Strict Gun Laws in Japan Scare the Yakuza

Jake Adelstein of The Japan Times, interviewed a retired Detective of the Kanto region with 25+ years experience pursuing violations of the Firearms Control Law.

In Japan,obtaining a firearm is nearly impossible and owning or selling one is illegal. Shooting a firearm? Possibly life in prison. The police do discern that people kill and not the gun, however the gun makes it easier so they banned possession of small arms in 1965. The police try to catch and imprison any violators, long before they can pull a trigger.

Japan does allow the possession of hunting rifles, shotguns and air rifles (for sporting purposes), however there are strict checks and restrictions involved with them.

You have to bring your rifle in every year for inspection. You have to pass a drug test. You can’t have a criminal record. A doctor has to certify you’re mentally and physically healthy. You have to actually go to the firing range and show that you can use the weapon. If you have any sort of issue, we’re going to take away your firearms. Sometimes, police officers even go to the neighborhoods where a gun owner lives and interview neighbors to make sure the owner isn’t causing problems or having issues with his spouse

The police also focus on Nemuri-Ju (sleeping guns). Guns that are legally possessed but the owner is too old to fire them properly, then the firearm is confiscated.

The fewer guns that are out there, the safer Japan is. That’s how we look at it

In 2008, a white-collar worker in Shikoku, tried to renew his shotgun registration with a forged medical certificate. After extensive checking, the police discovered the deception, he was arrested and his shotgun was confiscated.

According to the National Police Agency’s 2012 White Paper on Crime, in 2011 there were 246,783 licensed firearms in Japan, and 122,515 licensed owners out of a population of more than 126 million. In the same year, 27 people were denied permission to own a weapon, and 95 others had their permits taken away. Compare these figures with 2009 — when there were 299,939 licensed firearms and 142,294 licensed owners — and it’s clear these numbers are falling. So, too, are the number of shootings and gun deaths.

In Japan, only the cops and Yakuza have guns. In the past, the public did not mind as most shootings were between fellow gang members. They were thinning themselves down. However recently due to more strict laws training with firearms is nigh impossible so recent shootings have more stray bullets.

A huge turning point on the war against gangs with guns was back in December 26, 1997. The police acted on a tip and cornered a gang boss, Kaneyoshi Kuwata. They roadblocked his convoy of Mercedes cars, searched all of the cars and found a pistol. They were able to charge Kaneyoshi as an accomplice on gun possession charges, he went to jail for seven years.

Under current laws, if a low-level yakuza is caught with a gun and bullets that match, he’ll be charged with aggravated possession of firearms and will then face an average seven-year prison term. Simply firing a gun carries a penalty of three years to life.

Not even the police are exempt from scrutiny. When the police practice shooting their firearms, they are given an allotment of bullets. After their practice, every casing must be accounted for. If one goes missing, the entire station is in a panic.

The gun laws are so strict in Japan, they a person can be charged with a crime even after death.

A few years ago, an officer on duty used his gun to kill himself — clearly non-designated usage, so that’s a crime. He was charged posthumously to publicly show that even the dead can’t get away with breaking the firearms laws, and to shame his family. It may seem like overkill but it drives home the point.


There is a downside to this reaction to firearms. By shunning people from them, there is a lack of respect for the firearm. When I was in college, I was studying Japanese. I volunteered for a program to assist Japanese foreign exchange students. My job was to help facilitate their exposure to American Culture. Part of that was taking them places to experience American Culture. I took them to a local indoor pistol range. The first two guys rented revolvers. One of them immediately picked it up and pointed it at the other and asked him to take his picture. I immediately grabbed the barrel and pushed it down to the ground. The store employee was flabbergasted. I had to explain to him that they were Japanese exchange students and did not have proper firearm safety lessons. These kids never grew up around firearms so they do not have the proper respect for how dangerous they can be. I grew up with hunting rifles and shotguns in my parents’ house. Even my years in the Boy Scouts taught me some firearm safety. These guys had nothing. After I explained the firearm safety rules, they enjoyed shooting the pistols and revolvers at the range.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • john huscio

    Well now I know I could never live in Japan……

    • KestrelBike

      I couldn’t live in Australia because of the speed limits/fines/tickets (oh and their gun measures are still pretty bad). Until I hear an Aussie/Kiwi girl (yes I know the latter are in NZ) speak, then I’m instantly in love…

  • Sushi went brutal

    Ugh, as a Japanese, I have to say that most of Japanese foreign exchange students are equal to worst idiots in Japan. REALLY.
    Why they did that is not because they grew up in Japan. They were just idiots.
    Because those idiots always want to go, common Japanese students never want.
    Please excuse us for our disrespect.

    OK btw about guns there’s more…probably restricted gun laws got even tighter , after police boss (Commissioner General) Takaji Kunimatsu was shot by .357 magnum, back in 1995(3 bullets hit to torso, his heart stopped 3 times while surgery, though he returned to work 2 months after).

    • Nicholas Chen

      You cant say that Japanese know what do do when handling a firearm. Aside from the hardcore Mil-Sim Airsofters, most people in Japan are just not brought up with proper firearm safety handling.

      • Sushi went brutal

        Yeah, most of us don’t know how to ‘operate’ them.
        But most of Japanese never point something that could be danger to others, no matter what. NEVER(Most of us never point someone ,even with closed scissors).
        That’s why they are idiots and why none of Japanese wants to involve with them.

        • KestrelBike

          Thanks for all your comments/info! Can you tell more on why exactly Japanese don’t respect Japanese foreign exchange students who go to the US? Is it because they’re wasting time they should be spending preparing for their ultimate careers in Japan, or because they can learn just as much in Japan about American language/culture than they could studying over here in the US?

          • Sushi went brutal

            Thanks for your interest , too.
            We think oversea experiences will be great, though there are too many damn things to do to get decent scores(to get a decent job) in the university…( Oversea experiences are underrated X( )
            So who will decide to go foreign exchange is either very eager to know(10%) ,or want to go “legit” oversea leisure with parents’ money(90%).
            We never considered people who tried foreign exchange as foolish, but who went for it was mostly stupid, in result (like those Japaneses who rode 4-seater car with 8 people and crashed in California last year).

            Though most of us are very curious and having respect to foreign cultures.
            Hope we could have better chances to study overseas in the future.

          • Dan

            I have seen similar tendencies with Native Americans here. If one leaves the reservation they are kind of an outcast. It isn’t widespread but it does happen. They take the attittude of “what you think you’re better than us” or “you too good to live on the rez?”

      • Sianmink

        Most Europeans I’ve seen don’t know which end of a gun is which, and their laws, strict as they are, are fairly permissive in comparison. Japan has stricter gun laws than about anywhere except Korea, so there’s simply no reason to expect knowledge of any sort there.

        • marffy

          depends on what you mean with Europeans

          the nordic countries, germany,, switzerland, holland belgium and others all had conscript armies until a few years ago, most able bodied males did a year of military training

          Hunting is also prevailant and requires hunting safety exams.

          pistolshooters in Sweden and other countries have both safety AND skill requirments for gun licenses, 3 46/50 scores (onehanded at 25 meters on a comparable to NRA bullseye target) just to get a license and have to renew it every year! so the average swedish shooter is way more skilled then the average american one

          • Sianmink

            Yeah, the Swiss and Nordics I know are pretty cool about it. It’s the ‘civilized’ French (French countryside folk are ok), Germans under 50 years old, and every Brit I know is utterly clueless.

          • iksnilol

            Balkan is also pretty good in regards to guns. Mainly because most people kept theirs for the next war (heck, I should know. I am from there).

          • marffy

            yeah I have heard stories about oldtimers “watering” their gardens with motoroil 😛

            only immigrants I have hunted withi n Sweden have been from the Balkans (I am Swede)

      • iksnilol

        In general stupid people (no matter where they are from) do the stupid stuff like pointing the gun at people.

        • Dan

          I have seen enough of that here in rural South Dakota. Just because America has a gun culture does not mean every American knows how to conduct themselves with a gun.

          • Daisuke0222

            I’d venture to say that most Americans don’t know the basics of gun safety, even with gun ownership is broad as it is here. One has only to watch the news to find examples of otherwise well-meaning citizens who still do stupid things with guns on a pitiably regular basis.

