Japanese Man Arrested for Possession of 3D Printed Guns


The gun laws in Japan are incredibly strict, so needless to say making a firearm in your own home is a crime roughly on par with being a terrorist. One 27-year-old Japanese man is finding that out the hard way after being arrested earlier today in Japan’s Kawasaki City on charges of illegal possession of a firearm. The man was found to have a copy of Cody Wilson’s Liberator handgun in his home, along with some pretty cool looking designs cooked up by the Shonan Institute of Technology student himself . . .

From the local news (Engrish translation in the original) . . .

Staff and Imura KeiTomo suspect of Shonan Institute of Technology (27), allegedly at his home in Kawasaki City, was in possession of two guns handgun made ​​of resin, which was prepared in 3D printer has been no. Of the handgun of 5 Ding last month, police seized from the home, mainly because the bullet that was fired from two guns is through the more than 10 plywood, I have determined that there is lethal. The seen and downloaded the blueprint of handguns from overseas sites, Imura suspect was discovered from the fact that his team was in the post to video sites a gun that is manufactured or blueprint. Imura suspect will not allow the suspect, “the police if you were recognized as handguns, there is no ginger also been arrested” he said. Seizure of handgun made ​​with 3D printers will be the first time in Japan. “YouTube videos from the suspect were posted by”

Some of the guns shown in the video at the above link are pretty impressive.

This might be the first time that someone has actually been arrested for printing one of Wilson’s creations overseas. According to the story the man didn’t realize that printing the gun was illegal.

From a more comprehensible story about the arrest at japantimes.co.jp:

Imura, who purchased a 3-D printer for around ¥60,000 on the Internet, was quoted as telling investigators during the search, “I produced the guns, but I didn’t think it was illegal.”

“I can’t complain about the arrest if the police regard them as real guns,” he reportedly said.

Things really are different in the inscrutable east.


  1. avatar J.C. says:

    It will be fascinating to see what the effect of this technology is in 10 years. I’m not talking strictly guns either.

      1. avatar Noishkel says:

        Very VERY cool stuff. I’m very excited to see how this technology progressed. Hell, in time I wouldn’t mind starting a company to make parts for rare guns. Like my favorite ‘weird’ gun the C96.

        1. avatar J.C. says:

          Think of how fantastic it would be to create new pins etc etc for guns that haven’t been made is 75-100 years!

        2. avatar Noishkel says:

          Exactly. Hell… I wouldn’t mind building all new examples of several interesting guns. In time. Can you say new .45 Luger?

          And really we could do that NOW with conventional technology. There’s been a few projects aimed at making ‘desktop’ inexpensive CNC machines. In a lot of ways I’m more interested in that than the printers. But the printers could be very useful too.

  2. avatar Jolly Roger That says:

    Always Japan news to make guns many big deal understand trust!

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      Do not insert gun into children!

    2. avatar Mediocrates says:


    3. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Rook at dis baby!

    4. avatar Jus Bill says:

      All your guns are belong to me now! And there is no ginger also been arrested.

    5. avatar Andrew says:

      For Many Schoolings, Children. Shooting Guns vacated from Prefecture Domo.

  3. avatar Noishkel says:

    Well this was bound to happen sooner or later. Human’s have been making tools since the dawn the species existence. The idea that they’re not going use a new tool to make weapons when they want or need them is ludicrous.

    The real question is is when are we going to see a real crack down on the 3D printing technology and is it too late already to put the proverbial genie back in the bottle. I would argue that it’s already too late. Once someone knows it can be done people will be trying to do it themselves.

    1. avatar Full Cleveland says:

      For example using existing technology to track every email and cell phone conversation!

      How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm…

      1. avatar Noishkel says:

        I’m… not sure what you’re trying to say with that last statement there. But whatever.

  4. avatar Delbert Grady says:

    As a homogenous society they can afford to ban guns.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      You know, Tunisia is right around the level of Japan in terms of homogeneity. Haiti’s not that far off either.

      But keep beating that drum that we’d be fine without all those scary minorities.

      1. avatar John L. says:

        A bit off-topic, but my impression is that the more homogeneous a society is, the more extreme its response tends to be to deviation from the norm.

        Salem witch trials, anyone?

      2. avatar Delbert Grady says:

        Who is the minority in Japan?

        1. avatar G says:

          Zainichi Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, Africans and Europeans. Not to mention the indigenous Ainu and Okinawans who don’t consider themselves Japanese.

        2. avatar lolinski says:

          Not even Japan is homogenous? Ooga booga!

    2. avatar Guy says:

      Please explain how that works. I, for one, would like to hear how their ‘homogeneity’ makes the cost of disarmament affordable. Go ahead and make the argument. If you have the skills to argue your point in an articulate manner, and without mentioning the qualities of minority races (even though ‘white’ is a minority in Japan…), I’ll gladly ship you a brick of .22lr. Actually, I’ll throw in 250rds of whatever caliber you choose.

      Historically, the Japanese are one of the most feudal, violent, class-structured, and factioned societies we’ve seen. Homogeneity hasn’t stopped them from developing all kinds of exotic weapons and methods of killing folks. It just turns out that they didn’t really adopt guns until later than pretty much everyone else, and then the US bombed them into submission and rebuilt their country without firearms as a consideration.

      1. avatar lolinski says:

        I will do my best to explain. “Minorities” AKA “non-white” people and whathaveyounot are inherently scary since they are not identical to us. It ls like being at the range and seeing a guy with an AK while everyone else uses ARs. You are bound to freak out because these savages are completely different from us even though they have the same morals, goals and methods of achieving these goals.

        Even worse than that are white immigrants, you don’t know they are foreigners before you are within conversation-range with them. I know this from personal experience, since I am a white immigrant (really fun to mess with the crazy right wingers).

        1. avatar Guy says:

          Using ‘crazy right wingers’ isn’t exactly a strong way to finish your argument.
          Don’t label whole groups of people. There’s a lot more to this country than left and right. It’s not kindergarten, and people are not opposites.

        2. avatar Lolinski says:

          Sorry, miswrote. Meant one specific person I used to know. Kinda funny I forgot to write half my post.

          He was your stereotypical xenophobe/racist right wing stereotype. He was always raving about muslims/jews/blacks/blacks that look kinda white/whites that looked kinda black/asians/redskins, etc. I could go on for a while. I used to freak him out since I was white(=good, fellow non-foreigner) while being a immigrant and muslim(=real bad in his eyes). Worst part is he was dead serious about all I just wrote. He was convinced I was going to blow up since obviously muslims=explosives. I, being a responsible person turned a beeping sound on my phone on.

          Honestly I don’t care much for politics; bad people talking, good people dying IMO.

    3. avatar Skeptical_Realist says:

      As someone who has spent more than four years in South Korea, I can tell you that it has more to do with Asian societal assumptions.

      In Asian societies with roots in confusionism, to include China, Japan, and Korea, the individual is less important than the collective. To act in your own interests is considered extremely selfish. Rather, effort must be directed toward the benefit of family, and society as a whole.

      Individual freedom and rights are downplayed to the point of nearing a foreign concept.

      This is what is meant by ‘homogeneous’. Not that everyone looks the same (although that helps a lot), but more that societal assumptions expect certain behavior that benefits everyone, even at personal expense.

  5. avatar Dave357 says:

    How did they find him? Did they track the printer? Did they track his downloading the blueprints? Or something more mundane, like a search of his dwelling for unrelated reasons?

    1. avatar bobmcd says:

      Someone set him up the bomb.

      1. avatar Pulatso says:

        And now all his base are belong to them.

      2. avatar Salty Bear says:

        They got signal.

      3. avatar Defens says:

        Best response today!

        Glad they caught this terrorist,

        For great justice!

      4. avatar Skeptical_Realist says:

        He has no chance to survive make his time.

        Take off every ‘Zig’!

    2. avatar Pascal says:

      According to the story on Reason.com

      Imura had apparently uploaded videos to YouTube in which he fired off what looks to be a 3D printed pistol. Last month, police seized five 3D printed guns from Imura’s Kawasaki City home….

      Basically, just like the USA, police or other law enforcement agencies troll YouTube

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        I imagine having the ammunition was probably a crime too… wonder where he got that.

        1. avatar Stitch1870 says:

          In Japan every single little piece of a firearm constitutes a weapons charge in itself. So say you only have a slide stop, magazine floor plate, and a recoil spring you would be charged as if each of those pieces was a complete firearm.

        2. avatar WarFairy says:

          The original story says that no ammunition was found. The youtube videos he made never featured live rounds, only blanks.

  6. avatar Toasty says:

    Actual headline reads:

    “Man arrested for firearms that were found to be, infact, not Kawaii. After police arrested him, he demanded they stop being so tsundere.”

    Lesson of the story, he should’ve decked out the guns with random anime characters and he’d have been fine.

    1. avatar MattG says:

      10/10 would laugh at otaku jokes again.

      1. avatar PeterK says:

        LOL, agreed.

  7. avatar Chris. says:

    the police if you were recognized as handguns

    I hate when the police recognize me as handguns.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Duh YouTube. Gets ’em every time. Sayonara freedom.

  9. avatar Hal says:



      1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

        Wong Wive Engrish!!!

        Engrish lox!!!

  10. avatar JasonM says:

    there is no ginger also been arrested.
    Phew! Ginger can be dangerous, I’m glad there wasn’t any around…and that it was arrested.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I hope they didn’t get Maryann too.

  11. avatar Rokurota says:

    So he made some Shonan guns. Did he print a Shonan knife?

    1. avatar Full Cleveland says:


      1. avatar Guy says:

        W E L L D O N E.

  12. avatar PeterK says:

    There really is some ingenius stuff in there. Trippy.

  13. avatar Gunr says:

    I wonder what plans he had for these guns, Did he make them just because there has been a lot of discussion about making guns on 3D printers?

  14. avatar crashbbear says:

    Such Illegal
    Many handgun
    So Draconian
    Much arrest
    Lots bullet

    1. avatar Noishkel says:


    2. avatar Rokurota says:

      That sounds like a William Carlos Williams poem

      So much depends
      On a five-shot J-frame
      With a stainless steel finish
      Inside a leather holster

      1. avatar Noishkel says:

        Heh. No. Actually it’s an internet meme called ‘Doge’.


        1. avatar Rokurota says:

          I got stupider reading that!

  15. avatar mk10108 says:

    Human nature does one self in again. Note to self….build gun…tell no one.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    I wonder if he can print up a nice katana.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Not any more. He’ll be lucky to own a daisy wheel printer once he gets out.

  17. avatar WarFairy says:

    The man arrested was a friend and a hell of an engineer. None of the videos he put on youtube ever fired real ammunition, or any kind of projectile. Every one of his designs used blanks. What they got him on was that two of the designs he printed used .38 caliber blanks, and could thus POSSIBLY fire a real round. As we’ve seen with independent testing on the Liberator design by Defense Distributed, it makes for an incredibly inefficient and borderline useless firearm, with some high end air guns delivering more effective firepower.
    I hope he beats the charges, but I’m afraid that the chances are very, very slim, and that he’ll be in prison for experimenting for a very long time.
    The community and I have lost a friend today.

    1. avatar FTA says:

      Sounds like the Japanese ATF equivalent is hard at work putting innocent people away just like our ATF.
      I’m sorry for your friend, he obviously isnt a dangerous guy and his “guns” were harmless. Looking at his face close up in the car, he looks like he’s freaking out hard. Like he had no idea this could happen and he wants to wake up from a bad dream.

    2. avatar Marcus says:

      Man, that truly is terrible. I hope your government figures out that he had no ill intentions.

    3. avatar Have Blue says:

      Indeed – Imura is a great designer, and this is a big blow to FOSSCAD. I hope he can beat the charges as well, but this may bode ill for the entire modelguns hobby in Japan.

  18. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    A little off topic, but Japanese tourists have a tendency to flock to Hawaii and Guam to go shooting in ranges, since they have no chance in firing an actual firearm in Japan. Of course, despite their desires to do this, it is fundamentally viewed as a thrill-seeking diversion, not worthy of bringing back to their own country.

    1. We had a group of Japanese exchange students with us for a while and guess what they begged for?

      Yup…they wanted to go to the gun club and shoot all my firearms.

      They could have died and gone to heaven.

      Common response: “Much harder than video game!”

      Big smiles all around.

    2. avatar Tom says:

      I never forgot this from many years ago when there was about a half dozen Japanese tourists that dropped by our local gun show, They were having a good time posing for pictures at a Class 3 dealer`s display.

  19. Horrywood!!!!


  20. avatar mirgc says:

    Just as an aside: This is a pretty interesting paper about the history of gun control in Japan. It started over 500 years ago! Pretty useful for the next time you hear someone talk about Japans low gun-crime rate.


  21. avatar A. Nuran says:

    He’s an idiot.
    He went far, FAR out of his way to commit a serious felony.
    He deserves the sentence he’s about to get

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