An American, in Japan, on gun control


PDA






Nightfall
March 20, 2004, 11:47 PM
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zj5j-gttl/guns.htm

Some real jewels in this one...
One counter-argument sometimes heard here is that if the government disarms the populace, the populace is ripe for a dictatorial takeover, and cannot fight back. My response to this is simple: America has over 270,000,000 citizens at last count. No dictator could "take over" without popular support of these citizens.
It's not the ones who support said dictator that have to worry...
Finally, there is the old canard about slavery; that only people with guns can avoid being slaves, and that only slaves lack the right to basic self defense. The response here is quite simple-when as many people die of gun related incidents as do every year, you are already a slave. You are a slave to a system in which you feel you need to carry a gun for self-protection. You are a slave to the chaos that mankind has worked for millennia to civilize. Perhaps we are all violent beasts at heart, and that will never change. But evidence of peaceful, relatively violent-crime-free societies such as Japan indicate that perhaps we can "all just get along."
So we're slaves to our own, violent human nature, and because of that, we shouldn't care about being real slaves, and should throw all the guns away? If only we could do that, us Americans wouldn't really be slaves, we could be free like the Japanese! :rolleyes:

There's an e-mail link at the bottom for comments: jason@asahi.email.ne.jp

Some of the gunners on the responses page have done a great job of making us look like a-holes, so maybe a few well thought out, nicely articulated replies might get posted... if he really does have an interest in honest debate, that is. Knowing how most anti-gunners are though, I'm not exactly holding my breath...

EDIT: Don't forget the page explaining what freedom really is, and how we will be more free if we're disarmed! :scrutiny: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zj5j-gttl/freedom.htm

If you enjoyed reading about "An American, in Japan, on gun control" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Nightcrawler
March 20, 2004, 11:53 PM
Japan's culture is incredibly different from that of the United States, on levels that it often takes a thorough analysis to even understand.

To say that because something works in Japanese society, it will work in American society, is to lack a basic socioloical understanding of the greatly differing cultural values, beliefs, and ideals involved.

But, such intricate complexities are probably lost on the nozzle who wrote this.

Mark Tyson
March 21, 2004, 12:08 AM
Hah! Japan's history is war, war, war and serfdom. It was only through military defeat and the imposition of democratic government that ended their militarism.

And I'd still rather live here. If you know anything about Japan's culture you know why. I'll take my chances with our criminals rather than be subjected to their brand of collectivist psychosis.

Wildalaska
March 21, 2004, 12:32 AM
Japan's culture is incredibly different from that of the United States, on levels that it often takes a thorough analysis to even understand.

Thats the bottom line in all of these comparisons....cultural differences, not the existence or non existence of gun control.

Japan's history is war, war, war and serfdom. It was only through military defeat and the imposition of democratic government that ended their militarism.

Simplistic dont you think? Able to generalize 2000 years of history like that....

If you know anything about Japan's culture you know why. I'll take my chances with our criminals rather than be subjected to their brand of collectivist psychosis.

I know something about Japanese culture. My wife is Japanese. That comment is insulting.

WildgrrrrAlaska

Feanaro
March 21, 2004, 12:43 AM
But evidence of peaceful, relatively violent-crime-free societies such as Japan indicate that perhaps we can "all just get along."

And perhaps the leopards and lions and wolves will have a big sleep-over with the herbivores. And the world will sing happy songs like the Barney theme as we work together to build paradise. :rolleyes:

Treylis
March 21, 2004, 02:04 AM
From what I hear about the police-state nature of Japan, it's about time they had a revolution anyways.

Declaration Day
March 21, 2004, 02:05 AM
Maybe so, but I choose to be a peaceful person. I feel the need to be prepared for self defense because of others who do not think as I do. Funny thing is, many of the people I know who are anti-gun are the types who are part of the problem; they see nothing wrong with things like initiating a road rage incident, or punching someone in the face for insulting them. My CCW instructor taught me a very useful phrase: "If its not worth your life, it's not worth a fight." If everyone thought that way, I MIGHT feel at ease walking around unarmed.

Unlucky
March 21, 2004, 02:13 AM
Simplistic dont you think? Able to generalize 2000 years of history like that....

You could generalize about 700 of the past 1000 years of Japanese history like that. Before that, things are more fuzzy. We don't know much about the first inhabitants of Japan, but the current Korean-descent based population preponderates and the Ainu are found only in the frigid region of Hokkaido, telling us something about who won that struggle.

One reason why Japan is fairly harmonious may have something to do with ethnicity, or the lack thereof, in the population. Koreans and the Ainu are the only major ethnic groups, but they are a tiny percentage of the population.

Don Gwinn
March 21, 2004, 02:26 AM
Oh, if only we could be as free as the Japanese. :rolleyes:

geekWithA.45
March 21, 2004, 02:30 AM
The author grew up in NJ, regurgitates collectivist liberal pablum, demonstrates massive ignorance of history, recommends smart guns, and has put though only into the first onion skin layer of his argument.

Yawn.


http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zj5j-gttl/index.htm

entropy
March 21, 2004, 02:35 AM
Well said, Declaraton Day!
"If its not worth your life, it's not worth a fight."
Words to live by.
There are two main factors concerning Japan and guns.
1. Japanese society is very homogeneous, that is, it is comprised of basically one ethnic group, with thousands of years of tradition dictating much of one's life, from drinking tea to the warrior's path of bushido.
2. When guns were introduced by the Portugese, the Shoguns made sure that they were kept in the ruling class. The people were never allowed to privately owns guns. Heck, they even regulated small hand tools.


:D

Zach S
March 21, 2004, 02:43 AM
But evidence of peaceful, relatively violent-crime-free societies such as Japan indicate that perhaps we can "all just get along." Hmmm, this makes me wonder, whats a japanese prison like?

bukijin
March 21, 2004, 02:57 AM
Isn't Japan the archetype model of gun control ? Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that in the 1500's Japan had the most guns per population of anywhere in the world. When Tokugawa became shogun, he outlawed guns (except for his own forces of course) and the Tokugawa shogunate lasted into the mid/late 1800's.