    • Mario AK

      Sorry for going off subject, but I’ve always wanted to ask someone living in Japan if it’s true the police can keep you in custody for 30 days without presenting any charges??? I heard it in a documentary and haven’t had it confirmed since…

      • Sushi went brutal

        Literally yes. Not even 30 days.
        3 years ago, a man visited seven eleven was suddenly suspected as a robber and soon sent to custody for 10 months.
        Ofcourse he was innocent.
        There’s no “48 hours” restriciton in Japan.
        If prosecutors want, anyone should be in custody as long as they want(Officially there is 1 month restriciton, though they can make any extension that they “need”).
        Police never made even an apology for this “case” yet.

        • Mario AK

          Damn… I still hope to visit someday, thanks.

          • Sushi went brutal

            No problem, since cops and prosecutors are also Japanese, they will be very polite to any visitor has legit passport.
            Have fun if you had chance(s) ;D

          • Mario AK

            I will.

  • From an outsider’s perspective, Japan seems homogeneous/high-trust/stable enough that it can make the best of bad policies like the one above. In America though, I’d never want to be parted from a sidearm.

    • Fixed Sight Training

      In Japan, if there is a murder but no conviction it’s not considered a murder. The UK is the same way so there is no way to know what the murder rate is. They are more interested in proving a failed policy than protecting people. This came from an article I read about cheating in Sumo wrestling where a wrestler went public and was shot and stabbed several time but it was considered an accident. Also, in Japan according to the same article, it’s considered “dishonorable” to not solve a crime so if the detective doesn’t know who committed it up front the murder will probably be written off as accidental

      • allannon


      • iksnilol

        Any source on that? I am interested.

        • Fixed Sight Training

          My mistake, originally saw it on “frontline” then confirmed through another article. I’m looking for it.

          • sauerquint

            I remember the ‘Frontline’ report, the sumo related stuff I remember from ‘Freakonomics’.

      • Sushi went brutal

        I couldn’t identify certain case, but I guess it’s case about the death of Rikido-zan(famous ex-sumo wrestler).
        He had messed with a yakuza in public, got stabbed many times and died later.
        In this case, yakuza who stabbed him was soon arrested.

        Though “dishonorable” cases are actually exist.
        There were almost ridiculous cases like “victim who was buried alive in concrete found at bottom of the sea”, considered as “suicide”.

      • The Forty ‘Twa

        You are hopelessly misinformed about the way homicides are counted in the UK. I serve as a police officer in Scotland so I will try and explain it to you as best I can. Homicide data is split up between Scotland, England and Wales and Northern Ireland because all three countries have their own legal systems. Scottish law is very different to that in the rest of the UK, NI is similar to E&W.

        The way homicides are counted in Scotland relies on police reports, not convictions. Not every report will have a conviction that relates to it but it doesn’t matter, it will still be counted as a homicide.

        In E&W, they are counted in a slightly different manner, taking into account the outcome at court where appropriate.

        “When the police initially record an offence as a homicide it remains classified as such unless the police or courts decide that a lesser offence, or no offence, took place.”

        For reference, in 2012/13 eight homicides in E&W were removed from the data set because of this. It isn’t often that it happens.

        I don’t know enough about the set up in NI to comment. I suspect it is similar to E&W.

        So, your point about no conviction meaning no recorded homicide is completely wrong. In Scotland, it will count towards the homicide statistics if the police initially record it as such regardless of the outcome. In E&W it would only not be counted if it were decided that no homicide had taken place which seems rather sensible to me. What might appear to be a suspicious death at first might later be reclassified as a suicide once the investigation is complete or a court might decide that a homicide hasn’t actually taken place.

        Homicides in Scotland actually used to be counted in the same way as E&W but since 2006/07 that hasn’t been done due to problems with obtaining the disposal data so they are likely to be over recorded in Scotland.

      • J Garcia Sampedro

        I never trust any crime or violence statistic coming from Japan since the early nineties Interpol reports about how they were handled. The word “propaganda” was used a few times too.

    • iksnilol

      Japan isn’t as homogenous as you’d think but they are in general very xenophobic (don’t be surprised if people want to take a picture with you if you are a white or a black guy).

      • Going over there was the only time I have felt like a celebrity. Being 6’4″ with green eyes, they all stare and ask for pictures and in rural area they try and interact as best they can. We had a tall woman with red hair on our trip and all the men loved her. A young boy even tried to hold her hand!

      • I’d be flattered if they wanted a picture with an American like myself. I also don’t despise them for wanting to preserve their ethnos unlike some other posters here.

  • Resident CT

    I was in Japan 20 years ago as a teen. I got to hang around with a group of Japanese teens and they were really into Airsoft Replica guns. I recall going to a park in a group of 8 or so “well armed” teens. There were from Lugers to Colt 1911s, AR15s, all realistic, and no stupid orange tip. Nobody looked at us twice. We played war in the park for several hours and afterward walked back to one of the kids homes, where he had a arsenal of dozens of airsoft guns. There wasn’t even a hint of it being unusual, it was just no big deal for a large group of kids to carry down a street to a park.

    Japanese kids at that time and probably now LOVE guns. The culture or poor gun handling is probably more from having too much exposure to “safe” guns.

  • I have seen men skeet shooting in Japan, so I am sure owning a firearm is not illegal.

    Edit: looked it up, you can get a shotgun if you adhere to laws similar to the UK.

    • iksnilol

      They also are dying out and are very xenophobic.

      So I think I prefer the American or Swiss version (tho when I was in Switzerland I didn’t see any assault rifles or guns carried openly).

      • They certainly have a low birth rate, but I have not experienced Japanese Xena phobia firsthand. If they speak English, they are quite anxious to come and talk with you to try and both practice English and learn about you. In very rural areas, it is not uncommon for people to stare at you or even ask for photo opportunities.
        But they do ask things like “Oh Texas! Do you shoot guns!?”.

        • BryanS

          Huge difference in being a guest to the Japanese, or having them as a guest, than trying to live and integrate in Japan as a foreigner.

          Ive been a guest in Japan, and with my convention work, have had multiple Japanese guests over the years. Experiences are for the most part, all the same and very polite. Its a fully different culture.

        • iksnilol

          Difference between tourist/visitor and somebody trying to live there (as in integrate/settle).

        • Ben

          You’ve also got to bear in mind that in rural Japan they may have never seen a non-Japanese person in the flesh before.

          The population of Japan is 98.5% ethnically Japanese, and half of the non-Japanese are still east-Asian, and almost all of the gaijin population live in Tokyo.

        • FourString

          Try working there as a foreigner in a corporate setting. You’ll see things in a much more different light.

          • Hyok Kim

            Try working as a peon under a Chinese boss. I’d rather work under an American or Japanese boss.

      • SP mclaughlin

        I think most of their xenophobia is directed at the Chinese and other Asians, probably not Westerners.

        • Avery

          Actually, anti-Western xenophobia does exist, but tends to be less overt and more passive-aggressive than the racism direct toward other Asians and other immigrants. Stuff like trying to order something and getting “You Americans wouldn’t like/understand it” or ignoring or refusing service.

          • Bart

            As a blue eyed 6’4″ American married to a Japanese lady, I obviously stand out in Japan, but everybody has always been extremely kind, loving, and generous to me. I am a bit of a novelty/celebrity among friends and family there. Japanese people like Americans pretty well (especially tall white Americans). They are more xenophobic about other Asians, and Africans. I’ve got a friend from Bangladesh who married a Japanese woman. I think its been a bit harder for them than it has been for us.
            I also know that as a foreigner “gaijin”, I’ll never totally “fit in” in Japan.

          • Sulaco

            As I recall they don’t want immigrants either, in order to become a Japanese citizen for example you have to take tests that show you read and write fluent Japanese just for starters…..hmmm must write letter to congresscritter.

          • Paladin

            You can’t become a Japanese citizen unless you are ethnic Japanese. Closest you can get is resident alien status.

            There are actually a fair number of ethnic Koreans living in Japan, who have lived there for generations, but they’re still not Japanese citizens.

          • iksnilol

            As one foreigner to another: You do well if you remember that you will never be one of them. No matter how much of yourself and your roots you abandon. Integrate, don’t assimilate.

          • nadnerbus

            Not sure what nation you reside in, but no one in the States should ever feel that way.

            I have a friends who are either born in foreign countries, or have parents who emigrated from foreign countries just prior to their births. One Canadian (naturalized), one Pakistani, one Japanese (naturalized), two Iranians (sorry! Persian), a room mate with a Chinese father and Filipino mother, Mexicans, a Costa Rican (tico!), Indonesian, Russian. I consider every one of them to be just as American as I am.

