Japan Bans American Pens as “Weapons”


Japanese customs have banned the import of US-made ballpoint pens after determining they constituted “weapons” and “could be used in self-defence.”

Customs authorities in Osaka and Nagoya ordered that the US-made pens be denied import permits after classifying them as “weaponry.”

Due to their pointy shape and metallic construction, customs say they are actually intended as self-defence pens, and most likely illegal under Japanese law.


The importers and their US makers have criticised the decision as “unfair,” and after having been unable to reach any agreement with customs have seen 237 of their pens held at airports for over a year.

The pens in question are made by such renowned American cutlers as Smith & Wesson and Benchmade Knife; their rugged metal construction and militaristic design were apparently just too much for officials to countenance as being anything but evidence of them being designed for killing:


Fortunately, the vast quantities of ballpoint pens Japan imports from China and elsewhere seem unlikely to be provocatively manly enough to those officials, else normal people and not just creepy pen collecting military otaku might be affected.

Online there is despair both at this TSA-level genius and the kind of mentality which sees a gun-maker making a literal killing off its pens:

“So self-defence gear is no good – in other words they are saying we should die quietly if attacked?”

“I’m amazed the yanks were dumb enough to think they could slip stuff like this through customs!”

“Well, if we can’t import them I guess it’s a chance for our domestic makers!”

“You can buy a fruit knife in any ¥100 shop… I suppose that is out as well?”

“If they have time to ban pens like this, they should do something about that rocket launcher they found in Fukuoka recently…”

“Come on, it was made by a small arms manufacturer. I don’t see any problem with banning its import.”

“How are these weapons?”

“I thought it would have a knife or a gun attached… these are just normal pens?”

“I think you could stab someone with a normal ballpoint just as well. Perhaps its the blood grooves these pens have on them?”

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    Avatar of Erosmith
    Comment by Erosmith
    05:51 02/07/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    The pen is mightier than the sword.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:29 02/07/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    > Pen
    Dangerous, must ban.

    > Wooden Sword
    Japanese stuff, no problem.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:08 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    You could poke someone's eyes out, but it's Japanese stuff, so again, no problem.

    Avatar of kache
    Comment by kache
    01:24 05/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Someone well trained can kill you with their own hands...

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:34 03/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @12:50 you've obviously never stabbed a guy with chopsticks before, or you're doing it wrong.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:58 03/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    You don't know much about Japan, do you? Typical Japanese chopsticks are sharp, and could easily be used to stab a person.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:50 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Chopsticks are not sharp enough to stab people with them without additional modifications. With this thing, someone well trained can cut your neck arteries and kill you pretty much instantly.

    In fact, if you start banning things that can poke people's eyes, then you have to bank forks and spoons as well. How exactly do you suggest they eat?

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:32 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Wooden Sword is hard to conceal.

    The Pen on the other hand...

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:54 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Why would you need to conceal it? If you were in Japan, and you had it in the appropriate bag for a wooden sword then people would presume you were coming from or going to a kendo dojo and probably wouldn't look at you twice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:22 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    What about those chopstick-like things women to hold their hair in a bun? Those could be used as weapons.

    Are canes (not sword-canes, regular canes) to be outlawed as well?

    What about my flash drive? I've got a Corsair "Survivor" flash drive with a cylindrical aluminum housing; I could use that to stiffen my fist.

    What about rolls of quarters? What about ... ?

    This is so stupid. Link to appropriate Monty Python video on self-defense:


    Comment by Anonymous
    08:32 03/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    what about bare hands?

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:59 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    @07:54 That's one of the points I was getting at, but I was referring to getting through customs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:22 02/07/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Lemme show you a magic trick...

    Avatar of Satonaka
    Comment by Satonaka
    16:23 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)


    Never again will there ever be a perfect time to use that line, kudos to you good sir, you've earned this one :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:43 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Especially when you shoot that pen out of a gun."

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:28 05/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just like in the Bic! pen commercial of the 70's.
    They had a Bic pen [plastic] being fired out of a rifle, through a block of wood, and working.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:38 05/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    i thought Hen is mightier than a sword?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:27 03/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Those are weapon pens that are designed to skirt weapons restriction even in the US (that is you could carry a stabby pen in places you cant carry a knife or gun). Japan is apparently not fooled by that dumb shit.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:13 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    They must have watched that scene in Umineko where Rosa fought the goats one too many times and cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality.

    Comment by Anonymous

    fuck off US pig !!

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:41 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL dumbass PRC cunt. Go suck on your master's cock a bit more maybe they will throw another bone your way.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:20 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Glorious racism.

    Translation; Go die in a fire, no-one needs your mouth here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:08 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'd like to know about the penis mightier.

    Will it mighty my penis?

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:57 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    If it really works I'll order a dozen!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:41 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    <3 that sketch is my favorite

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:21 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    the keyboard is migthier

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:45 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is what keyboard 'warriors' tell themselves talking shit online.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:52 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    The metal ones are indeed, mightier. Properly used, you can crush bones with those.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:20 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Done it.

    ...Not on purpose of course..

