. He had health resort therapy but did not recover. He boarded a mail steamer Yansee on August 24 and came back home on October 8 of the same year. However, his condition became worse after arriving in Tokyo, and he died on October 13. He was 46 years old.
It was rumored that Fujita Zaibatsu, a businessman with political ties in Kansai region, poisoned him for fear of an investigation regarding an alleged corruption

Although KAWAJI is regarded as the person who laid foundation of the Japanese modern police system, he is still now unpopular in his hometown Kagoshima as "a man who attempted to assassinate SAIGO" or "a man who stood against his hometown." He is now beginning to be reevaluated by local people; in 1999 a bronze statue of KAWAJI, proposed by then Director-General Jiro ONO (statesman), was built in front of the police headquarters in Kagoshima Prefecture.

KAWAJI's residence was located in the neighborhood of today's Shimotani Police Office of Keishi-cho. Within the site of the Office stands a stone monument showing the site where his residence once stood.

Additionally, a bus stop near his birthplace in Minayoshi-cho, Kagoshima City, is named Daikeishi (which means the top of police department) after him. A monument stands in his birthplace; bronze statues stand in front of Kagoshima Prefecture Police building and in Kirishima City, Kagoshima Prefecture (former Yokokawa-cho)--a fierce battle field for Betsudo Daisan ryodan led by KAWAJI; and a bronze statue--a work by the sculptor Seibo KITAMURA--stands in the police school run by Keishi-cho.

To acknowledge his achievements, he was enshrined in Yayoi-jinja Shrine (present-day Yayoi memorial hall) in 1885.

Toshiyasu KAWAJI, who successively served as Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture and Governor of Gifu Prefecture, was a nephew of his wife adopted after KAWAJI's death.


During his first visit to Europe in 1872, he wanted to go to the toilet in the train from Marseille to Paris but could not go, so he was forced to empty his bowels on the newspaper he brought from Japan on his seat, throwing feces wrapped in the newspaper from the train window; however, unfortunately it hit a track maintenance man. Since the man took the faces wrapped in Japanese newspaper to the police, a local newspaper reported that a Japanese had thrown away feces. This "happening of throwing away feces" is depicted in the beginning of "Tobuga gotoku" by Ryotaro SHIBA, and a book 'Like Snow Falls in Paris' by Futaro YAMADA (published in "Meiji hato Ka").

After assuming office as Daikeishi, he visited police offices and branch stations all over Tokyo almost everyday after the end of a day's work.

The actual uniform and saber he wore are now on display in the Police Museum.