Japan and its Sexy, Sexy Children

This week, Nintendo revealed that it was choosing not to publish Dead or Alive: Dimensions in Sweden, Norway and Denmark for a variety of undisclosed reasons. Although the publisher was not forthcoming about cause, it has been traced back to a post on Sweden’s Flashback forum, where a discussion about the country’s child pornography laws, and how it relates to Dimensions, was being held. The short version of the story is this — a guy wanted to challenge the Swedish law against digital “pornographic” representations of minors using Dimensions. Another user filed a genuine complaint with police about the game, but the cops deemed the evidence “inconclusive.” Despite the fact that Nintendo would likely be off the hook, the game has still been kept off shelves.

The problem lies in the fact that three characters — Ayane, Koroke and Kasumi– are all under the age of eighteen, but can be posed and photographed in Dimensions’ “Figure Mode.” While one Flashback member was going to use this to prove a point against Sweden’s law, another user tried to use the law to get the game banned. Hence, Nintendo got the chills and decided to acquiesce to a law that likely didn’t even apply in this scenario.

As I sit and think about a game in which you get to photograph sixteen-year-olds in their lingerie, I have to wonder if the whole situation wouldn’t have gone away if someone had just said she was eighteen, without changing anything else. Even if that person didn’t mean it.

There’s a lot about Japan I respect, but there’s also a lot about its culture that I find disturbing. This obsession with youth — and the inevitable sexualization of it — is one of the more unsettling aspects. For the record, I want to state that I do not believe in laws like Sweden’s, where digital representations of minors are subject to law. I believe in freedom of expression, even for those things that I might find personally disgusting. I find it gross that drawings of kids turn some people on, but if they’re drawings, and have inflicted no harm on a real person, then I do not have a problem with it outside of the fact that I think it’s sleazy and repulsive.

Nevertheless, while I see no legal reason for Japan to change the way it does things, I do have to ask — is it so important to see, in writing, that the girl with gigantic tits is sixteen-years-old? Hell, I still remember Ayane being fourteen in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, but having monumental mammaries that could be controlled with the SIXAXIS. It was a selling point in commercials. Buy our game, and manipulate the jugs on this big-eyed lump of grade-A jailbait. I mean … that’s a bit insane, right?

Would it really kill Japanese developers to at least write down someone’s age as “21″ and promise that we’ll say no more about it? Ayane’s still going to look like a creepy, big-breasted infant no matter what fictional age you slap on her. Would it murder the fantasy of the fanbase if the girl was canonically 21, despite still looking like an eleven-year-old hormone pill addict?

Instead, 21-year-olds are designated as “old” women in Japanese games, usually playing a villainous, antagonistic role compared to the sweet, innocent, sexually desirable teenager. Apparently, asking for a believable age group is just too much, so we have sixteen-year-olds saving the world and wearing barely any clothes while they do it. Aside from the fact that it’s disturbing, it just doesn’t make any sense from a narrative point of view.

I can’t be the only one who reacts with shock when they’ve been playing a Japanese role playing game, usually as some combat veteran with a deep, complicated past, and found out that they’re twenty-years-old at the most. What kind of fucking twenty-year-old has lived long enough to have a deep, complicated past? Who under the age of twenty can become a veteran anything? So many JRPG protagonists hover around the sixteen-to-eighteen age bracket, and it actually makes it difficult for me to get into the story once I start thinking about it. No disrespect to any eighteen-year-olds reading this, but I find it very hard to take most of your problems seriously. There’s still an immaturity to the average eighteen-year-old’s personality (nothing wrong with that, just the way our brains work) that would make their ability to rescue a planet from a sorcerous arch-villain (who is usually significantly older, because age is evil) extremely limited. Nothing like the grimly determined heroes of the average JRPG, who think, act and talk like adults, despite being children.