From a few stories I've heard, Japanese prisons are not the kind of places one would ever want to be !

Unlucky
March 21, 2004, 02:58 AM
Hmmm, this makes me wonder, whats a japanese prison like?

hardly an expert on Japanese penology, but I've read that they use lots of mind control, enforce strict discipline and a code of silence among inmates. IOW, they break you through isolation and if you screw up expect to have the guards throw cold water on you, turn the lights on, etc. to deprive you of sleep, for starters.

Wildalaska
March 21, 2004, 04:14 AM
They have the death penalty too.


WildandalowcrimerateAlaska

WonderNine
March 21, 2004, 04:17 AM
I understand the Japanese murder statistics are a bit skewered. Things like multiple murders by another family member (hundreds of which take place every year) are ruled as "family suicides" and not murder.

Anybody who takes a look at the history of Japan and refers to it as a "peaceful society" or whatever he said is a few cans short of a six pack.

Daniel
March 21, 2004, 05:28 AM
'Can't we all just get along' speaketh the chicken to the chicken hawk.

We've been murdering each other since memory: the dumb (standard scum wads) murder for themselves; the smart (you know who) have someone murder for them for themselves.

You can't stop it. Live and die with it.

Standing Wolf
March 21, 2004, 10:49 AM
That nitwit should stay in Japan and leave America to Americans.

iapetus
March 21, 2004, 10:53 AM
bukijin

Isn't Japan the archetype model of gun control ? Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that in the 1500's Japan had the most guns per population of anywhere in the world. When Tokugawa became shogun, he outlawed guns


I don't know about guns in Japan. But I think they had very strict controls on all kinds of arms. (Only the samurai and a few others were permitted weapons. And had the right to use them on any peasant who insulted them/ disobeyed them / looked at him funny).

I think it was Tokugawa who was responsible. (Overthrew the previous regiem with the aid of a peasant army, so knew what peasants could do and didn't want to go the same way). I also seem to remember seeing a quote from him or a contemporary along the lines of "weapons in the hands of the peasants interferes with the efficient collection of taxes".

azrael
March 21, 2004, 11:46 AM
I have been to Japan twice in my life and I want to go back again....To me there is simply a cultural difference between us...In terms of civilization they had working governments when we were still bashing each other with sticks...

Gun control works there....It wouldnt work here....To me it is as simple as that...But I think that they are going to start having some of the problems that we are having...Japan's youth are starting to be more "american" in certain ways and not all of them good...

FWIW...When I was there I was around some of the most "polite" people I had ever met...France?? forget it..I hated it and I doubt I would ever return there...


yo wild....how do I get me a Japanese wife?? I WANT ONE!!
:D

The Real Hawkeye
March 21, 2004, 11:55 AM
In order to eliminate cultural differences as an explanation for murder rate differences, we need to do a pre and post experiment, using the same population. This is the most scientifically valuable sociological test of a policy on guns. Unlike other sciences, we cannot create groups, making sure each group is comprable on all factors. Instead, we can do a pre and post test. That is to say, look at a population when gun control is heavy, and then introduce a Shall Issue law, statewide, and see if violent crime increases or decreases. This has been done in several states already (e.g., Florida), and the results are in. You cannot blame cultural differences for the reduced violent crime rates post Shall Issue, because the culture hasn't changed. The results are due, therefore, to the changed policy on guns. What do we find? More guns equals less violent crime, and the perception on the part of the criminal that more potential victims are able to defend themselves equals less violent crime (Stated differently, an armed society is a polite society). What do we learn when we introduce radical gun control into a society that previously had little? More gun control equals more violent crime, as we can easily observe in England and Australia. These studies make the relationship between gun control and crime rather obvious to anyone actually interested in learning. Too bad the popular news outlets don't report this fascinating news. I wonder if they are biased. :rolleyes:

Marko Kloos
March 21, 2004, 12:13 PM
One reason why Japan is fairly harmonious may have something to do with ethnicity, or the lack thereof, in the population.

Bingo. Japan is just about the most ethnically homogenous inddustrialized nation. As a side effect, Japanese racism tends to be pretty extreme. One of the reasons why the Japanese treated war captives and populations of conquered territories so savagely was the lack of restraint fueled by the belief that non-Japanese were sub-human at best.

"A man away from home has no neighbours," indeed.

rust collector
March 21, 2004, 01:43 PM
Marko, I think you are on the right track. The Japanese culture works well for them, and they have in recent years (perhaps with a little outside help) been good at adopting beneficial change. Japanese citizens I have visited with and hosted tend to be quite compliant, especially the women. The mores that have been instilled over many centuries have a prominent role in their lives. That's neither good nor bad, but different from our European based culture which has armed rebellion at its origin.

The Japanese have their ruthless side, as any survivor of the Bataan march or the Burma-Thailand railroad project will confirm. Although our objectives are similar, their approach is different and I don't think either culture can grasp all the nuances that make us the way we are. Their maps feature Japan at the center. Ours feature North America.

Thoughtful discussion of these social differences can be useful, but this author is preaching to the choir and the resulting head bobbing of his readers does little other than to retrench "our way".

HankB
March 21, 2004, 02:55 PM
As a side effect, Japanese racism tends to be pretty extreme. I've visited Japan twice on business, and was (generally) treated well. But I have to relate one story which bears on the quote above.

My buddy and I were walking down a street in Tokyo one evening, looking at all the hooker trading cards taped to the railing along one of the foot bridges. (JUST looking!!!) A group of four Oriental men approached us and asked "Do you speak English, please?"

We allowed as we did speak English.

"Please, can you tell us where (some shrine) is?"

