Monday, November 12, 2007

American and Japanese Comparative Culture

This semester I am teaching a comparative culture course that focuses on Japan and America and their respective similarities and differences. For the past two classes we have talked about America's "gun culture" and the factors that cause gun violence at such a horrific rate in the US while other heat packin' people don't have nearly the difficulties.

There is gun ownership in Japan, both legal and illegal, but there is a good bit of hunting that goes on, especially out in the hinterland where I live. Hunters use traps as well as guns, and several of the locals that I know own them. I also know a Canadian citizen who went through the necessary procedures to own a gun, too. When you no longer want to hunt, then you take your gun to the police and they cut it into bits while you watch, according to the story that I heard from a one-time hunter.

The students were very interested in the class and there was quite a bit of discussion. One of the students asked about gun ownership as a deterrent. I did not know about the research on that topic, so I looked it up. It appears that there is no evidence that gun ownership deters crime, so I'll let them know about that next week.

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