            That is not happy rah rah BS either. I believe that in my heart of hearts.

            By all means, hold on to your roots. Everyone should know where they came from. But in the US, E plurbus unum should never be just a slogan.

          • iksnilol

            Doesn’t work like that in the rest of the world, sadly. That’s one of the admirable things with American culture IMO.

            At least in most cases.

          • noob

            Have you read Gaijin Smash (now Gaijin Chronicles)? It’s a blog by Jeffrey “Azrael” Windham, an African-American who moved to Japan as part of the JET teacher exchange.

          • M40

            I’m getting really sick of the “xenophobic” description of Japan. A “xenophobic” culture keeps to themselves, and fears the outside world. In case everyone has forgotten, Japan is a country that attempted to enslave half the world. The dirty secret is that they don’t fear outsiders, they consider most of them to be inferior. Much like their former axis partners, they consider themselves to be the ‘master’ race of the east.

            Germany is terribly ashamed and apologetic about their role in atrocities. Japan on the other hand, is unapologetic and resides in a state of permanent denial. Most of the atrocities have been written out of their history books. In the case of the Nanking massacre, it is alternately explained as ‘exaggerated’, to ‘China did it to themselves’, to ‘it never happened’. The systematic starvation, enslavement, torture and murder of allied prisoners is also claimed to be either exaggerated or false.

            Notice that those in this forum who were treated like ‘rock stars’ when visiting Japan, are the tall, blonde and blue eyed… the Western ‘master’ race that the Japanese were taught to admire. Japan treats all other Asians and any westerner who doesn’t fit the mold… as inferiors. Japan is not ‘xenophobic’, they are bigots, and despised by the rest of Asia for their views, their actions, and their unapologetic stances.

            I have traveled to Chinese manufacturing plants, and have watched as Japanese businessmen treated everyone they met with disdain and contempt. I worked for several years at an American company that was purchased by a large Japanese company. It was a miserable experience that I hope to never repeat. They treated us like mongrels while stripping every shred of technology they could get their hands on. Once they’d grabbed all the tech they could glean, they systematically closed us down.

            There are many in here who have commented that Japan’s constitution forbids an offensive military force (as if they made some voluntary choice to do so). Their constitution was written in 1947 (while Macarthur was in full command of Japan). It was written on Macarthur’s orders, and in strict accordance with the fundamentals laid out in the Potsdam Declaration of 1945. This included all of the human rights, democratic provisions, and military restrictions demanded by the allies. The military restrictions were again agreed to in the Treaty of Peace with Japan (signed in San Francisco, 1951), before the allies left Japan. So the only reason that Japan has a “defense only” military status is that they are forbidden anything else… and for VERY good reason!

          • FourString

            Shinto Abe is moving their forces into the offensive direction, iirc.. He is very expansionist and it’s alarming all the other Asian countries. Everyone there is afraid of history repeating itself. Especially with altered history texts taught to the young, the newer generations cannot learn from the mistakes of their past.

            All my Japanese friends at university absolutely confirmed that the texts are absent from their curriculum. It’s alarming, especially when pondering the long term intentions of Japan’s leadership.

          • Hyok Kim

            Did U.S. mention about killing and robbing the Natives back in the good old days?

          • M40

            Yup… in fact more than that. Our history books condemn our actions against the native Americans in the worst possible light. They have largely edited out the terrible pre-history of native America where tribes were slaughtering each other long before the first European set foot on the continent, They have edited out all of the peaceful interactions, and kept only the worst parts.

          • Hyok Kim

            “Did U.S. mention about killing and robbing the Natives back in the good old days?” – Hyok Kim to FourString

            Yup… in fact more than that. Our history books condemn our actions against the native Americans in the worst possible light. They have largely edited out the terrible pre-history of native America where tribes were slaughtering each other long before the first European set foot on the continent, They have edited out all of the peaceful interactions, and kept only the worst parts.

            Not according to the high school history books I’ve studied in 1986

          • Hyok Kim

            “I have traveled to Chinese manufacturing plants, and have watched as Japanese businessmen treated everyone they met with disdain and contempt. I worked for several years at an American company that was purchased by a large Japanese company. It was a miserable experience that I hope to never repeat. They treated us like mongrels while stripping every shred of technology they could get their hands on. Once they’d grabbed all the tech they could glean, they systematically closed us down” – M40

            That has not been my experience as I have worked both under Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Americans.

            Japanese and Americans treated me better.Koreans were more consistent when it came to treating the underlings.

            With Chinese, if they think you were powerful enough, they were nice, but if they thought you were weaker than them, they treated you worse than the other three.

          • Paladin

            Everybody selectively edits their textbooks, the U.S. has done it too, doesn’t make it OK, but doesn’t make it particularly exceptional either.

        • marfyy

          I am a 6’4 blonde Swede and i felt like a rockstar in Japan,(: xenophobia for sure just not negative if you get what I mean
          I had total strangers pull my beard, grab my biceps and so on. kids touched my tattoos

          • mzungu

            Rock Star, or Circus Freak?

      • Hyok Kim

        What about Yemen?

    • Cornelius Carroll

      That is very interesting but it makes sense that regulation be compatible with a country’s culture. I suppose that makes any sort of regulation rather difficult here in the states.

      • I agree wholeheartedly.

        • Hyok Kim

          Does this mean then U.S and Yemen have something in common?

      • Blaser270

        They had a leadership that was crazy and nearly destroyed their people. But as a culture it certainly appeared that they were willing to die for their cause. Evidently very few have the ability to think on their own and say,’ Wait a minute, What the hell are we doing?’ The nukes dropped by the Americans taught some serious lessons and woke some of their leadership up that they would be wiped off the planet. Had we not had those weapons, they and us would have lost many a life in trying to end the mess they started. If there ever was an example of why citizens need guns it’s that theirs didn’t have any and had no choice but to submit to being part of a war that wasn’t going to really win anything. Submitting blindly to the government’s wishes can be hazardous to your health.

        Got off the track a bit but that’s why their countrymen and women submit to the government. Ours aren’t that brainwashed and ours don’t trust their government. The latter being a trait passed down from the founding fathers who didn’t trust governments either.

        • noob

          It would be a mistake to think that the people of Japan were mindless robots or fanatics during the second world war – instead they were thinking people who submitted to orders even unto death out of a profound sense of duty and honor. Occasionally they may even make public statements questioning the logic of what they were asked to do, but on the whole the Japanese soldier would master his misgivings and execute his orders nonetheless.

          They even have a word for it – Giri. To fulfill your obligations no matter what.

          Commander Asaiki Tamai asked a group of 23 talented student pilots, all of whom he had trained, to volunteer for the kamikaze special attack force that would later sink the USS St. Lo (CVE-63). All of the pilots raised both of their hands, volunteering to join the operation. Later, Tamai asked Lieutenant Yukio Seki to command the special attack force. Seki is said to have closed his eyes, lowered his head and thought for 10 seconds, before saying: “Please do appoint me to the post.” Seki became the 24th kamikaze pilot to be chosen. However, Seki publicly criticized the kamikaze initiative in an interview with Masashi Onoda, a Domei war correspondent: “Japan’s future is bleak if it is forced to kill one of its best pilots.” and “I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire… I am going because I was ordered to.” Seki died when his aircraft glanced off the St Lo’s flight deck. His bomb did not explode.

          These quotes from Hagakure – The Way of The Samurai were used in ww2 as slogans to encourage men to die for their country:
          “Bushido is realised in the presence of death. In the case of having to choose between life and death you should choose death. There is no other reasoning. Move on with determination. To say dying without attaining ones aim is a foolish sacrifice of life is the flippant attitude of the sophisticates in the Kamigata area. In such a case it is difficult to make the right judgement. No one longs for death. We can speculate on whatever we like. But if we live without having attaining that aim, we are cowards. This is an important point and the correct path of the Samurai. When we calmly think of death morning and evening and are in despair, We are able to gain freedom in the way of the Samurai. Only then can we fulfill our duty without making mistakes in life.”
          – Yamamoto Tsunetomo, “Hagakure – The Way of The Samurai” (1716)

          “Being a retainer is nothing other than hemp – a supporter of one’s lord, entrusting matters of good and evil to him, and renouncing self-interest. If there are but two or three men of this type, the fief will be secure.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo, “Hagakure – The Way of The Samurai” (1716)

    • nadnerbus

      I personally think their rates of gun violence would be near zero without the laws they have. They are a more or less homogeneous society, with strong social norms and rules. Manners and honor matter there.