My buddy and I looked at each other - he's American, but immigrated from India, I'm a typical roundeye with Baltic ancestry - and laughingly said "Take a look at us - we're not from around here! Why don't you ask someone Japanese?"

The sad reply: "We tried, but we're from Korea. No Japanese will talk to us."

This was less than 10 years ago.

geekWithA.45
March 21, 2004, 03:16 PM
Another anecdote of Japanese racisim vs Koreans:

There is a great deal that I appreciate about Japanese culture, but like any culture, it has its dark side.

All told, I've lived in Nagoya, Japan for about a year. During one of our trips, we went to Peace Park in Hiroshima.

Within this park is a number of memorials to the various groups who were present in the city when the bomb went off.

Each of them was heavily festooned with long chains of paper swans made by schoolchildren.

I noticed on the map that there was a number (indicating a memorial) several blocks away from the main park. Curious, I hiked out to see what the deal was.

It was the memorial to the Korean "guest workers" (read: slave laborers) who were present at the time, erected by, IIRC, the Korean Embassy. I'm not even going to imagine the BS they encountered trying to get it into the park propper.

Some decent person had hung a single chain of swans on it.

Mr. Clark
March 21, 2004, 05:41 PM
The main cultural difference between Japan and the US is conformity. Conformity is beat into their heads from the time they are children. They are taught that they are nothing without the collective (family, social group, state, etc.). Any meaningful form of individualism is punished harshly by a combination of social pressure and punishment. It all works to control the population; gun control is just part of it. Japan is the very definition of a police state.

It is illustrative to see how that police state and collectivist government stamped out the tiger that was the Japan of the 80s. If they could have gotten away from it they would still be an economic force to be reckoned with - to both our benefits. Economic success is not a zero sum game.

Gun control seems to work well in Japan, but only on the surface. The idea that Japan is a peaceful paradise is a myth. Somewhat along the lines of the myth about Europe being a prosperous, crime-free, utopia. Collectivism, in all of its variations, simply doesn’t work. It breeds crime, hatred, and racism. Keeping that in check simply requires a more efficient and brutal police state. The success of that police state doesn’t change the nature or effects of the underlying system, or its desirability.

I think “collectivist psychosis” is the proper term to describe Japan’s system (and quite a few others, ours too at times), insulting though it may be. Please note I didn’t say, and neither did the person I am quoting, “collective psychosis”. It’s about the system and not the people. People are pretty much the same everywhere. The more people I meet and the more places I go only confirm that. Just like in America, the people you see spouting off in the media almost never speak for the majority of the people. How rare is it to see a newspaper editorial you actually agree with? News clip on the nightly news?

Based on my conversations with some Japanese college students at the local gun range (apparently it is high on the list of places to go while in America) the Japanese would be very disappointed if America became more like Japan. Although, three kids at a gun range is hardly a scientific sample. They found it hard to believe that there were people in this country that thought America should be more like Japan when it came to guns. So do I. I just wish it weren’t true.

cosmos7
March 21, 2004, 05:51 PM
Those that point to Japan as a successful model of gun control need to look at sword culture in that country...

Wildalaska
March 21, 2004, 07:08 PM
Mr Clark your analysis is seriosly flawed, but since this is a gun bOard, Ill just leave it at that and move on to something more interesting.

WilddomoarigatoAlaska

Mr. Clark
March 21, 2004, 07:29 PM
Mr Clark your analysis is seriosly flawed, but since this is a gun bOard, Ill just leave it at that and move on to something more interesting.

I appreciate your wanting to keep this on the gun topic. I don't think I said anything too off the wall. Just what I know based on my expereince, reading and conversations. Keep in mind I did say the three kids I met was not a scientific sample.

I would like to know how you think my analysis (too generous a word, it's just my take on the subject) is flawed. Please PM me if you would rather keep it off the board becuase it is off topic. Although, with the Japanese government's involvement with the UN on the small arms issue, it could be on-topic too soon.

That is a serious request. Not an invitaion to a flame war. It is a topic that interests me; that is why I posted. If I got something wrong, I'd like to know. I'd rather not walk around thinking I know something I don't.

If you are really not interested in it at all, please ignore my request.

Regards

Guy L Johnson
March 21, 2004, 07:47 PM
And the Japanees People should remember they got the residents of NanKing China to give up their arms for safety. were they safe I Think not the Japaneese as history goes have exibited the mentality of victims resigned to there fate, or agressors who want there victims disarmed and killed, Nanking wasnt that long ago 65 or 70 years ago i dont think a country who before that who would willingly bear their necks for the local Shogun represents a fair comparison to any other "Civilized " country.
Guy L Johnson

redneck2
March 21, 2004, 08:13 PM
I know little about modern Japan other than what my nephew has told me. He was stationed there for maybe 8 years and has a Japanese wife.

I do know that their laws and punishment are far above anything we have here. We were talking about speeding and getting a ticket. He says "no one speeds in Japan...no one"

If you're caught going something like 5 mph over, you get beat with a cane of shredded green bamboo with saltwater thrown on you if you pass out from the pain :what:

(not that I can't think of some people here that could use the same "treatment" )

IIRC, if you're convicted of a violent crime, you're beheaded within a few days. If you're caught with a gun, I believe it's life in prison. I suspect there are few criminals there with the 8 page rap sheet like we have here

Dave R
March 21, 2004, 11:37 PM
Cause and effect. Sounds to me like the anti's would really like to attribute Japan's low crime rate to its strict gun control. But if Redneck's post is accurate, it sounds like the low crime rate is due to "strong crime control".

I wish we had more of that in the USA.

8-page rap sheets, indeed.

Unlucky
March 22, 2004, 12:14 AM
Sorry, Redneck, but I think your nephew got his facts wrong and/or jerked your chain. Last I heard, the death penalty was administered at the end of a rope in Japan, unless they've gone PC and use lethal injection now.