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:48 02/07/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    When I was in Japan, just passing through the airport, I wanted a souvenir, something that showed I've been to Japan, so I bought a nice looking pen. It wasn't untill I got back home that I really looked at it, and it said "Made in New York." lmao I was so pissed, here in the states we only have "made in China" pens, and yet Japan has pens made in the U.S.

    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:14 02/07/2012 # ! Good (+0.4)

    You can get the made in US ones in the US just buy the next price up vs the bargain model.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:31 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Reminds me of my neighbor who visited Egypt several years ago. He came back with all sorts of "authentic" trinkets from street vendors; all of which turned out to have been made in China.

    Avatar of Kuro'Base'Neko
    Comment by Kuro'Base'Neko
    05:33 02/07/2012 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Looks a dildo than a weapon :/

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:41 02/07/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    That tells me what kind of hentai/doujins you like to watch...:p

    Avatar of Cirno Cancer
    Comment by Cirno Cancer
    06:28 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    A tactical dildo! Awesm

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:22 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Stealthy tactical insertion...

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:44 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    used for tactical insertion O_o?

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:36 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    tactical is fine...
    you don't want to see a strategical one

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:30 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    i lol'd hard

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    "your mom's a combat specialist... with my dick" lol.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:12 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Dildos for robots? Incredible Japanese police now afraid even of those who use pens?! More strange is that law, coming from a country where swords are worshiped for centuries.

    Hey, since when hentai became shame at least around here?

    Comment by Dark Mage
    09:16 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I was thinking the same thing scared of a pen what a bunch of chicken shits.
    In my state I can a frigging gun.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:48 02/07/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Its a Benchmade 1100 and Ti model pen. Benchmade made them as a novelty item really. They are not made with self defense in mind. But Benchmade wanted to capture the cold steel style of their blades and make a pen that would be rugged and stylish for the Military, Police, Contractor or collector who fancies those things.

    Though, calling them a weapon is odd. It would be VERY hard to penetrate skin with them, while the end is pointed its not sharp and quickly gets too thick. I doubt it would penetrate clothing and cause only light wounds.

    That said. They may as well pan Umbrellas, Car Keys, Glasses (they can house blades) and other objects with a point. Not to mention regular pens and Calligraphy pens (now those fucksers are sharp)

    But calling it a weapon simply because its made in steel and manufactured by a knife company is retarded.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:28 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually they might be designed with the secondary intention of being punching aids or improvised weapons (like a yawara) since they look robust enough not to break on bone or muscle.

    Some methods of using these do exist in unarmed combat techniques, like in jujutsu or this: http://www.urbancombatives.com/improv_weapons.htm

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    23:04 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't be silly. Nobody has ever been killed with an umbrella! (*wink wink*)

    Avatar of Tankenka
    Comment by Tankenka
    03:54 05/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    It takes exactly 6lbs of pressure to impale a person with a sharpened weapon. That is as hard as tapping the table with your finger or a knock on a door. A pen like this one would take not more than 10lbs pressure - no more than you'd put into a friendly smack on someone's ass.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:36 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Honestly, I think they are intended as disguised self-defense weapons, but not advertised as such to skirt around weapon laws and import restrictions. On the Benchmade site, one of those pens is described as having a "carbide tip for glass breaking capability", which doesn't exactly sound like something intended for writing purposes. The idea is likely to go for the eyes of a would-be attacker, though I could see one of these causing injury by striking someone anywhere. Really, even a standard pen could cause serious injury, though these appear ruggedized to inflict more damage.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:39 03/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Breaking glass in a car when you can't escape. Try using it in self defense and your attacker will own you. Its a pointed metal tip. a knife from the same company for 150$ less would be a 500x better defense weapon able to be carried by anyone descreately. its not a self defense weapon. Its a novelty item for collectors and people who like these kinds of things.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:15 04/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    A knife is not discrete at all. You can't walk into a meeting, or down the sidewalk carrying a knife in your hand, and most businesses won't even allow employees to conceal them. Sure, it may technically be a more effective deterrent, but if it's not in your hand when you get attacked, it's useless. If someone starts stabbing you with a knife, you're not going to be able to get your own out to defend yourself with until they've done substantial damage. Immediately stab them with the pointed end of your pen, however, and they're bound to back off, or at least get slowed down enough to give you a chance to get away.

    To claim that a $200 rugged metal pen with a pointed carbide tip being sold by a knife manufacturer is not at all intended to double as a weapon is a bit of a stretch. For what other reason would a company that almost exclusively sells knives get into the business of selling pens?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:51 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    But... self-defence is legal in Japan (§36 of the criminal code).
    [ The issue is of course that they could be used for robberies and such, I get that. But I hate doublespeak with a burning passion. ]

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:06 02/07/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    While a fallacy, that's not doublespeak. It's just flat-out fear mongering.

    Doublespeak only applies when the statement distorts the truth somehow, not when the statement requires on the viewer's misinterpretation.

    For example, saying that weapons are bad is doublespeak. But saying that weapons can be used for bad things is not.

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