      • Bart

        That is totally true. Even if Japanese people had a lot of guns, they would still have an extremely low rate of crime.

        • bucherm

          That’s misleading though. They have a suicide rate higher than the -combined- suicide and homicide rate in the US, and it’s thought that a good chunk of the suicides are police going “well, looks like a suicide” because unsolved homicides look poorly on their record.

          • Chronis I.

            That goes for most “suicides”. The other day I was watching a report on TV from a ruled “suicide” where the victim was shot twice. Once in the back of the head, once in the side, had their clothes removed post shooting and were then raped.
            In Canada there was a ridiculous “suicide” case where the victim was shot twice in the head again, then was stuffed in a duffel bag, zipped up and put in a bathtub full of water…

          • C.j. Singleton

            We call that an “Arkansas Suicide” in the US because many people connected to the Clintons died like that

          • billyoblivion

            Really? I mean I detest the Clintons as much as any gun loving libertarian minded guy out there, and I’d *really* like to see a list of that that wasn’t utterly bunk.

          • C.j. Singleton

            Look up the clinton kill list over 100 people connected to the clintons died under shady circumstances

          • billyoblivion

            You did see that part about “utterly bunk”, right?

            That list has been circulating the ‘net for a LONG time and is, well, mostly bunk.

      • ghost

        Manners, honor and respect are taught there. The three basics this country has turned it’s back on. Japanese are a nationality. Anybody can be an American, but you can’t just go to Japan and become Japanese.

        • MANG

          You ever go to Japan…? It’s not quite a samurai movie – manners and respect play out there in a different way than you think. Society is certainly more homogeneous than the US, but there are large immigrant communities. There are fascist political parties who march down the street crying about the rights given to immigrants, just like the fascists we have in the States.

          On the whole, America is incompatible with the homogeneity that Japan has. We have always been a heterogeneous nation of immigrants. That’s our “nationality.” It’s foolish to draw direct comparisons between our countries.

        • yessah3

          Many of their tenants help and hurt them. Look at their economy. You think the US is bad, Japan is 10x worse. Look at their adhesion to the rules in invading other countries during WW2.

          They are so against weapons and war that there is a huge divide within the country in regards to their increase in military strength. I see nothing wrong with Japan arming itself or its citizens. They are surrounded by countries that want to destroy them.

        • Blaser270

          We are rapidly proving that the great melting pot becomes a rotten mess. Different morals, different attitudes, etc., don’t work in one country. Some of the radical crazy black leaders have publicly stated that we can’t expect the black man to live in a country ruled by white man rules. We have a problem that’s not going to get any better for a very long time if ever.

        • angrymike

          That’s because the left has taken over our schools, institution’s and our government……

      • Rodney Steward

        They don’t have a President like Obama, and trouble makers like al-Sharpton, to start trouble, to began with. Unlike Japan, we have to many people without morals, and love of country.

        • BambiB

          And we get more all the time, streaming across our southern border, eager to take advantage of all that they can take from America.

        • FourString

          Shinto Abe is an aggressive imperialist, as much as I like Japan, I would not regard its current politics as one of its strengths..

      • FourString

        The build quality and reliability of goods made in Japan overall is a reflection of this.

    • USMC03Vet

      That’s nice and all but Japan’s culture is pretty damn awful. Hugely ethnocentric xenophobic and openly discriminatory not to mention incredibly pervertd. Only last year did they finally ban child pornogprahy for example.

      • I can assure you that all the crazy stuff you see or hear about on the internet is pretty isolated. The Japanese are by and large normal, hardworking people. Their society is honogenous because of centuries of isolationism that we, the US, ended by literally sailing into Tokyo bay and using naval guns to frighten them into opening up. Now their homogeneousness is preserved because of their island geography and a language and culture unique to just them.
        I was surprised that they were as open and kind to me as they were. All I knew of them growning up were the horror stories my grandpa told me about fighting them in the Pacific.

        • Phil Elliott

          Sorry bout that, that was one of my Great Uncles that sailed into Tokyo Bay, Commodore Perry.

        • Ben Pottinger

          I’m thinking it was the two giant fireballs that landed on, and evaporated most of, two of their cities that frightened them and got them to open up. They are still upset about the nukes and complain about how terrible it was to drop them on them (again conveniently ignoring their massive atrocities). Still, interesting country, and I’d love to visit (and I’m white, tall, and blond hair blue eyed so apparently I’ll be popular too!)

          • Most certainly it was Commodore Perry who opened up the country far before the War. Without the United States and our black ships, they would have remained feudal for much longer.

          • Ben Pottinger

            Oops, I thought we were talking about wartime Japan. Now I’ve learned something very interesting about one of Americas first major interactions with Japan! Thanks!

          • Nergyl

            “They are still upset about the nukes and complain about how terrible it
            was to drop them on them (again conveniently ignoring their massive

            Speaking as someone who visited the Hiroshima peace museum (which acknowledges the events leading to the bombing) and spoken to numerous Japanese people about the subject, I can assure you that isn’t the case.

            There are indeed lots of historical revisionists among Japanese politicians, but it’s a much muddier picture among the general populace. And concerning the atomic bombings, everyone I talked to was neutral on the subject. I can’t say I’d expect Americans to show the same level of consideration to foreigners who nuked two of their cities.

            “I’m white, tall, and blond hair blue eyed so apparently I’ll be popular too!”

            Quite possibly. My brother fits those descriptions, and when he came to Japan with me I kept noticing people doing double-takes.

          • Ben Pottinger

            Actually, Now that you mention it, it was likely a US (ie, liberal Hollywood) made documentary that got me believing that. Though I tend to agree with you, I personally can’t say I’d be super excited about someone nuking us either. One thing I do notice is how most of the younger generation (30-40 and younger) doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge about any racial atrocities or wartime activities. Most of us take the mindset of “it’s sad these things happened, but the Germans, Japanese, Americans, Russians, etc of today are not the ones of WWII/Korea/etc. I really really wish I could visit more foreign countries. Hopefully someday in the future.

          • FourString

            Not sure what liberal Hollywood has to do with anything.

            Not many young hold a grudge per se, especially against individual Japanese, but they are aware that Japan’s governing leadership is a bit odd.

        • FourString

          It is pervy though. And women have less rights there. Can’t deny that. Japan is an eccentric paradox of highs and lows. It’s complicated. Overall though, I’ve heard great things both from those who’ve lived and visited there. It’s just not without its flaws like any country.

          • Hyok Kim

            …….and women have less rights in U.S. than in Europe in general. Your favorite, Switzerland has even less rights for women than Japan.

    • jamezb

      If a flotilla of millions starving North Koreans suddenly show up on their beaches some day, they may wish they had those guns. Of course they could always get us to nuke the invaders I suppose…

      • FourString

        I know you’re trying to make a joke but damn that’s hella heartless/tasteless

    • ChinasNewIslands

      When China invades Japan, they’ll wish their populace was armed.

      I love this Orwellian sentiment:

      “The people are kind and loving and wouldn’t hurt a fly: that’s why strict gun control is so necessary.”

      In other words, 2+2=5.

      • FourString

        Not really. Most of the fighting will be heavy weaponry. Which gives Japan the advantage, since they’re extremely good at mechanical stuff and they have American/European military technology handed to them too.

        Chinese aircraft carriers are a joke and there is something like only one, donated from the Russians back in the day. And Russia naval strategy concentrates on submarines instead of surface fleet.

    • GenEarly

      The “Japanese model” only “works” domestically. If the Chinese decide to come a knocking then the gig is up. The Chinese harbor a lot of ill will from WWII, and unlike the ADD riddled West, the Asians have long memories, for thousands of years.

      • If the Chinese “come a knocking” then they will have to answer to the full military might of the United States. Also the Japanese military is bulking up in response to the rise of China. They are not alone or defenseless, and the Chinese know this.
        If they attacked Japan or Taiwan, then they also know that the world would shun their economic produce and crush them financially.

        • GenEarly

          10th Gen.American’s post above expands what I was saying.
          I disagree that Obamy and the ‘Merican peoples will fight to defend anyone, even ourselves. And finally you assign a high degree of Rationality to World Leaders and “shunning” as an effective tool; Which I do not.