I believe the Aum Shinryko (sp?) cultists who used sarin in the Tokyo subway were supposed to be hanged. I haven't followed it closely since it occurred, but I believe the cult leader was just condemned to death within the past few months, so there should be good articles with some specifics out there.

I also believe Japan frowns on corporal punishment for prisoners (but not schoolchildren, as many are beaten to death by teachers each year, unless things have changed quite recently), hence the mind games and isolation that I've read about. I don't believe that they flog speeders, but I'm sure they do fine heavily and take away licenses.

Account of speeding and punishment in Japan by long-time Western resident:

http://www.debito.org/speeding.html


Japan's Death penalty:

http://www.japanfile.com/culture_and_society/social_issues/death_penalty.shtml


http://www.tahr.org.tw/death/japan.htm

raz-0
March 22, 2004, 02:58 AM
redneck, that sounds more like singapore than japan, but even there, I believe hanging is the order of the day. But they do like to do it a lot.

moa
March 22, 2004, 03:10 PM
Anybody from a nation that murdered 19 to 36 millions Chinese, often for fun, before and during WWII, has no business telling people of another nation what to do. And, the Chinese were not the only ones to see bad side of people of Nippon.

Close to 60% of American and Allied POWs died in the hands during WWII. In Nazi Germany, only about 3% died.

The Real Hawkeye
March 22, 2004, 03:15 PM
Anybody from a nation that murdered 19 to 36 millions Chinese, often for fun, before and during WWII, has no business telling people of another nation what to do. And, the Chinese were not the only ones to see bad side of people of Nippon.

Close to 60% of American and Allied POWs died in the hands during WWII. In Nazi Germany, only about 3% died.Yeah, and the Japanese also did Nazi-style scientific experiments on POWs. This was not widely reported due to some sort of deal that was worked out with Japanese leadership.

redneck2
March 22, 2004, 04:05 PM
didn't remember the exact method, but pretty sure that punishment is swift, sure, and severe

as to the caning, yeah, that's on the money

my nephew's a Master Sargent in the Air Force (hope the rank is correct, he's E-7) He doesn't jerk anybody's chain

uglymofo
March 22, 2004, 05:48 PM
Anybody from a nation that murdered 19 to 36 millions Chinese, often for fun, before and during WWII, has no business telling people of another nation what to do. And, the Chinese were not the only ones to see bad side of people of Nippon.

I'm not sure I have a point, but I have a reaction. I'm Chinese (both parents); my father hated the Japanese. Wouldn't let a junior high school friend in the house on his looks (it wasn't hard to tell the difference then, before the influx of Vietnamese, Koreans, etc. That's not to slam immigration or anything--but in the 50's and early 60's there were two main nationalities in the local Asian populace--Chinese and Japanese). He used to say, if China or Korea get the Bomb, and the world goes to war, Japan will be gone in the blink of an eye. I'm from a different generation than my father--I believe there is no atrocity in war. Today, war is war, a practice of genocide by any means available or possible. All it is is an act of encouraged (mob) violence disciplined to a structured goal. There will always be instances of complete rational breakdown fomenting "atrocity"--Nanking, My Lai, Hanoi Hilton, Auschwitz, Manzanar-- there always have been breakdowns, and usually, the victor writes history in his best light. This nation has a dismissive attitude about its' sins as "history" most of the time, and by the passage of time, such a point is moot anyway. This land is no longer influenced by the Native Americans. Genocide? Were we the first to practice it in the age of firearms (in fun and competition)? Do we owe compensation to Native-Americans? African-Americans? Japanese-Americans? How about my family for the uncles lost building the railroad? I say 'no', those it directly effected are the only ones deserving of compensation. The article in question and this thread are a push-pull between groups in two countries and cultures completely contrary in almost every way. There's no point to argue; I suppose if I have a point, that'd be it--the reference points are too skewed.

Ironically, I've never seen better examples of a lack of crime, etiquette, honesty, and conduct anywhere in the world as I have in Japan. That said, they (as do the Chinese) certainly have a contempt for Koreans.

As an aside, the Tokugawa Shogunate never announced nor enforced an official edict on gun control; certainly it was concerned about a martial uprising utilizing firearms, but most samurai despised firearms anyway, and there was a national purge of firearms that was encouraged by the majority of the samurai class. Japan went from the most prolific nation of firearms in the late 1500's to a country with almost no gunsmiths in the early 1600's (and no firearms) until Perry's landing in 1853. At that point, most Japanese politicians understood or felt the need for firearms production as a means of national recovery to a status of world power. Obviously, it's a 'way more complicated subject than that, but that's a one-paragraph version on the subject of Japan and the origins (and demise) of their gun control in the 1500's.

Lastly, to Nanking. Why, so many years after the fact, do Americans proclaim outrage about Nanking? China was at war with Japan for almost a decade before America saw fit to join in the fight; the war between 'Celestials' was of no importance to America or England until they were dragged in by Germany and Japan. Roosevelt and the American populace could give a sh*t what happened in China for all that time. So why the American outrage at Japan for Nanking now? Where was American outrage in 1931-1938? No flame, just mentioning the hypocrisy.

dwkennedy
March 22, 2004, 06:27 PM
Question: If every knife in Japan was magically converted into a gun overnight, would there be a rash of shootings in the morning? Why or why not?

Also, Taiwan is another island nation with zero legal gun ownership outside the government. How or why did their President get shot in an assasination attempt last week?

dwkennedy
March 22, 2004, 07:01 PM
Lastly, to Nanking. Why, so many years after the fact, do Americans proclaim outrage about Nanking? China was at war with Japan for almost a decade before America saw fit to join in the fight; the war between 'Celestials' was of no importance to America or England until they were dragged in by Germany and Japan. Roosevelt and the American populace could give a sh*t what happened in China for all that time. So why the American outrage at Japan for Nanking now? Where was American outrage in 1931-1938? No flame, just mentioning the hypocrisy.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like a lot of Japanese don't have any sense that anything wrong was done by their soldiers in Nanking, and are more outraged at the US bombing campaign during the war. I think that other nations have been more forthright about condemning their own criminals and war atrocities. I don't think many in the US would honor the memory of Lt. William Calley of the My Lai massacre, nor does the average German glorify the atrocities of Hilter. What did the Japanese do to repudiate the war crimes of their soldiers after the war, let alone today?

