Shoplifting Japanese-English Dictionaries in Shanghai, 1942

I’ve been working on a website to help collect information related to documents in the (International Settlement’s) Shanghai Municipal police (SMP) materials. Since they are mostly in English, they are a wonderful collection for students to explore. This project builds on a resource page I have created here on Frog in a Well related to primary sources on Shanghai history, also with mostly students in mind.

There are so many fascinating, puzzling, and tragic stories in the SMP collections. One I found while browsing today is N-1416, a February, 1942 document “British Subject Arrested By Japanese Consular Police For Shop-Lifting” that includes some details on the arrest.

The international settlement was occupied by Japanese forces on 8 December, 1941. From that point on citizens of what were now enemy nations were in a precarious state of limbo until they were gradually detained and placed into civilian internment camps, especially from March, 1942 onwards, in the Shanghai case. I’m not sure what the fate of the individual in this document is, but on the eve of likely internment by the Japanese, he is caught trying to steal two Japanese-English dictionaries: something I imagine would come in rather useful in the years to come, if he had managed to get away and bring them with him into the internment camp.

British Subject Arrested By Japanese Consular Police For Shop-LiftingRead the full file here: Reports Made 1943-1945 During Japanese Occupation – British Subject Arrested By Japanese Consular Police For Shop-Lifting

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