No Looting In Japan…Why Is That?

From the Telegraph via The Drudge Report;

The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out.

And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.

This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.

Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?

What’s even more instructive, is to read some of the comments. Some commenter’ s attribute the lack of looting to the lack of immigrants in Japan, the fact that it’s a homogeneous  society. Others say it’s because the people live in such close quarters. Or maybe it’s because the Japanese respect others’ property more than other cultures. For whatever reason, there is no looting in the aftermath of the devastation that happened on March 11, 2011, unlike what happened in Haiti or in New Orleans after their disasters. Why is that?

Update; From Pirate’s Cove, we have William Teach’s musings on the subject.

Update II; TLC has a profound respect respect for the Japanese people.

20 thoughts on “No Looting In Japan…Why Is That?

  1. I think it has more to do with the lower number of immigrants. Had Britain remained British I think it would have been more on a par with Japan. The U. S. has always been ethnically diverse but a progressive entitlement mentality prevails and people are becoming accustomed to getting something for nothing and believe they are entitled to the property of those doing better than themselves, up to a point. When you have to work for what you have you tend to respect the property and rights of those that have at a greater level. Just my opinion.
    Bob A.

  2. #1 The Japanese, due to tight quarters, have always had more highly defined sense of ritual and manners.

    #2 There is no doubt in my mind they would be shot on sight for looting – and they know that.

  3. Bob and Adrienne, thanks for your input. I also believe it has to do with their culture. I have relatives who have lived over in China for many years. They used to go to Japan quite often. They were telling me a story about when my Uncle had left his camera bag on a train there. At the time, it probably had several thousand dollars worth of cameras and lenses in it. A Japanese citizen found the bag, looked on the tag to see who it belonged to and returned it, also turning down the generous reward my Uncle offered him.


    • Hey Mr. mrgguy,
      We have to get back to helping each other. Family helping family, friend helping friend. I was thrown about 6-7 years ago to becoming a single father of a handicapped young man taking care of a basically mentally and physically handicapped wife. Did not know how to cook but had everything to do. My daughter helped as she could. A young woman managed our local convenience store, excellent cook and baker. I through conversation turned to her for help. She was never to busy. My daughter got herself in major trouble and I turned to her. She has consistently written and sent her things since August. That was after her mom passed away. The yard had gone downhill due to my depression over everything. Her husband came to me and said he had something that was bothering him, he knew Naomi (his wife) and I have talked for years and have gotten very close. I did not know where he was leading but he wanted to come and help me get things back where they should be. I accepted and it happened. We are good friends, Naomi will still bring baked and cooked dishes for Jim and I. She still corresponds with my daughter. They never asked anything in return and she has been my best and closest friend for many years. Hopefully in the next week or two my daughter will get home for a day or so and her and Naomi can meet. She is very restricted and the two of them have never met each other. My grandson (Liz’s son) has done some very nice charcoal portraits (from photos) for them in appreciation for their friendship. And I mean very good, professional quality excellent.
      Sorry about letting my heart out but sometimes it helps. More dependence on each other and not government. You too Adrianne. You guys can always email.
      Bob A.

  4. Pingback: No Looting In Japan…Why Is That? (via That Mr. G Guy’s Blog) | Citizen Tom

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  8. By now you’ve seen that this “no looting” thing has been debunked. The best part is when the right leaning media says something you guys swallow it hook line and sinker.

    • How has it been debunked? There was no or very little looting in Japan. I’ve been checking “left leaning” media outlets and they all say the same thing…no looting after the disaster. So when you say something has been debunked, “show me the money (links)”.


    All the things about the homogeneous society and few immigrants are true. But when Glenn Beck and the rest of you got on this bandwagon, you were exaggerating. NO looting is an exaggeration, but then it went like wildfire around the internet. I saw one comment that there’s no looting in many places because there’s nothing left there to loot. In other places it’s a question of survival not looting.

    But what the right is trying to do with all this is to support their bigoted and racist policies and ideas. What I object to is the way others mindlessly perpetuate these false impressions.

    • Thanks for the link. But I would still categorically state that although there were a few isolated instances of “looting”, it was for food and not, as was shown in all the major media outlets during Katrina, a bunch of lawless crooks taking advantage of the strife and looting the stores of flat screen TVs, high end stereo equipment, clothes and fancy shoes. I’m sure you remember the pictures and videos of people pushing shopping carts through the flooded streets loaded down with their ill-gotten booty.

      It really has nothing to do with raaaaacism as you say. It’s a cultural thing. Japanese people just aren’t raised to have that entitlement mindset like some of our youth here in the US and other countries. Granted there are dumbasses everywhere, but there seems to be a dirth of them in Japan. I’m just sayin’.


      P.S. I’m not changing the title, by the way, as is my prerogative.

  10. Mike, You may be right and I wouldn’t suggest changing the title of the post.

    Another possible factor could be that the Japanese have a more cohesive national pride and would be reluctant to film or make public such incriminating scenes. I find it hard to believe they’d be nearly immune to the very human tendency to want something for nothing.

    Anyway, thanks for your civil response to my slightly antagonistic comments.

    • Thank you also for your comments. After all, that’s what we do this for…to elicit civil debate on the latest news and on society in general.

      And I didn’t take your comments as antagonistic…just another point of view. 😉 Again, thanks for commenting.


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