Being part of their own history, I would think that Japanese kids should know more about Nanking and be more likely to be outraged than the average American. I also think the world has plenty of hypocrisy to go around, on all sides.

moa
March 22, 2004, 07:38 PM
Straighten me out on this if I have it wrong, but one of the reasons that Japan attacked the US was because of Japan's aggression in China and the resulting American embargos against Japan of oil and other natural resources.

Japan's back was against the wall. It was projected in 1941 that Japan's large navy only had enough oil reserves for one year of normal operations. So, the decision by the Japanese high command was invade Indo-China where the necessary resources were in abundance. The French and the Dutch could not really offer any resistance to the Japanese and protect their Indo-China colonies because their homlands were under Nazi occupation.

This meant, of course, that the United States and Great Britain had to be attacked and forced out of East Asia area and the western Pacific ocean.

So, part of the Western world was doing something in support of the Chinese.

uglymofo
March 22, 2004, 07:40 PM
DWKennedy,

I understand your point, but I don't see how "awareness" would change anything. In a sense, I'd also disagree that the notion of 'not honoring' a war criminal is the same as condemning them. Kent State laid no responsibility on anyone except the dead; Calley was out after the briefest of stints, and he alone was held responsible, at least, publicly. Germans may not honor those military leaders, but pacts were made to keep Porsche and M-Benz in the money despite their alliances with the Reich, and the "guilty" are nameless and faceless besides.

In any case, I doubt whether anyone would have accepted a Japanese apology at any time after the close of WWII as anything more than an acquiescence to American military might. I see repudiation as a reckoning adjudged by the righteous; the Japanese military culture was unlike any except possibly the Roman Army as far as I can grasp. No quarter was given nor ever expected, and that conduct levied on foreigners brought an incomprehensible contempt from the world's players that the Japanese still cannot fathom. Their military leaders never understood western warfare conventions, and that difference in conduct will forever be the part of the cultural barrier between Japan and the West.

Also, I'd argue a second point--American outrage now at Japanese conduct during war is moot. It won't influence how history is taught in Japan any more than Chinese and Korean diplomatic protests will.

I don't see why Americans dredge up Nanking; it typifies their sense of outrage over the complete experience of war with Japan. Why should American outrage change foreign conduct? We see the old adage, "British will makes the world England" as insufferably arrogant, yet their are so many guilty of it.

MOA,

I agree with your perception of the 'contributory' factors immediately leading to Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, I, as an American, see that as the American-history version of the start of the war. When talking to my peers (by age) who are Japanese natives, they are at a loss to point to the beginning of "WWII" as we would define 'a beginning of war' (they understand we see the beginning of war as Pearl Harbor, but it only makes *some* sense to them. I should say, that the elder Japanese military saw Pearl as a continuation of war, and that that's a mighty strange perception, from my American standing, though I understand it from the Japanese cultural perspective. My Japanese peers fathers (and to a lesser extent, mothers) saw the embargo as a power struggle and the beginning of a 'separate' war with the US over natural resources, not as an ally with China. Even my father and I agree on this point, and see it the same way. We never saw America's Pacific War as a conscious decision to help Asia (however Asia's described); we saw the Pacific war as an American war with the Japanese over resources (rubber and oil), and an American campaign for retribution for the 'sneak attack, with Filipinos, Chinese, Indians, Koreans et. al., as the "casualties of war". My father enlisted and landed at Normandy, but he didn't see America as an ally in the East--at least, to him, the idea of America come to the aid of the Asian world and Pacific Islanders was a crock--the Islanders held a precious commodity--the possibility for airbases and naval docks. That the ripple effect of an American victory affected that entire half of the world for these 50+ years is an unintended consequence; I don't think anyone in my family ever saw America's war as a ally come to the aid of Asia.

hapafish
March 24, 2004, 05:42 AM
I'm an infantry soldier with the 101st Airborne Division recently returned from Iraq, right now on leave (I haven't taken a vacation in three years and basically got told by everyone to get lost for 30 days) ... my uncle loves this forum and gave me a hardcopy of this thread to read. Some of the responses put out had me so puzzled I felt compelled to reply.

I was born in Japan, and spent much of my life there. Most of my father's side of the family is still there. Having moved stateside, at times over the years I've heard from the American side of the fence how Japan is a "peaceful society" because there are "no guns" and have listened to the Japanophiles and peaceniks gush over how "America would be so much better off if it were like Japan." It makes my teeth crack thinking about it.

Japan is, and always will be, first and foremost a martial society. On every level of its society is an emphasis on austerity and self-sacrifice that few other nations can match. From the education system that divides its kids into "red" and "white" teams that battle each other on the schoolgrounds, to the dynamic between honor and shame that guides the behavior of every individual within the society at ever level, Japan emphasizes collectivism for one purpose: Achievement. Mate that to an absolute reverence for tradition and the willingness to abase oneself completely for the collective, and you have what most outsiders would consider to be mass psychosis. Japanese officers used to kill themselves for falling out in road marches. Japanese schoolkids still kill themselves for failing to get into the top universities. Failure - especially the public sort - is irredeemable in Japanese eyes, and thus the status quo of "law and order" is maintained because Japanese are far more likely to internalize their aggression (i.e. suicide) than to engage in external acts of violence that shame their families.

