March 16, 2011

Why is There No Looting in Japan?

CNN’s Jack Cafferty starts out his blog post by stating that, in contrast to “last year’s earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the floods in England in 2007, and of course Hurricane Katrina back in 2005,” Japan has experienced “no looting.” Perhaps that is true, and perhaps that is largely due to the Japanese character, which is where Jack — primarily, through selected posted reader comments — is going with this . On the other hand, one thing that worries me is the repeated tendency of the media not to distinguish between stealing, especially non-essential goods, and doing what you have to to survive.  (Thanks Jack, as well, for adding England to the mix so that all your other examples have a decidedly Latin or Black bias.)

Mostly though, I think this is a curious photo to illustrate the topic.  Combining the title with the way the kid looks at the camera, there is almost a moralistic message imparted, along the lines of “What Jack Said,” or  ‘maybe you folks do, but we don’t.’  What rings most false though is the lack of desperation in the photo. This store might be running low on most supplies, but the woman down the aisle, at least to me, looks like she’s shopping. The kid, too, looks more like he’s checking out what’s left of the candy inventory than feeling the kind of pinch that would lead to pinching.

Anyway, I’d like to know from Jack what happens when the scene starts to look like the above…

(and survivors like this still need to provide) if the comparison between Japan and the other places mentioned, remains as simple.

( photo 2: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP. caption: A man shops in a convenience store where shelves on food aisles are left empty in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, northern Japan, four days after the powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan’s coast. photo 3: AP. caption: Tsunami survivors cook and eat in front of their damaged house on Tuesday in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture. )

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus