Published on August 31st, 2016 | by David


Japanese Culture Impacts Video Gaming

There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy in the way that Japanese video games are routinely judged by Western standards by certain members of the media. The navel gazing of Western critics has repeatedly led to censorship of Japanese games and even limited sales. While this appears like a minor issue, it actually continues a legacy of cultural imperialism that dates back to the 19th century.

The current situation goes as follows: Progressive media outlets and SJW randos on Twitter complain about sexualized characters in Japanese games. Japanese game developers fear angering this group so they get their localization team to cover up certain characters and remove sexualized features. Some games do not even get Western releases for fear of a controversy. Then the cycle completes, only with updated more stringent demands from Western culture critics.

The list of examples of this cycle are endless. Polygon writer Arthur Gies gave Bayonetta 2 a lower review score because the main character’s outfit was “oversexualized.” In general he has a low opinion of Japanese games altogether.

This kind of criticism of Japanese games is steeped in ethnocentrism and a lack of understanding of Japanese culture. In Japan, sexuality is simply perceived differently, and it’s not very PC to get outraged over cultural differences.

In feudal Japan, nudity was very common and socially acceptable in public, thus nudity was not considered erotic. The Japanese also routinely displayed erotic art in their homes called “shunga.”

Fast forward to today and we are still dealing with similar problems. Some in the Western world are outraged by Japanese cultural attitudes toward sex and this outrage is causing Japan to censor itself. Those who just want to enjoy a Japanese game in its original form will find themselves severely disappointed. But those who  get a rise out of inflicting their culture on another will find their plight to be very successful.


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