When the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi started the "Great Sword Hunt" in 1588 and took away firearms and edged weapons, he did it to the general populace and the private militias of the religious sects, but not the samurai. He moved the warriors into the towns away from the countryside, and razed vast numbers of fortresses. He did this because for decades, the Japanese warrior clans were blasting each other into oblivion. Guns weren't even in the country until brought in from overseas in 1542. Within a few short years, there were more matchlocks in Japan than in all of Europe combined, and the Japanese had introduced refinements both to the weapons themselves and to tactics, using volley fire long before Europe.

In the space of a few short years, the warrior clans were being bled dry. Battles like Nagashino in 1575, where the Takeda Clan lost 10,000 of its irreplaceable finest warriors, were becoming too commonplace. Japanese martial tradition and brutally efficient firearms use were keeping the warriors engaged in battle too long, and the result was massacre. Hideyoshi saw that Japan could not survive more civil war, and that is why he did what he did. The caste system and the separation of the castes was strengthened to keep the peasantry from being drafted en masse as "ashigaru" (lit. "light-foots") by the warrior clans so that the farming communities would not collapse from decimation, something Hideyoshi as the son of a peasant understood keenly.

The fabled Japanese "politeness" is something born out of both the court ettiquete of Kyoto (my birthplace) and the society that developed after the first unification of Japan in 1590. With so much death and destruction in a nation that has always had maddening population density, the development of strict norms of behavior was the only way that people could ensure a way to make sense of a world where death could come at any time. Kyoto and the Imperial Court, being the epitome of Japanese culture, then became a model for interpersonal relations that has endured to this day (like the bows and the soft language). The fabled "kirisute-gomen" (lit. "License to Cut Down") that samurai had was strictly regulated. Drawing your sword made you accountable to the local authorities, and a warrior who could not justify why he killed a productive farmer who belonged to the regional lord was dealt with extreme prejudice (especially when the warrior in question couldn't make restitution, or worse, tried to run).

Japan had historical conditions which necessitated the removal of firearms from the entire populace - not just the peasantry, but the samurai as well. The population density, the martial traditions, the complete submergence of the individual to the "cause" and the sheer refusal to quit and admit to failure, ensure that violence in that nation will always be one step away from apocalypse. This is why the social controls are so strong and the "police state" model is dominant there. The Japanese police are entirely different from the American model. First of all, after 1868, the samurai were stripped of the right to bear their swords in public, vast numbers of the warriors became, in a word, cops - because pre-1945 that was the only way that they could bear swords in public. The police also lived in the neighborhoods they policed - and as such, became local burghers that everyone went to for assistance and adjucation of disputes (which they were doing anyways). Cops in Japan traditionally rely on social pressure to get things done, not on force. Legion are the cases of parents bringing in errant children (even adult children) guilty of a crime to the local police. When the Japanese police do use force and apprehend, criminals are essentially given a choice: Repent for the disgrace caused to society, or "face the consequences." Refusal to admit to wrongdoing means that you are essentially disavowing your ties from your family, and by extension, the entire society. This means conviction rates remain astronomically high, regardless of guilt or innocence, and prisoners in the Japanese prison system who display insufficient "remorse" are essentially nonhuman and treated as such. Remember, tradition is paramount in Japanese society, and the pillar of that society is respect. Displaying lack of respect is the highest insult imaginable and in the old days meant parents would literally murder their kids if they talked back, so as to remove the shame from the family.

Of course, now in the new "modern" Japan, "individualism" (really just mindless egotism and hedonism in disguise) rules, so tradition goes into the burn pit. Not that I've EVER heard of anyone being whipped with a bamboo cane with saltwater on the rear end (sounds like Singapore to me) ... or beheading (sounds like China in the old days) ... or life in prison (which, because of how jacked up Japanese laws are after the American Occupation got through with them, is almost impossible to get).

As for the Second World War and racism commentary ... I'm not full-blooded Japanese. Even worse, I pass for it (unlike my mother, who gets spotted right away) unless they look very closely at my mannerisms. So having gone through what that means in the "old" Japan, what I have to say on the Second World War is ...

One should remember that the Japanese military after 1868 was mostly run by those of peasant origin ... this was especially true of the Imperial Army, which tended to attract recruits of a lower caliber than the Imperial Navy (which, after Japan's spectacular victory over the Russian Fleet at Tsushima in 1905 became THE service to go into for the gentry) ... the Japanese Imperial Army was instrumental in propagating the racist ideology of various nutjobs and warping both the Shinto religion and the Bushido code to serve their egotistical needs. A convergence of the worst sort imaginable came to place, where a bunch of lunatics trying to "one-up" their social status ran the military into a series of atrocities and a confrontation with the United States. Japanese society before the Second World War had virtually no real contact with the mores and values of other nations. So, they projected their own - and thus they considered surrendering troops as scum, and civilians who were subjugated as just the same. The Fascists in power, mindful of their own lowborn origins, intriduced their "racial purity" notions that made everyone equal before the Emperor - bringing the old warrior aristocracy to heel, but also ensuring that the violence done to other nations would be unconscionable.

The hilarious thing is, of course, when the United States defeated Japan, the old rules on assimilation of state-by-state that worked in Japan's Warring States Period that limited destruction of the countryside kicked in - making Japan, in effect, a completely willing vassal state. In a nutshell, this meant the Japanese people considered themselves the property of the American people - which is why Gen. MacArthur was greeted as a new Shogun by miles and miles of silent, bowing Japanese lining the road in when he landed at Tachikawa Airbase and drove to the center of Tokyo. Which is why the Japanese completely, eagerly, and wholeheartedly changed their society within a decade to adopt absolutely everything American, from food to dress to culture. Which is why the Japanese haven't ever come to terms with what they did in the Second World War - because Gen. MacArthur excused them from it during the Tokyo Trials. Hard questions like that got lost in the shuffle to put as many anticommunists back into power (read: Fascists) in the Japanese government as quickly as possible.