          • FourString

            Obama would have no choice but to respond to something as egregious as China invading Japan. Refusing to help would be bipartisan political suicide. Rest assured though, China is more afraid of Japan than the other way around. Look at history and what Japan did to countries many times larger. Japanese work ethic and technology is extremely formidable in an opponent. Seen in Eastern news but not necessarily Western, the Japanese government and forces are starting to stockpile resources in preparation for war at any moment’s notice, like ironically buying up timber from China’s old growth forests and storing them in airtight containers along the bottom of their shores.

          • GenEarly

            In a WW III between Russia/China and the USSA……keeping in mind the Oligarch’s march to a New World Order, Obama could “surrender” early after a couple of USSA aircraft carriers are sunk, and then the Chinese get to collect their collateral on the USSA debt.
            Think German reparations after WW I. (an EMP attack on the USSA would be far worse for us and preserve the land resources for China.
            Japan is an aged population, non-nuclear, and out populated in young men by Chinese (Army),and Japanese civilians are unarmed as icing on the cake.

          • FourString

            Any POTUS, regardless of how liberal he or she is, will never EVER back down from a hot war with the Chinese or Russians. It was never in our policy to do so. The Chinese want war less than we do, as they are enjoying their economic boom and war would hurt this. We stand more to gain. Erase our debt, increase military production (we got rich off this and became a superpower after WWI), and cripple the Chinese economy. That is basically the direction that Obama is pushing us toward, with his cabinet’s meddling in the Far East.

            Like I mentioned in another post somewhere on this page, any conflict between Japan and China will be dictated primarily by heavy weaponry, in which the Japanese have the technological advantage. Furthermore, Japanese civilians were unarmed during WW2, yet their military still brought extensive damage to the Allies (which included China at that time). Also, the cherry on top: most of the fighting was away from the Japanese islands themselves. This will likely happen again if ever such a war started.

          • GenEarly

            Obama is a Marxist. I disagree, he will throw the USSA or what’s left of it under the bus. Just an opinion. You are certainly entitled to yours too.

          • FourString

            Sure, but I don’t think you’ve ever met a Marxist lol. Obama is much more conservative than a Marxist, just look at what he did in Chicago with Arne Duncan regarding charter schools.

          • GenEarly

            Barry Sotero, Arne Duncan and Bill Ayers…..not a Marxist in sight because they are All Alinskites. Covering their real intentions from their “useful idiot” sycophants. Your pinkness is showing too, Comrade.

          • FourString

            It’s slightly more complicated than that, but you are free to entertain that “no compromise” thing that has clearly worked so well in our current congress.

          • angrymike

            Obama is no American……

          • GenEarly

            You are Correct. That Is The Point that FourString overlooks.

          • angrymike


          • Hyok Kim

            ” He should have got China do the work to fight Russia instead of taking on both and wasting all this energy.” – FourString

            Actually, better strategy would have been encouraging the formation of alliance between Koreas, Russia, and Japan to counter China, and concentrate U.S. military strength in the South China Sea, with the former SEATO members.

          • Hyok Kim

            ” We stand more to gain. Erase our debt, increase military production (we got rich off this and became a superpower after WWI), ” FourString

            Not true. U.S got rich after WW1 due to the Entente buying U.S. goods during the war, and being unable to compete with U.S. due to the loss of their productivity because of the war after the war. If U.S. were to go to war against China, who would buy U.S. goods to make U.S. rich as a result of the war?

            It would be Europe and the Russians who would reap the benefit, not U.S.

          • FourString

            The Chinese want war with the Japanese, but not the Americans. Just look at how American cars are more popular in China than they are in America. We could have easily been allies with the Chinese today and had them fighting the Russians for us, were it not for Obama’s poorly conceived anti-China policies.

          • Hyok Kim

            Better yet, U.S. should have allied with Kaiser before WW1, We could have avoided WW1, WW2, and the Cold War.

          • Bodie

            Firstly, you’re greatly underestimating the amount of assets the US has projected in the Pacific theater. But most importantly, neither Russia nor China has the force projection capabilities to make a substantial invasion issue for mainland US. When was the last time Russia picked a fight and invaded a country that wasn’t connected by landmass? China is better prepared for that, but they still would be picked off by US air power around PACAF, while also having to worry about USAFE coming at them from the west…..all this before they even get close enough for our troops within the continental US to leave out of Cali to go meet them a thousand or two miles off the coast. People whine about us having bases in other countries, but this is exactly why. China has 1 country and 1 country only to stage, respond, supply, and project from.

      • 10thGenerationAmerican

        The oppressive treatment that the Japanese showed the Chinese during their occupation was indeed very brutal. Forced to work in slave camps and treated as lowly subjugates, the Chinese were a proud people who were spat on, beaten, and died while working in some of the harshest environments. They have not forgotten, and recent movies like IP Man illustrate to a newer generation and the world that they will never forget.

        • Bodie

          They were oppressive even to their own people. Even today, those who live on the outlying Japanese islands, such as Okinawa, refer to themselves as Okinawan’s over Japanese. When the empire came rolling through the southern Ryukyu Islands in WWII, they oppressed their own people who lived there and brutalized them. The culture difference is quite a bit like Hawaii is to the CONUS. A bit of animosity and deliberate distancing, while retaining nationality for the sake of economic survival (though, not like either has a choice).

      • FourString

        Yep, something like Nanjing will cause that. Especially when the government refuses to acknowledge it happened and virtually erased it from its textbooks. Given the sheer horrors they went through at the hands of the Japanese, I don’t blame the Chinese at all.

        The Japanese are responsible for diverting the Nationalists from extinguishing the Communists too, so even the vast but understandably silent political dissidents in mainland China hold a grudge against them.

      • Bodie

        The US has far too many projected assets in Japan and SK to ever let that happen. It’s a routine exercise prep scenario as is, just because it’s a realistic possibility.

        • GenEarly

          “Will Power” not “Assets” determines the outcome. The Sheeples of the USSA will never win another international war, which since Vietnam have been wars fought for the NWO, not America.
          Besides the only wars that really matter are domestic. I hope your allegiance is to the Constitution, and not the powers that be in DC.
          We will need Patriots to preserve any hope of Liberty.

          • Bodie

            Aaaaaand I think that may conclude my participation in this conversation. Because, I now see partial subjectivity is your driver, and not objective rationality. I fully agree that the will to win is an utmost important dynamic to win wars. But I cannot expect to advance into a serious conversation when you refuse to acknowledge the tangibles required to be successful. To elaborate; Muslim radicals fully possess the will to win any fight they deem worthy of their involvement (which is pretty much any fight). But they will NEVER EVER have the capability to beat the US (just because we can’t count our recent wars as “wins”, doesn’t mean we lost) or any first world nation in war. And let’s not forget, US service members are not in any way compromised in their willingness to kick @$$. It’s the government and 50% of the people back home who hinder their ability to end the fight before it even begins. Still, it doesn’t mean loss is the only available outcome. All it would take is one military attack on US soil, a missile, bomb, whatever, and the cowardice passion of those who have hindered current efforts will go right out of the window. While also being ignorant, half of the country is very selfish. The moment their daily lives are interrupted by conflict, their backing will be in full attendance.

            The hounds have the capabilities, tools, know-how, and — as you claim to be the only relevant characteristic — the complete willingness to get the job done. They just need to be unleashed and given the opportunity to fully stretch their legs.

    • asoro

      don’t forget they brought this on to them self’s from WWII, there history hates gun’s so bad today this is why they have such hard laws, dates back to 1945.
      But even with these laws they still have gun’s and gangs that use them, don’t forget that country does not like to air all there dirty laundry. They do have a image to up hold, yes it does seem to work for the most part because the people there don’t mind being held down to that degree, that would not work here, People here are use to being much more free and value those freedoms
      But Iam sure this Gov, would love to see that kind of law here, or at least the Dem’s would.

    • Steve_7

      The thing with Japan is that people tend to look at their gun laws in isolation, but their entire system of criminal law is different. Their system of justice generally speaking would never fly in Europe or N America. And let’s not forget, they have a far higher rate of suicide than Europe or N America as well. And crazy restrictive immigration laws and an aversion to women in the workplace. To the point where it’s choking their economy. It’s literally an “alien” place from a western perspective.

