War, riots, rebellion, sedition, corruption, assassinations, murder, infidelity, and even a failed hanging. These were just some of the many challenges faced by the British and American courts that operated in China, Japan and Korea for close to a 100 years. Established in the mid-19th Century under treaties signed when foreign gunboats forced all three countries to open to the outside world, the foreign courts had the sole right to try their own nationals to the exclusion of local courts. This book unveils the history of this system of extraterritoriality. Based on original research through archives and hundreds of trial transcripts, Justice by Gunboat tells not only the story of the courts and how China and Japan reacted to them but also of the fascinating lives of the judges, lawyers and parties before the courts. Extraterritoriality had a huge impact on the modern development of both China and Japan. For China, the period is now called the “Century of Humiliation”; for Japan the same era is celebrated. If you want to understand how both countries view the world - and each other - this book is a must read.
Justice by Gunboat is an abridgement of the Gunboat Justice trilogy.