Even though Japan has a reputation as a peaceful country, don’t be fooled: it’s a nation full of sharpshooters. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself hit square in the face by a rubber band.
Even though firearms are tightly controlled in Japan, not-so-deadly rubber band weaponry is still fair game. While some might dismiss rubber band guns as kid’s toys, they don’t know just how wrong they are.
Rubber band militias are forming all across Japan, and while they might come across as harmless fun, they’re . . . well, I guess that’s actually what they are. It’s hard to look at an organization like the Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association and not be charmed.
Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association
The Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association, or 日本ゴム銃射撃協会 (nihon gomu juu shageki kyoukai) in Japanese, is Japan’s premier club for rubber band weapon enthusiasts. Over 2,500 people are part of the JRBGSA, with chapters in various cities throughout Japan.
The JRBGSA is not your typical social club. Membership seems pretty varied, with a wide range of ages and people from all over the country. Even, according to this picture, new mothers are part of the crowd. I guess as long as your baby is wearing appropriate gear and the mom doesn’t do any crazy acrobatic dodges, it would be ok.
What do you do in the JRBGSA? Besides honing your rubber band shooting skills, you can socialize with your fellow sharpshooters, compete to see who’s aim is the greatest, and even talk a little shop. After all, you wouldn’t want your fellow members to think that you use just any old rubber band or gun, right?
Rubber Band Arms Dealers
Rubber band warriors are very particular about the tools of the trade. Not only do rubber band warriors have their preferred brand of rubber bands (one member likes the rubber bands from Kyowa Ltd. the best), but rubber band guns vary quite a bit too.
Of course, you can make your own rubber band gun with little more than two pieces of wood, but that’s kind of primitive. If you want quality weaponry, then you’ll have to go to the professionals.
Take a steel cabinetmaker by the name of “ZumA2,” who decided in 2008 that he would expand his horizons and start producing metal rubber band guns too. Since then, his armory has grown and grown and he’s gained a reputation as one of a craftsman of some of Japan’s finest rubber band guns.
As you can see on his site, ZumA2 produces a ton of rubber band guns, including a variety of pistols and a fully-automatic rubber band submachine gun, complete with stock and grip. Behold, the mighty Yeti 30:
Unfortunately for all of you rubber band warriors living overseas, ZumA2′s wares are only shipped within Japan. On the bright side though, there are penty of other gunsmiths across the country. Just check out this power-drill-driven rubber band machine gun:
A few are even, by the looks of it, available on Amazon, starting as low as ¥400 (about $5). None of the guns I found had any reviews, but I suspect that’s because the owners are far too busy at the shooting range, firing round after round into unsuspecting paper cups.
So should you happen to meet a rubber band warrior in Japan, just be careful — that snapping sensation on the back of your neck might just be your initiation into one of Japan’s coolest subcultures.