  • MoPhil

    The anti-gun sentiment in japanese society reaches far back into their history. Since earliest times of Japan’s history, the ordinary man was not allowed to posses and/or carry weapons. Only Samurai were allowed to. Being caught with a weapon and not being allowed to have it, resulted in immediat beheading.
    During the Shogunate even travelling within the country was forbidden, if one did not have a license, which was very hard to get for the ordinary man.
    That is at least, what we were told by the travel guide in Japan.

    • Yallan

      Japan was a military dictatorship for over 900 years. So old habits die hard.

      • Ethan

        It goes hand-in-hand with tyrannical feudalism and the worship of government entities as god.
        Freedom and individualism are utterly foreign concepts.

        • Hyok Kim


    • n0truscotsman

      Thats very true. Gun control efforts have a long history of being used by feudal societies to ensure that the elite military class has a monopoly on force, whether it was the knight caste or the samurai.

      Both tried to keep the genie in the bottle, although ultimately failed. Knights and Samurai went the way of the dodo bird due to firearms being “equalizers”. You dont have to be a hand-selected, trained-from birth, born in a special caste warrior to kill invaders and, in many instances, make the ruling regime twice about playing oppressor.

      The swiss story proved that you dont need elite warrior castes to fight for your independence, only to subsequently leave you the scraps on the table.

  • Yallan

    The only reason this works I think is because Japan is a rich highly populated island so getting invaded is extremely difficult. Probably hasn’t happened for thousands of years. So they don’t need guns.

    Switzerland has been almost invaded many times, so they are armed to the teeth. While the U.S has a hostile southern neighbour which is invading them anyway with illegal immigrants.

    • SP mclaughlin

      Yep, it’s every Mexican’s wet dream to overrun the “gringos”…….

      • Rock or Something

        Hey Gringos! We didn’t cross your borders, your borders crossed us! -Mentality of La Raza

    • iksnilol

      Because illegal immigrants are such a problem. A small tip: If someone who doesn’t speak the language, has no contacts or money can steal your jobs then you need to work on yourself.

      Though I agree with you, people who have been under threat tend to be armed. Though the Japanese are unique in that regard, since they had weapons control since almost the beginning of time. Europe had the same thing, but we sorta grew out of it when monarchy became less popular later on.

  • avconsumer2

    Wow. Good for them. Not for me though.
    Also… re: author taking Japanese students to a firing range…. why the hell would you even let them touch a firearm before giving them the basics?! Literally dodged a bullet there.

    • BryanS

      IIRC, this was before Nick was as heavily into firearms as he is now, and well before he could probably be called an RO by any means 🙂

      Trust me, this wouldnt be the same today.

      • avconsumer2

        Heh! 10-4. Didn’t mean to sound like I was harpin’ on the guy either… just kind of a… wait.. wha?

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Im sure their neighbors in the region are perfectly happy with a disarmed Japan.

    • Bart

      They’ve got a pretty decent military “Self-Defense Forces”. They probably should upgrade and upsize their forces, as China becomes more and more dominant in the region. Japan, like Europe depends of US military power to deter the aggression neighbors.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I think having a military beyond what they call defense forces is contrary to their constitution.

        • Rock or Something

          Because the U.S. is obligated to come to their defense in the event of an attack. If we decided to unilaterally give up that duty (for whatever reason) than perhaps the Japanese government, if not the people, might at least re-think that article in their constitution.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Very true, China is stepping on a lot of toes in the South China Sea right now building artificial islands and arming them. Testing the waters, no pun intended. I would not be surprised if some shots were fired in the near future.

          • FourString

            The Obama adminstration is also getting other countries to step on China’s toes (might have been the first punch) as weakening China’s economic grip was in America’s interest. Which is bad because this gets Russia to band with China. You want them fighting each other, really.

    • Alex Nicolin

      Actually Japan has very professional and well equipped armed forces. It numbers about 250,000 active personnel: 150,000 army, 50,000 navy and another 50,000 airforce. Most of the equipment is pretty modern though they do have some dated aircraft (by American standards) like the F4 Phantom still in active service. It has the 7th military budget in the world (around $50B per year), per par with France, UK and Germany. They are indeed constrained by their constitutional statute to a purely defensive role, but they are not weak by any standard.

      • Hedd Wyn John

        Yes, the Japanese SDF is one of the strongest in the world but they can’t match the Chinese military build up. They could give China a bloody nose in a conflict if one arose.

  • Bart

    My wonderful wife is from Japan. Over the last 18 years, I’ve been to Japan about ten times. I absolutely love the country, the food, and the people. I have seriously considered living there. One of the main things that has always held me back is the draconian gun law. I am a gun lover, and can hardly bear the thought of not having any firearms. Not being able to carry my S&W 642 or Glock 19, or have my SHTF AK47 is one thing, but not being allowed to have my Marlin 60 for plinking is another. That is a line I cannot cross. A country that won’t let me have a plinking .22 rifle just won’t do in the long run.
    I’ve invited my brother in law to come visit us, and promised to take him shooting. He seems “afraid” of guns. That surprised me given that he is a “tough guy”, construction worker, smoker, avid fisherman, etc. He did tell me that he went to a shooting range once while on vacation in Guam, and didn’t like it.
    My wife is also “afraid” of guns. I finally got her to go shooting with me once a couple years ago. She actually kind of liked shooting my .22 revolver, but did not like the 9mm at all. One of these days, I’ll have to get her out with the .22 rifles. They are even more fun than the .22 revolver.
    In Japan’s defense, gun control “works” better there than it does in most places. Japan is an island country, and that makes it much easier to keep guns out of the country. Japanese people are also generally very much law abiding. Crime is very unusual there. I feel totally safe walking the streets late at night, unarmed, and by myself. In Japan, I do not feel a “need” for “defensive firearms”.
    Japan is also a nation of “subjects”. The Japanese people have historically been oppressed by the Samurai class. Unlike Americans, they are use to being “ruled over”. Some of the freedoms that we find indispensable (like the right to bear arms) just don’t seem important to them. They are important to me, so I’d never quite fit in there.
    Most Japanese cops by the way look like Barney Fife (skinny, look somewhat incompetent gun-wise, and carry old school .38 revolvers). Of course they are also very skilled in martial arts, and could take me down quickly without using a gun. They are also polite and respectful, not obnoxious and arrogant like Barney Fife.

  • idahoguy101

    What was the gun crime rate in WW2? When practically all males were in the military? And they were preparing for an invasion

  • guest

    Never visited Japan, but the impression I have so far is that firstly they are wound way, waaay too tight, that they are hopeless workaholics and that this whole “honorü” thing is taken way too far now and then. Fine by me if they want to live like this – their country their rules – but I have more sympathy and respect for several “third world” asian countries before Japan gets any.

    BTW I would have expected more from “intelligent” people like them when it comes to having kiddy porn allowed for as long as they have, and the de-facto acceptance of OC as a part of their “culture”. Just goes to show that beneath any sugar coating there is always a rotten pile of s***.

    • Nergyl

      My impression from multiple visits to Japan is that they’re pretty decent people. Hell, even the drunks were well-mannered and agreeable.

      The worst behavior I encountered consistently came from foreigners.

      • Daisuke0222

        Sadly your comment about bad behavior of foreigners doesn’t surprise me. We Americans can be very poor guests, though that certainly isn’t a trait limited to US citizens.

  • PBAR

    Well, American facists, er, liberals, want to ban guns here now because they are used in suicides. Yet despite having insanely strictly gun laws, both Korea and Japan have much higher suicide rates than the U.S. Hell, the Koreans have multiple different verbs for different suicide methods (kinda like the Eskimos have multiple words for different kinds of snow).

    • AlDeLarge

      Suicides are just their weak excuse for spouting “gun death” numbers as if they were all gun murder.

  • iksnilol

    I don’t know, we don’t do the whole tentacle rape thing. /sarc

    They have both good and bad stuff like pretty much any place. You have to get something right, all cultures do. They also get something wrong.

    • Daisuke0222

      Exactly. The key is to realize that just about all cultures probably have good and bad aspects. As is natural for humans, we tend to value our own more than others. But a clear-eyed observer will see both the pros and cons wherever they look.

      • FourString

        It’s really about choosing your priorities in pros and con’s, with regard to choosing a country to live in. No place is perfect in the world, but luckily there is choice and variety.

    • FourString

      Japanese porn: probably the only brand on the planet that involves mostly screaming.

  • Anonymoose

    Nah. They’re scared of the jailtime, but that’s it. Most yakuza don’t carry guns around all the time, bu they still use guns for big operations, and there are a fair amount of shootings over there (although stabbing is by far the preferred method of murder there).

