Following natural disasters there always seems to be lessons to be learned.  Questions about proper preparations, adequate safety, advanced safety warning, quick civil response and so on.   How this for a new and uncommon question following the Japan earthquake: “why aren’t there reports of looting?”

This would be a question of contrast.  Following several recent Western natural disasters (the 2007 floods in England and Hurricane Katrina in 2005), there were reports (and pictures and video) of wide-spread looting, in fact there were several reports of looting following the recent New Zealand earthquake.  Even beyond natural disasters I think of a few recent examples of looting following civil unrest and following “championship celebrations” (the last two years of LA Lakers for example).

What explains this?  I think “Grandma and Grandpa” may have something to do with it…

I’ve got me own thoughts on why… but I’d love to hear yours…


Grandma & Grandpa = no looting?

5 thoughts on “Grandma & Grandpa = no looting?

  • March 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I think you’re right Chris I think discipline has been instilled in the Japanese culture from birth but there may be more to that. These families are strict and traditional and having honor in a family is very important. This means they are loyal, responsible, and have good behavior; they wouldn’t embarrass their family by going about looting!
    I also think that in a culture like that people don’t feel like they are owed something ,that isn’t true for the American culture. I think people justify some of their actions because they feel like they are entitled to so much and when loss happens they feel like they should get something back, this entitlement starts in childhood when parents give their kids everything and really truly don’t discipline!

  • March 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Im not sure what you mean about grandma and grand pa

    I feel that it is due mainly to the community based culture of the Japanese that we don’t hear of any reports of looting. Looting is wrong in every culture, but for them, it is foundationally contraticting to everything that they hold of value.

    In America, we really value individualism. So its not a far stretch for someone to think of himeself over others to the point of stealing or “looting”. however, In Japan, where the thinking is group or community first, the idea of looting from another in a community, especially after a natural disaster like this one just isn’t in there thinking process.

  • March 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    After getting an email from Noah basiy saying “try again” I hit Google to do some research. What I found was something I knew, but would not have put together with this topic. The part of the article I agree with most suggests discipline – ingrained in every part of the Japanese lifestyle from birth, to be the answer as to why people are not looting. Here is that part of the article below:

    “Discipline, discipline, discipline: “The Japanese are now reaping the fruits of having been taught, and drilled in, discipline and resilience since childhood,” says Federico D. Pasqual Jr. at The Philippine Star. In grade school, lunch is free, but often “spartan,” and kids learn to expect and deal with lean times. This unfathomable calamity is one of those times, and “the instilling of that value or attitude seems to be paying off.”

    Here is the full article:

  • March 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I think it is definitely a generational thing as well. You take Noah’s “Grandma and Grandpa” example that were probably raised going to church, hearing and hearing what the pastor has to say about “Thou shall not steal”

    If you take a look at Matt. 6:19-24 Jesus clearly explains that what we think is valuable and worth risking our lives to loot, rob, steal from others is NOT what we should be concerned about in this life, it will only make us even more hungry to have more now instead of obeying God by submitting to His will and serving and loving others in their time of hardship.


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