Saturday, September 3, 2011
Japan: Gun Cultures in Worlds of Oppression
No big secret that I'm a big fan of Japanese animation and comics. I came to it in my teenage years after never seeming to find the kinds of visual science fiction that I desired. In the 18 years since, I've learned a lot about the culture and people of Japan in conjunction with this hobby.
One thing I learned was of the Gun and Sword Act. Since the 1600's, the common people have been effectively banned from owning weapons in Japan. This was quickly placed into effect by the Tokugawa Shogunate to cement their dominate position for the next 250 years. Even today, the Japanese have one of the lowest numbers of firearms in the world. It is almost 99.9% true that only the cops and criminals have guns in Japan. Despite this, I have discovered that there is indeed a firearms culture still struggling inside of Japan. Only has to look in their art to see the carefully drawn images of Glocks, m4s, Smith & Wesson both revolvers & semiautomatics. If it didn't matter, they wouldn't be so lovingly and exactingly depicted on the pages of comics and digital animation cells. They study them. They spend hours researching from some of the very same pictures we take of our own rifles, shotguns, and handguns just to show off. For these artists, this is gold.
Airsoft is popular there. Folks of all ages go play commando with what they legally can. Some save up to go on shooting parties in other countries. In their own country it is illegal for them to even touch a gun without a license. Yet, they're still there. Multitudes of common people, just like us, that want to go shoot a gun just for the joy of doing it. They talk like we do in gun shops and internet forums, but sadly most of them have no actually experience. They play the same video games that are getting our younger gunnie generation the urge to get out and shoot! But no one will ever be there to let them try out a Sig or an AK for their first time out to the range.
It's heartbreaking when you realize there are decent folks that honestly have no chance of changing things in their own country. Japan is more a police state than even many third world nations. We have comrades there and in many other countries all over the world. Put a few extra rounds down range for them. As long as we can keep owning and shooting, maybe we can give them a little hope.