Japan’s Strict Laws Govern Private Ownership of Antique Weapons

In Japan, there are stringent regulations regarding the private collection of swords, spears, firearms, and other antique weaponry. Unlike some countries, Japan requires collectors to obtain explicit permission from authorities in order to legally acquire and keep such items in their homes.

Specifically, Japan’s Sword and Firearm Control Law mandates that permits must be acquired from the local Public Safety Commission before amassing any private cache of antique arms. This comprehensive application process examines the purpose, knowledge, and capability of the would-be collector before granting approval. Moreover, permitted collections remain subject to inspection at any time.

An arrest demonstrates how seriously Japan takes violations of these antiquated arms regulations. On Nov 28th, 2023, Tokyo police raided the residence of a 51-year-old yakuza member, with multiple unlicensed weapons. He is said to be a senior member the Sumiyoshi-kai organized crime syndicate.

image source: asahi

These included a Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1603) Japanese sword and matching spear, along with a vintage American Sharps rifle from the 1800s measuring nearly a meter long.

Detailed photos show the sword’s hand-forged 53.9 cm blade bearing the signature of a master swordsmith. The 31.7 cm spearhead displays similar ornate craftsmanship hinting at its Azuchi-Momoyama origins.

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