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Should we dismiss sexism, homophobia and transphobia in japanese games "because Japan"?

Shizuka

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,076
This is a concern of mine both as a gamer and as a reviewer. It's nothing new that, despite being 2019, there are still japanese games that insist on keeping a sexist, homophobic and/or transphobic approach to stories or characters. I made a thread earlier this year - My Little Visual Novel Can't Be This Homophobic (Or How Queerness Continues To Be the Butt of the Joke in Japan - in which I try to show how a particular game, one released recently in Japan and localized for the West, is very sexist and homophobic, and how companies that are localizing and translating these games have the opportunity to make changes for the better. These changes, controversial as they are, aren't really the subject for this specific thread.

What I want to say is that there are several people in the West that not only don't see any issue in these sexist, homophobic and transphobic approaches in games, but also use the excuse "because Japan" to vouch for these views and criticize any people that point that out. Even if there are games in Japan that have all these issues and the japanese don't bring those issues up, these games are being released in other parts of the world where these issues wouldn't be glossed over.

Should we play japanese games with "japanese" sensitivities, as the japanese do (not saying that these issues are accepted in the country, but that it's not a particular issue for the specific audience), or can we bring up how these games have serious issues that should be discussed, even if we're not primarily their target audience? As someone that reads reviews for these games, should the reviewer cater to the western audience that wants exactly what the japanese are getting (i.e. without any changes, not bringing up these issues because they're "not an issue" in Japan), or should the reviewer analyze the game just as it should be, for a western point of view?

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that we should be dismissing these issues. I've brought up several of them here, in my reviews and with my friends, but I always find people that come at me with the arguments that I brought up in this thread, saying that as a japanese product made by japanese for the japanese, these issues shouldn't be discussed.
 
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QuantumZebra

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,973
I stay away from most Japanese media due to my deep issues with sexism and what I see as a vile display of young women as vulnerable and "groomable".

Don't even get me started on how white-washed a lot of anime is.
 

Caiusto

Member
Oct 25, 2017
430
No. We don't see another countries getting a free pass about some controversial ethics, never understood why Japan have it so easy.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,998
No. The line of thought is immensely disrespectful to queer people in Japan fighting for their rights.
 

Damn Silly

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,627
No.

"Because Japan" is a (bad) explanation for why it happened, it shouldn't be an excuse, and certainly shouldn't stop it from being criticised.
 

jviggy43

Member
Oct 28, 2017
15,376
Better question-when would we ever dismiss sexism, homophobia, and transphobia?

Never.
 

sensui-tomo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,959
I generally say "fucking Japan" in response to the shitty and tired old tropes that are sexist/homophobic/etc. Not an excuse more of an immediate response.
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,241
No.

Japan needs to change just like all the other countries. I get having their own cultures but homophobia, sexism and transphobia has no place in culture. It shouldn't be cultural.
 

Boddy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,151
Ask your self the same question about racism or imagine there where a lot of games made in Iran that reflects the thier governments position on women.
 

Chumunga64

Member
Jun 22, 2018
1,238
No, the Yakuza team removed a fucked up transphobic mission from the re-releasse of Yakuza 3 with and the lead director said this
"However Yakuza (3) is a work that was launched in 2009. Some things that were considered OK at the time are not as good as the current moral values. You know, Japan’s social atmosphere has also changed a lot in recent years, so there have been slight changes in the performance of the game to match the current moral values and judgment standards"
and they also included this amazing exchange in a mission:

 

Phellps

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,538
Absolutely not. We would be doing Japanese women and LGBTQIA+ a disservice by giving Japan a pass and making their fight harder.
 

Morrigan

Armoring
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
12,544
Absolutely not. We would be doing Japanese women and LGBTQIA+ a disservice by giving Japan a pass and making their fight harder.
This.

And also, there are Japanese games who don't fall for those sexist, homophobic or racist pitfalls. So it's not like the others who do have any excuse.
 

Sanka

Banned
Feb 17, 2019
883
User banned (1 month): Trolling and deflecting with inflammatory whataboutism, long history of similar behaviour
If these issues are important to you than you should mention them. I don't know why japanese games are supposed to get a free pass. Is it only japanese games or does it also apply to korean or british games? Why do you single out Japan as if it's the only country dealing with homophobia and sexism?

It almost has something of fetishization.
 

Eumi

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3,336
Of course not, and I don’t think anyone does that who isn’t just using it as an excuse to actually embrace it.

The culture the game was made in is an important element for certain discussions, but it never makes it okay, especially when that game has been localised and sold in other cultures. You can’t decide that a market looks profitable, but also act like you’re above that market’s culture. Most big Japanese games are trying to appeal to a global market now, so the idea that they can’t be held to the standards of cultures outside of Japan is laughable even if you were to take the kind of idiotic view that it’s okay to have that content in Japan in the first place.
 

Idolvo

The Fallen
Jan 25, 2018
4,678
No. We shouldn’t and fuck people who say we should, they are bigoted and try to hide it behind an incredibly bad and lazy excuse.
 

Sub Boss

Member
Nov 14, 2017
11,904
User Warned: Inflammatory Generalizations
Surely not but, its going to be more difficult because its not content coming from the West, people in Japan have to speak up too otherwise nobody is gonna listen
 

Neoxon

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
28,387
Houston, TX
This, we’ve seen Japanese developers become more progressive in recent years (Ex: Sega). The only way we're gonna see this kind of progress continue is to commend those who show such progress & call out others on their sexist, homophobic, &/or transphobic shit (Ex: Atlus).
 

Alucrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,421
why curtail your criticism because of some loser with an aggrandized view of japan
 

Ferrs

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
9,034
Why whould we? if they sell their products to us, we are customers, and free to criticize it without having to "see it through japanese lens".

Also, homophobia, racism and sexism is an issue that goes beyond to "how some japanese see it" and it needs to change without excuses. Of course, it will probably not change until japanese people do but still, it's no excuse for the rest of the world to having to be shut down about it.
 

Nama

Member
Nov 2, 2017
216
No we shouldn't dismiss or accept it but excepting to change is a whole different matter. I don't expect that foreign fans can really bend or alter of perceptions of Japanese culture as a whole. Furthermore even if there product will or could sell more outside of Japan, Japanese businesses are notorious for being in the bubble of only thinking and designing with Japanese audience in mind.
 

Peltz

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,527
No. You can't just say that morals are dependant on geography. That's like saying it's okay to discriminate in the the South of the US since it's just "their culture."

Just because "it's Japan" doesn't make ignorant or hateful views okay. Morals are morals. Bigotry is never defendable.