Sabagebu: An Introduction to Gun Culture

Just when you start to think that anime shall produce no new kinds of stories, something like Sabagebu! jumps onto the screen.  The show is essentially a zany comedy, but episode 7–if this fact has not struck the viewer beforehand–makes it manifest that this show is meant to introduce Japanese teenagers to the gun culture.  They have referenced gun laws throughout the show, especially in regard to airsoft guns; but in episode seven, they explained how to obtain a hunting license in remarkable detail–even giving the web address of the Japanese Hunting Association!  Rare does an anime with such a conservative worldview appear.

Group of Hunters

In addition, the show argues that hunters are desperately needed.  Wildlife causes millions of yen in damage to farms, which may increase due to animals losing all fear of man.  Also, Japan has an aging population of only 100,000 hunters.  I will say, of all the shooting sports, hunting is the most difficult and expensive to enter.  People’s ignorance of what hunting involves gives them a feeling of trepidation: how many of us grew up in a household where our father guided us through the ins and outs of hunting?  But after watching this episode, I felt my own desire to try my hand at hunting rekindle.

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Episode seven of Sabagebu! brings up something people often overlook: modern man’s withdrawal from the sport of hunting has effected nature sometimes for the worse.  For example, wild boars run rampant in parts of the South and cause much property and crop damage just like one saw in Sabagebu!  Also, Sarah Palin is famous for permitting aerial wolf hunts because hunters noticed that it was becoming more difficult to bag moose.  (Though this article reveals that bears might have been more to blame than wolves.)  Basically, hunting–as long as animals are not overhunted–has beneficial effects for ecosystems and people whose living is tied to the land.

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And so, I applaud Sabagebu!’s efforts to introduce people to the joys of firearms.  I have not watched a show which felt this conservative since Blassreiter, and that was a religious conservatism.

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8 comments on “Sabagebu: An Introduction to Gun Culture

  1. Bonus points go to marking a distinction between real firearm usage and survival games: this show might be an entertaining black comedy, but it does a good job explaining things when it needs to.

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    • I agree. The narrator does a thorough job, and the last episode points out two errors which people often make: putting their finger on the trigger before being ready to shoot and not being careful where their gun is pointing. I still remember when a young lady at a shooting range pointed a shotgun at her instructor while asking why it had not gone off. xD But, stories like that are numerous.

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  2. Cytrus says:

    Again and again, I am amazed at your approach to the term conservative. Maybe it’s because I view a Japanese show in a Japanese setting from a Japanese perspective, but calling a pro-gun show conservative in the context of contemporary Japan makes no sense to me. Remember Light of all people feeling disquieted when made to hold a gun in Death Note? That was the result of him being brought up in a conservative household. Anti-gun and anti-militarism has been the default Japanese outlook for three generations now, and Japan has a history of weapon control far preceding that. Views attempting to introduce change to the status quo are what “progressive” is all about, isn’t it?

    I’ll refrain from getting into the pro and anti gun side of things, since we’ve discussed that one and I know we have completely opposite backgrounds regarding the issue xD.

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    • Cytrus says:

      The father of one of our Japanese teachers hunted down a wild bear and prepared the meat for us foreign students when we were visiting her at her jikka (country home). Japanese large cities and the country are like two different worlds, so hunting as an ordinary part of life might be much more common in the Japanese country.

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      • That’s similar to how it is in America. Though, we’re also experiencing diminishing numbers of hunters. As I said, it is rather expensive, and one must get over a degree of uncertainty and squeamishness in order to enter the sport as well. Very few people who were not taught by their fathers to hunt ever get into hunting.

        And wild boar is delicious!

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    • As Jusuchin mentioned, I can’t help thinking of issues from the lens of American politics. I remember the shock I had while reading for the first time about how the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan was pro-military and agreed in other ways with American conservatives. In America, the situation is the exact reverse with American Liberal Democrats supporting a more limited military, gun control, etc.

      The whole problem of nomenclature is rooted in the Progressive Era of America. At some point, Progressive began to be seen as a bad name so they adopted the name of “Liberal,” even though Classical Liberalism differs from Progressivism. Following President Clinton, Liberal began to take on a negative connotation, and they are referred to as Progressives again. My brother tells me that some were suggesting that they take on the name Conservative–just to throw more confusion into the mix! Though, America was founded on Liberal (i.e. Classical Liberal) principles, so to be an American Conservative is to be Liberal in the proper sense of the word. And I have heard that the term Conservative in European politics also differs from what it signifies in American politics. Confusing, isn’t it?

      But, whenever I get the chance to visit Japan, I’ll have to remember that I’m a Liberal Democrat there, though I am a Conservative Republican here. xD That was a great tie in to Death Note, by the way!

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  3. I’m guessing ‘conservative’ in an American sense, as an American viewing in kind of deal.

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    • Exactly. It feels easier for me to do that, though I must remember that American terms don’t correlate to the way the rest of the world uses them, which adds another difficulty in talking about American politics to foreigners and vice versa. A friend of mine once attended some classes in France and heard the teacher denigrating Conservatives after classes. He had accidentally lumped together American Conservatives with French Conservatives, and my friend had some trouble convincing him that they were not the same.

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Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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