    Also, for a lot of Japanese people who come over to America as tourists, one of the first things they want to do is go to a gun range.

  • Alex Nicolin

    In Romania the law is only slightly more relaxed than in Japan. The renewal period for gun permits is 5 years, and you have to pass medical and psychological testing, as well as criminal background check, possess proper storage and have a few neighbors vouch that you are not a troublemaker. Every gun you buy and sell is registered in your permit and in the police registry. Airguns and rubber pistol guns are regulated the same way. You can either become a hunter, which is a course that last 6-12 months and is followed by a pretty difficult exam, a certified sports shooter (also a course and exam) or a certified collector, for which the conditions are much more stringent – the guns cannot leave storage without permission from the police. Handgun carry permits are basically available only for active or retired law enforcement and military personnel, judges and some elected officials, but not for the common folk, which can only get the aforementioned rubber ball pistols.

    The number of firearms is close to 110,000, and the population is about 18,000,000 (0.6 guns per 100 people). Shooting deaths are in the low tens every year, the vast majority hunting accidents or suicides. Gun homicides always feature in the news for at least a week. The general homicide rate is 1.9/100,000, and does have a bit of variation by region (between 3.8 and 0.4). In Bucharest it’s about average, with around 30 homicides per year in a population of slightly more than 2,000,000 spread over 100 sqm. The vast majority of homicides are related to personal disputes, especially drunken brawls and domestic violence. There are very few related to gang violence. So the country is pretty safe, even without guns, or because it lacks them (hard to tell).

  • Marty Ewer

    I lived in Japan (northern Honshu) for four years. That whole time, I only saw one gun off base. It was this low-level Yakuza cat, who was missing a few fingers on one of his hands. (Apparently, he screwed things up–and the knife came down.) Not sure why his bosses thought they could trust him with a gun. Anyway, he and I were drinking whiskey-water one evening. (It’s a Japanese thing.) And somewhere in the conversation, I mentioned I was into guns. He took his gun out of a crude-looking leather holster he had tucked in the small of his back. It was some archaic revolver. No idea who the maker was. Anyway, the point of my story is that Japan is a good example of the old saying, “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” I never once met a Japanese person who legally owned a gun there.

  • Chey Wilsher

    That tenkara fishing just looks like a damn cane pole to me. Same concept and function at the least. Just saying!

    • FourString

      Like convergent evolution lol

  • Jacen

    I’m a born in America chinese and the majority of my family came from China, where no body is allowed to have guns and most are pretty shy about gun possession. They don’t like the fact that I own guns and think that just having guns makes me dangerous. I work in an Import/Export business that primarily deals with China and the majority of employees are chinese. Most of the coworkers my age, I had to convert to getting to like guns or at least tolerate gun ownership when I explain to them the basic concept that having any weapon can be dangerous and it is up to the individual to be train and respect the weapon. I know I can be dangerous but only to those who are a danger to me.

  • Joe Blow

    Yep, I totally agree. The Japanese have a couple thousand years of culture and history of the peasants not being able to own arms, including swords. That’s served every government well. The people, not so much. While interesting, any comparison to Japan is like comparing the USA to the Klingon Empire. Japan is totally unique in its isolation and its xenophobia and its culture. There is no where else on earth remotely like it.

  • Anyone know the murder rate there by other means…stabbing, beating, etc???

  • Jose

    And what about the non-real military style weapons that are manufactured in Japan? These weapons are designed to fire plastic BB’s and pellets, using batteries and motors to propel them. Also, publications are made of military firearms, like Masami Tokoi’s books of the AK- 47 and the AR-15. Also, gun exposure have been taking place in their most common medium of entertainment: manga and Anime. An example is Upote; an anime featuring junior high school girls, and some senior high schools girls, named after military issue weapons, like the FNC; L85 A1; AUG; and SIG550; Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, where references are made of WWII German weapons; and the Full Metal Panic manga and anime, in which some real life weapons are mentioned, like the SIG line of pistols; and the FN P-90 smg.

    Having a real firearm is a no-no in Japan, but access to replicas; bibliography and entertainment, is completely legal; not to mention to open up their appetite for curiosity.

  • KiwiGuy

    Interesting article. Coming from, and still living, in a country with firearm controls and restrictions, a lot of what was written in the article, and public attitudes to the Police and firearms use, are very familiar.

    • Tassiebush

      As a Tasmanian I yearn for the firearm related freedoms and enlightened attitude towards hunting that you Kiwis enjoy in comparison to us!

      • KiwiGuy

        Yup, we’ve got it pretty good here 🙂

        • Tassiebush

          If our magazines, the show Hunting Aeoteroa and stories from folks who’ve been over on hunting trips are anything to go on it’s a Hunter’s paradise!

  • Eric S

    Our school had a fairly sizable exchange program with Japan, so we always had a few hundred students around. Being the generous folk that us gun owners are, we would take them out to the hills on occasion and let them have at it. It was always amusing that the womenfolk took better to handling the guns than the men and that they were more freaked out by the fact most of us had knives.

  • noob

    Is is just me or would “Nemuri-Ju” be the title of an awesome dark and gritty 26 episode anime series about a Yakuza hitman of the old school come out of retirement for One Last Job in a world where all the punks carry knives and the cops have never shot more than 30 rounds in training? You could explore all kinds of themes about societ and how one can try to make it polite to the point where even those trusted with keeping the peace have forgotten how to fight, but all it takes is one old man and reality ensues.

  • mb

    And your point being? The Japanese are a submissive culture, do you think a evil person like Tojo would have been able to lead a country like America into WWII with our freer gun restrictions? I think not, he would not have been able to control a mob like the sheep the Japanese were and still are. Heck, hundreds or thousands jumped off cliffs to their deaths because they were told to, when it was known the Americans were wining and coming. We are NOT Japanese. We die fighting oppression.

    • Nergyl

      We Americans have died fighting oppression…and we’ve also died defending it. In the case of the Civil War, half the nation was willing to send young men to brutal deaths in order to defend the South’s slavery. And let’s not forget how many people bought into the Manifest Destiny doctrine.

      We Americans are indeed willing to fight for what we believe in. But a suitably charismatic leader or ideology can turn that fighting spirit into a tool of oppression.

  • AR-PRO

    Although I agree with the comments about the Japanese being raised to be honorable, respectful and show good manners, that’s exactly how it used to be in the United States. We raised our boys to always be honorable, respectful and show good manners because it was how we were raised. These should be the core values of every child, yet some parents today are lazy, would rather just plop their kid down in front of the TV or video game and forget about them.

  • ihatelibs

    depends on the countries location . Here we are Surrounded by Criminals and Gang members . And We IMPORT , Thousands of Criminals every year . Wipe out the Ghetto Population and Gangs and Criminals , it Might get better . Yah right . try doing that here huh

  • Frank

    Of course the murder rate in Japan is low. They’re offing themselves before anyone can kill them. The suicide rate there is so high it’s actually higher than the US’s combined murder and suicide rate.

  • ams

    What I got out of the entire article was this, the Japanese punish criminals. Imagine if we did that.

  • Mark Reynolds

    Apparently the Japanese place their laws that violate a basic human right of self defense over common sense. The people are nothing but slaves in a country like that. Disarmed slaves that the government could turn on at any second and massacre.

  • Mattitude

    I was stationed at Misawa Air Base from 1997-2001 (northern Japan)and the area is very rural. I met a few Japanese who owned shotguns and went duck & deer hunting every year. I was explained the process of owning firearms and learned it was more of a pain in the ass than anything else and that there is more misinformation and myth than anything. There is some truth to the article but there is more fiction than not. I’ve been to a Japanese gun shop and even bought & imported 4 shotguns from there (I still have my Form 6) without any issues. One thing not stressed in the article is that you do NOT want to get stuck in a Japanese jail…those places are no joke and if we applied the same techniques there would be a lot fewer repeat offenders.

  • John

    Not to diminish some of their accomplishment, but once a haughty people, by and large, reduced to the rank of almost slaves. So be it. Makes one want to kiss the sweet soil of the United States of America.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I appreciate the freedom for different cultures to be whatever they want to be, as long as the people have the freedom to vote with their feet to find a culture that works for them. However, I find it very interesting that travel and particularly electronic communication is making the world a smaller place, yet these radical differences in culture exist. How can this happen when Japanese kids grow up watching American movies and playing American video games? Will they continue to view American gun culture as a part of their entertainment world that is distinct from and inapplicable to their reality? It just seems odd that I carry a pistol 24/7/365, I go shooting whenever I like, and I own an embarrassing number of firearms, and these behaviors are condoned in my culture, but in Japan, they’d lock me up and throw away the key for the exact same behavior. Then again, I live in Kentucky, and most of my gun related activities would make me a felon in New Jersey.