The sad thing of course, is that the Japanese mindset works against them in this. The Japanese as a norm do NOT hold grudges. The society is so geared to eliminating contention that an apology once made is considered final. The one chance for bringing the Japanese to terms with Bataan, Nanjing, and all the atrocities by the chemical warfare unit Unit 731, was the Tokyo Trials. And that was it. Once the traitors who led the Imperial Government died in execution, as far as the society was really concerned that was the end of everything to do with the war. Hence, you don't hear Japanese society say much about Marines collecting Japanese skulls as trophies, the incineration of civilian masses in Tokyo by B-29 raids, or Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Which is why bring up atrocities from that era to your average Japanese, with or without copious documentation, usually results in a blank stare. They agree war is hell, they got nuked twice, they've dismantled their military, and they live as an American vassal state, so what more could the world want?

Really though, to bring this post back to topic, I think the Japanese are below the surface, the same people they've been for centuries. The hedonists have always been there in the margins; the single-minded aggression that typifies the Japanese approach to problem-solving is as always, still there. Giving these people guns is a real bad idea. They're not Americans; their traditions work against them. You'd see a lot of suicides, and I can just see the motorcycle gangs switching from edged weapons to semiautomatics clipping people all over the place. They wouldn't know how to stop or care unless the police stepped in real, real hard ... and the end result is a police state so much more totalitarian than what the arming of the citizenry was meant to prevent. RKBA isn't going to work in Japan, but that doesn't mean it's a paradise or a shining example, regardless of what the idiotic anti-RKBA crowd says. Japanese-style disarming and control of the citizenry would never work in the States. They just play with a very different set of cards in Japan.

Anyways, that's all I think I have to say on Japan and gun control there ... thank you for reading this overly long tract ... and I hope you're glad that you live in the good ol' USA (or what's left of it ... I think the good things vanish more year by year) ... have a good one. Peace out.

Stand_Watie
March 24, 2004, 06:24 AM
Hapafish, quite an informative post. I for one think you ought to present it for publication.

edit - Also I'd love to hear how you came to the States - success stories are always a pleasure to read, especially coming from someone making such a sacrifice for their second country.

igor
March 24, 2004, 09:00 AM
Wildalaska, I'd very much appreciate if you could put aside the personally feeling part when reading these opinions and share even a bit of your angle into this, for our information, as you obviously are at the source, so to speak.

I have a good friend who's on a year's stint at a Japanese research institute and I have to say that they're experiencing a good part of what's described here :confused: . My buddy is a very open-minded fellow and our correspondence has me wondering, how can all this be?

To just glue this on topic, as an aside, I do somewhat appreciate the insight of the original writer saying "You are a slave to a system in which you feel you need to carry a gun for self-protection." This only as an observation from my experience of the Scandinavian or Nordic way of life, not as a judgment on anything else.

igor
March 24, 2004, 09:24 AM
Hapafish, that was a great read. Welcome to THR! :)

Yowza
March 24, 2004, 12:02 PM
Hapafish, that was one of the best posts I've ever read on this forum. Thanks, and I hope you can stick around for a little while.

Rick

Leatherneck
March 24, 2004, 12:34 PM
Hapafish (What, exactly IS a hapafish?) again, welcome to THR. That was a delightful read, full of insight. As a Marine stationed both at Atsugi and Iwakuni, I greatly enjoyed mingling with locals; didn't really encounter any overt racism, but never felt especially welcomed either.

And thanks, Soldier for serving the USA. Glad you're home safe.

TC
TFL Survivor

hapafish
March 24, 2004, 02:16 PM
Stand_Watie ... my mother's from Hawaii. Making the choice to serve the American public (no matter how many idiots lurk amongst them) wasn't such a hard choice. I was in before 9/11; every time I need to be reminded how petty the concerns of life are, I think of that day or of the 442nd RCT. Thank you for the compliment.

igor, Yowza, thank you for the greetings.

Leatherneck, thank you for the greeting. The name "hapafish" came to me in a nap ... means "half fish" (hapa being Hawaiian for "half"). Don't ask me why I dreamt it up, I really couldn't tell you.

I know the Atsugi area pretty well; plenty of friends live there (you remember the Nippi aircraft maintenance facility besides it? Still have friends who work there) ... the lukewarm welcome really comes from the fact that the Japanese still don't know how to think of Americans, to this day, living amongst them. All very nice when Britney Spears comes to Tokyo but when they have to deal with a real American? Perish the thought. Politeness and the social stigma against showing public displays of emotion keeps them in the game, but fear of the unknown keeps them unwilling participants.

Oh it's all ok to say things Japanese like traditional dress and architecture are behind the times and embrace everything American, but dealing with people? The Japanese don't know how to do it.

Which is why RKBA doesn't work there; that would require political maturity and a willingness to embrace real issues in one's society instead of ostriching. Right now the Japanese don't have either; they abdicated responsibility for themselves ("Oh we don't do anything without the Americans saying so") and don't really know how to define the role of the individual (the word itself in Japan is written as "separated person") ... to the Japanese it means a license to be egotistical little vermin for the most part. Give them freedom, and the males go on sex junkets to Southeast Asia, the women on shopping trips to Paris. Maddening. :barf:

RKBA requires a culture that has as its core the emancipated, responsible, empowered individual. Since the Japanese never had Greco-Roman concepts of citizenry or Western notions of citizen's rights until 1945, they kind of skipped out on all that necessary sociopolitical development. and since taking responsibility for one's own actions has decreased in the postwar years markedly ("We're free, right? That means we're not accountable, right?") they wouldn't know what to do with guns. Lots of suicides, and motorcycle gangs blasting each other and the public to hell, that would be it. The way Japanese society run right now, it can't support an armed citizenry.

