Guns in Japan are also Made in Japan

KFC rifle advertisement
From the Asahi Graf Tokyo Olympics Edition_November 1, 1964

This ad for rifles in Japan was published in November 1, 1964 issue of the Asahi Graf, their Tokyo Olympic special issue. Admittedly, I was shocked to see it.

After all, Japan is famous for the low number of guns in the country, and the related number of deaths due to firearms. Following the end of World War II, the Allied Occupation under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) banned the possession of firearms and swords by citizens. Even after the Allied Forces restored sovereignty of the country to the Japanese, the basics of the Allied laws were kept in place. In fact, the laws became stricter in the late 1950s, prohibiting owners from even carrying them – this was done after gang fights involved firearms and swords legally possessed by the people involved in the fights.

This article links to a CNN report on how difficult it is to license a gun in Japan – it took the person in the report a year to get a license, having to jump through bureaucratic loopholes designed to discourage almost any would-be owner.

I suppose there is a firearms market for hunters and sportsmen in Japan, but it would be miniscule. Having said that, there are two major firearms manufacturers in Japan according to this blog: Howa, which provides the Japanese military with rifles, and Miroku, which provides handguns to the Japanese police forces.

The company in the ad, K. F. C., or Kawaguchiya Firearms Company, was/is the sales company that owned/owns the firearm manufacturer, Miroku, which currently manufactures Winchester and Browning firearms under license. And according to various American shooting enthusiast discussion groups, made-in-Japan rifles have a very good reputation for quality.

But don’t ask me if they’re finger lickin’ good.