    • Ben Pottinger

      But Kentucky is the center of the world. We can’t help being awesome when we live in such a magical place! 😉

      Covington/Independence Kentucky here. Your welcome to go shooting with me anytime. 🙂

    • A Critic

      “I appreciate the freedom for different cultures to be whatever they want to be,”

      Their “freedom” includes oppressing their own people and indoctrinating them to like it..that’s not ok.

  • Sam Pensive

    the culture in japan is that of the sword…not the firearm.
    firearms are more a Western tradition.
    i think both traditions can live peacefully/

    • Doom

      the peasants were never allowed arms, hell, the government banned even the samurai from carrying, maybe even possessing their swords in the 1800’s

  • smartacus

    i know it’s a different nation, but i thought the right to own a gun comes from God.
    And i too hold that truth to be self-evident.

    • Rodney Steward

      I don’t think they have our Constitution, like U said it’s a different Nation, and I don’t think they worship our God.

      • smartacus

        i hear you. They don’t have our Constitution or worship our God, so they don’t have the inalienable human right to bear arms.

        • Rodney Steward

          You’re correct Sir, just think what this country would be like, without the Constitution. We have to many THUGS, with no morals, and I would also bet, that their Politicians are not as corrupt as ours!

          • smartacus

            i do see one similarity; social government programs bankrupting their nation.

          • Max Glazer

            Social programs do NOT bankrupt nations. Incorrect fiscal policies and unbalanced budgets bankrupt countries. Just like utterly corrupt US corporations and politicians that sit on boards.

            But we digress.

            Also. Don’t bring religion here either. It was the Founding Fathers that gave citizens of USA the right to bear arms. NOT god.

          • smartacus

            I’m going to be patient with you, even though you opened yourself up to some embarrassing correction.

            You are telling me don’t bring religion here? OK then by the same authority you granted to yourself; i am telling YOU don’t bring your fear of religion here, Glazer.

            -Your right to own a gun didn’t come from the Founding Fathers like you are trying to fabricate because the Founding Fathers themselves said it came from your Creator. They said the word Creator, that evil word Creator you don’t want to hear, not because they were televangelists; but because they were recognizing a right that comes from “God” cannot be taken away by anyone but “God”, ergo they recognized no legal justification for the government to have any business in getting involved with a right that is inalienable from you because you are human.

            -You said social programs do not bankrupt nations, but incorrect fiscal policies and unbalanced budgets bankrupt countries.
            Nope, your defense of social programs has failed because Social Programs have been bankrupting nations and empires from Ancient Rome to your dearly departed CCCP. Where corporate welfare subsidies did not exist.

            Social Programs ARE incorrect fiscal policies.
            Social Programs ARE unbalanced budgets.
            *Aaaand Corporate welfare is actually deferred social welfare so it IS a social program

          • max

            You patient with me? Lol typical brainwashed liberal that thinks supporting those in trouble is wrong. Laughable.

            God doesnt exist. Full stop. Noone that mentions God has ever spoken to that entity an those that claim they did are full of it.

            Corporate welfare has proven to do nothing but make corporations richer while stagnating wages and reduces abilities of government to do what is is MEANT to do. That is serve the people of their nation.

            You know 0 about USSR.

            Dont bother replying. You aren’t worth spending data on.

          • smartacus

            OK you have now run out my patience and i have to laugh because your hustle has failed comically:)

            Not only are you completely utterly wrong but you hate that everyone can see it 😀
            And you are angry with me because this is not how you imagined it going down.

            “God doesn’t exist. Full stop.” ?
            Why did you bother writing that? Why are you so fixated on God? Why are you so desperately trying to convert me to your religious belief with the threat of beheading by your verbal scimitar?

            The Founding Fathers evoked The Creator for your inalienable right to own a gun, not to discriminate against you, angry atheist Max Glazer, but to say that unless the government can prove they are God, they can’t infringe upon that right. And they held that truth to be self-evident.

            I’ve already explained corporate welfare to you, so i won’t waste my time trying to re-explain the truth to you. i know nothing about USSR? OK yeah with that childish statement you just divulged you are a petulant youth. So go back to spending data on the important things like posting selfies on Fakebook and Instasham. LOL, next 😀

    • Hyok Kim


      • smartacus

        yeahman glad you agree 🙂

  • j smith

    So now only criminals in japan will have guns, And with strict laws, gang members will now be shooting cops to get away, because its basically life in prison for being caught with a illegal firearm

    and I’m pretty sure the Yakuza will be happy because they have the market in the illegal gun market, and this will make japan even easier to invade if only they didn’t have U.S. Support; China would be all over them

    • smartacus

      OMG you are so right. this only promotes shootouts with cops; it’s either life in prison or death by cop bullets; so they will shoot shoot shoot for their lives.

  • /k/ommando

    Of course child porn is still legal in Japan, so it shows you where their priorities are.

  • Steve_7

    They’ve taken down the article now, but back in December 2013 the Japan Times published an article about 80,000 troops being mobilized to look for a missing assault rifle, one of their troops left it in a vehicle and when he came back it was missing, presumed stolen.

  • Doom

    Japan has always had strict arm control, from swords back in feudal japan to guns today. Surprised they even have that many guns seeing as how they banned even samurai from carrying their swords some time in the 1800’s…

  • Lyle

    Do not fail to notice the deception in the article. It suggests that “shootings and gun deaths” are low. That says nothing about violence and murder. I’m surprised that so few of you caught on to such an obvious trick. Shame on you.

    The fact is that the right to keep and bear arms exists in Japan the same as it exists in the U.S. and everywhere in the world, being that it is a human right. That it is being so egregiously violated in so many places is a tragedy and a shame. The Japanese people will, one day, wish they had not allowed it. Hopefully they will find the wisdom to correct their foolish error. — Lyle

  • scaatylobo

    BUT what is their rate of murder with OTHER than firearms ?.
    Their society is MUCH more a edged weapon history as most will fully understand [ samurai ].
    And I still dont see any relationship to America from a nation that does not share our history.

  • I just read a news article that Obama and Kerry have invited China’s number two military general to come to the US and tour a Boeing plant,several military bases and an aircraft carrier.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      That doesn’t scare me too much by itself. Ive toured bases and factories before and I doubt anything top secret is going to be left lying around.
      The scary thing is the fact that most of the technology we use to access our networks, civilian and military, are made in China. They are serious about cyber warfare.

  • CJS3

    Subservience to authority has always been the Japanese culture. Other than outright criminality, I would be surprised if the Japanese rebelled against the state on this issue. As with the example given at the end of the article, shooting is something done in America and the movies.

  • Bodie

    As Alex C. said: They are very respectful people. There are so many little things you pick up on, that are common courtesies for them. For example, when walking across the street in a crosswalk while cars are lined up at the red traffic light, they’ll all turn off their headlights as you walk by. Those who drive taller vehicles like SUV’s and trucks will also turn off their headlights when stopped at a traffic light behind lower sitting sedans, so as not to blind/bother the driver in front of them.

    But just as their firearms laws are strict, same goes with knives and DUI’s. While I was stationed there from 2007-2009, they changed their laws on pocket knives and anything over ~3″ was considered a sword, and thus the equivalent of a felony to be in possession of.

    When it comes to drinking and driving, they do NOT play. In Japan, you can be detained and held for up to 28 days without ever being charged with a crime, before you have to be released. If you are merely a passenger in the vehicle with a driver who is stopped and busted for DUI, you will also be charged for DUI. They can even trace back to party hosts who served alcohol to someone who went and got behind the wheel after they left, and charge the host with DUI.

    Segregation is also still legal in Japan. There are Japanese-only bars/clubs and you’re not getting in if you’re not Japanese.

    They really are great people with an amazing culture and extraordinary food. I miss it there a lot. If I wasn’t into firearms and shooting, I would totally retire on Okinawa. But most of them are so short and skinny, there was never a time I felt threatened by anyone on the street, to where I wish I was able to be CCWing. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t miss my guns all too much while I was there and had to leave them behind with family.