Methinks that it is good to be in the US of A ... even if the good things vanish more day by day. Oh and the anti-RKBA moron who wrote the tract that started this whole thread? The one who yearns for a Shangri-La in which no one is armed, and everyone indulges in group hugs and shares pots of chai latte in idyllic bliss? He's a moron. But hey, I think the High Road people knew that all along already.

Anyways do take care, peace out.

bobby68
December 25, 2004, 05:44 AM
I stopped reading midway at the post reminding us that the europeans came to america and killed the natives.

I am mexican american... Personally i am glad that the europeans came and put the Aztecs out of business... i wonder how many other native americans they sacrificed to some demonic spirit that they worshiped.

I think many people forget that the native americans were pretty cruel to each other before the white folks got here.

c_yeager
December 25, 2004, 06:21 AM
Japan really is a completely alien culture to us with different roots and values and codes of morality etc. The Japanese citizen seems to be largely content with how their country operates which means that their government is representing the people fairly well. They also have VERY little crime, especially considering how dense much of their population is. Japan has its own kind of freedom and it really does seem to work for them. The country is so different though that whatever works for Japan isnt likely to work here.

Smythe77
December 25, 2004, 07:44 PM
The Koren people look at Japan so differently to most of us in the world due to prior take-overs of Korea in yrs gone by, WWII & Korean War. I sponsoured a Korean chap & his wife plus their newly born daughter.

What an education for he was really well off in South Korea with something like 4 acres of orchard land & ONLY sold to China along with only learning their language, to help in sales, along with the addition of English & quite good with latter bar our slang.

He had NEVER driven a truck, car or tractor so I taught him. Also he just about jumped out of his skin when I bought out my Winchester 1897 pump shotgun to down some Starling birds. His orchard was just north of Sigon so taken over during the Koren War.

I took him up to our h/gun range, just the two of us there, & he was simply terrified of my h/guns, but you should have seen the smile on his face when he fired his first .22 rnd from a revolver. No he never went into f/arms & like myself his is now retired, but he gained understand in f/arms & my reloading. In fact there is a Korean chap that has a much better understanding of how Bill C-68 in Cdn has NOT done what it claimed in safety to others & only the civilian law-abiding tax paying citizens suffer along with many small Mom & Pop sport shops were forced to fold up since anythng f/arm related was to costly in bills/red-tape & such to cover their costs, when in fact it was almost 25% of their business.

Daemon688
December 25, 2004, 08:05 PM
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
- Thomas Jefferson

Stand_Watie
December 25, 2004, 10:44 PM
They also have VERY little crime, especially considering how dense much of their population is

I'd like to point out that the phenomena of crime (especially homicide) rates being exponentially higher in large urban areas is almost uniquely an American one, and (depending on your worldview) has more to do with demographics, poverty and other cultural and social issues than with high population density. As a couple of examples, Toronto has a lower murder rate than Ontario, and Moscow than Russia as a whole. Highly urbanized parts of Australia have lower murder rates than the sparsely populated north. Western European large cities sometimes have higher rates, but nothing like the rates that can easily be 10x as high as occurs in large cities here.

The only large cities in the US that I can think of that buck our trend (I'm sure there are others) are Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Honolulu.

Daemon688
December 25, 2004, 10:46 PM
It was only a few years ago Minneapolis was reffered to as Murderapolis. IIRC we had more murders in one year that NYC. :eek:

c_yeager
December 26, 2004, 02:45 AM
As a couple of examples, Toronto has a lower murder rate than Ontario, and Moscow than Russia as a whole.

Could you provide a source for this? The last international set of crime stats i saw listed Moscow as the only city that was in a position to compete with New York in violent crime. And based on having been to Toronto I find it hard to believe that they don't lead all of Canada in crime.

Stand_Watie
December 26, 2004, 10:31 AM
Could you provide a source for this? The last international set of crime stats i saw listed Moscow as the only city that was in a position to compete with New York in violent crime. And based on having been to Toronto I find it hard to believe that they don't lead all of Canada in crime.

I picked that up from disparate web sources. Granted that murder rates reported by the Russian government are likely unreliable, murder rates reported by the old Soviet Union were probably even less so. The figures cited usually show Moscow as having less murder per capita than Russia as a whole. Moscow actually has an abominable murder rate (18), worse than NYC (9), it's just that Russia's murder rate overall (20) is even worse, compared to NY state's which isn't bad at all (5). NY and NYC data was from 1998, both probably slightly lower currently.

Toronto currently has a murder rate of 1.9, slightly higher than Ontario's overall murder rate of 1.7. I see that has changed in the couple of years since I've looked at the stats on Canada, but the number of murders overall is so few that I'm not surprised it would shift a lot. The last time I looked at it, Ontario's rate was 2.0 and Toronto's was 1.95.

The point remains, if you subtract Toronto and London Ontario's murders and population from the provinces totals it doesn't effect the overall rate much. If however, you subtract Detroit and Genessee county statistics from the state of Michigan as a whole, it changes the total dramatically - from a rate of 6.45 per capita to 2.5 per capita.

Note that I am discussing murder rates here, not overall crime - two very different issues. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Torontos auto theft or burglary rates were higher.


http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/eurocops/feature5_2.shtml

http://www.mail-archive.com/firearmsregprof@lists.ucla.edu/msg00412.html

http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/crimnet/ojsa/cja_98/sec1/murder.htm

http://www.evalu8.org/staticpage?page=review&siteid=8271

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_02/html/web/offreported/02-table05.html

Edited to add Michigan stats

Smythe77
December 26, 2004, 09:58 PM
BIG typo error in my post above. I said this Korean chap would only sell to Japan & that is totally wrong. He would only sell to China & his dislike to the Japanese people. Even though overtaken by North Koreans & Chinese during Korean War.

I think during WWII he would be something like 4 to 7 yrs old & at that age somethings are never forgotten.

I made the correction in the above post, but just in case someone came away & wondering.

If you enjoyed reading about "An American, in Japan, on gun control" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!