Monday, May 24, 2010

Crime in Japan: An utterly simplistic view

...crime, especially violent crime, is dependent on external factors (the lack of availability of guns) and cultural factors (emphasis on honor and group harmony.) In the U.S., with the incredible ease of obtaining weapons and the emphasis on people "doing their own thing," a much higher level of violent crime should not be a surprise...

...The ease of obtaining guns also automatically causes crimes to be of a much more violent nature in the U.S. then in Japan... Crime in Japan


Folks who are stabbed to death with freely available, razor-sharp, 8 inch-long kitchen knives must die less violently and be less dead than those shot to death. Probably die more honorably and in a more harmonious way too.


  1. Also, guns ARE NOT illegal in Japan. Hunting rifles are legal, but harder to obtain than in the U.S. People are shot in Japan, but just not as often.

    Violence and crime are related to "external factors", but those factors are largely economic and social. A country like Japan, which has a lot of socialism in order to keep people employed (even at the expense of the profitability of a company or the wasting of tax dollars) has less crime because there's a large middle class and relatively low unemployment. What we have been seeing in Japan is that, as the economy worsens and people feel less secure about their futures, crime (including violent crime) has been increasing.

    It's economic disparity that causes crime and violence, not the availability of guns or having a culture of individuality.

  2. The "guns are illegal" in Japan myth has gone on for decades. For some reason it seems to fascinate the US media no matter how inaccurate it is to repeat that old canard. I have noticed that in reporting on the recent spate of mass murders of school children in China that the US media always inserts some irrelevant comment about guns being illegal in China. Regardless, the children are dead.

    As you wrote there are many more significant and relevant reasons. To try to water it down to such simplistic and incorrect nonsense as is often done neither benefits nor informs anyone.

  3. @Orchid64, I think they meant handguns, but I could be wrong. Are handguns legal in japan? Not many murders, nor armed robberies, are done with rifles or at rifle-point...even in the US.
    I think violent crimes and the avalability and easy acquisition of guns are correlated bu, as Michael Moore noted in "Bowling for Columbine" (a fine documentary on this issue) the "fear" factor is as much an issue as anything else. The media pushers pump the airways so full of fear that Americans live in a constant state of it. Not so much in Japan, though I've noticed it has increased a bit. Mostly though it still gets attributed to us violence-proned fear-addicted foreigners.
    Thought provoking site you got here! Keep it up!

  4. The site I linked to simply said firearms/guns. It is a very common error and still widely believed.

    Remember a few years ago when the guy took a shotgun into a gym and killed several people how shocked many were that firearms were actually legal in Japan.

    Handguns are not legal for average citizens, although you hear of people being busted for having them (somehow) occasionally. The yakuza, of course, has whatever it wants...