It’s bizarre to consider the mental disconnect needed to have protagonists that young in anything but a game based on Muppet Babies, but it appears that Japanese gamers find it quite easy to do in a cultural sense. I have to admit that I don’t understand the fetishism of youth to the point where only villains in games are allowed to be twenty-five or older. I definitely don’t understand how characters that young can be considered so sexy. I only have to think of them complaining about their high school teacher and it puts me right off.

Some people think it’s unfair to criticize this aspect of Japanese culture because that’s just the way their society is. I disagree. Bull fighting is part of Spanish culture, but it’s still a sadistic, cruel, cowardly past time. It’s part of the culture in some countries for women to be punished for getting raped or bought and sold like meat. That doesn’t stop it being f***ing awful. The obsession with youth may not be quite as horrifying as those examples, but it’s still worthy of examination and people deserve to question the reasoning behind it. Just because something is part of tradition, that does not hold it above criticism. If anything, traditions deserve to be questioned more than anything else.

Of course, I can’t tell another country what to do. I can’t expect one random article on a gaming blog to make hundreds of forty-year-old businessmen suddenly find schoolgirls repellent. Instead, I propose that bumping up the age be part of the localization process, and have videogames characters bump up their ages when they leave Japan and come to Western nations. While only cosmetic, it would at least avoid silly controversies like we’ve seen in Sweden. All you have to do is make an aesthetic alteration to a number in a character bio and everything’s above board. It would have the added benefit of narratives that are far more sensible — having Ayane as an accomplished ninja at sixteen just doesn’t make much sense. Add another ten years to that and we’re at least approaching a reasonable age, even if that’s still too young.

It really is a simple case of changing a number to make everything okay. It seems so … stupid … when you think about it. Such a little thing that could make a significant difference. But if it stops me feeling guilty when I can’t stop looking at the giant pair of gravity-defying, ridiculous boobs that Tecmo Koei keeps shoving in my face, then I think it’s a noble endeavor.

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15 Comments on Japan and its Sexy, Sexy Children

mrandydixon

On May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Next, please tackle the strange infatuation with boys that looks like girls.

PS3canDOnoWRONG

On May 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Jim, you OBVIOUSLY know NOTHING ’bout Japanese culture. A race where HONOR and pride run deep within the actual veins of their body and the metaphorical veins of honor/pride in the emotional mining operations of Nakatomi province.

Looking at a little girl in the Japanese (nippon) culture (who might just happen to be wearing nothing at all) is not WRONG. The Japanese idolize schoolgirls because of their sexy work ethic, their hot punctuality, and their erotic diligence in computer programming class (C++, es!!!!!)

And let the record show that owning several hundred figurines of half naked 11 year olds from the video game Hanokai Juitso GoriGori Octopus (roughly translated: Liquid Slime Pain Octopus) DOES NOT make ANYONE a pedophile. The love that I…other people feel for those things is COMPLETELY PLATONIC.

Jim do some RESEARCH before you post something silly like this.

LReiviN

On May 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’m agree with you Jim, but I think the magic behind teenagers being that good at what they do is because, well, they are special, and that is what developers want to transmit to players.

Just that, the rest of the entry is pure win.

poptato

On May 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Well, its not that weird for protagonists to be eighteen depending on the setting. True, a game set in the modern world having 18 yr olds save it is a bit weird, but a more medieval setting makes sense as people lived to the ripe old age of 28 in most cases. And in a completely fictional setting, we would have to take it at face value that 18 year olds in the fictional cultural setting are capable of whatever the game has them do.
but yeah, Japan if f*cked up

dallas daniel hessler junior

On May 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

i lik kasumi

Cameron

On May 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

TROLOLOLOL

SupremeAllah

On May 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

So the solution is to make the characters look like they are four years old, except have huge jugs.

Then, say they are age 24 or something, even though they look like children with huge tits. In the end, they are of age no matter how they look.

Oh, and if you put in a code you can see them wet themselves, or get close-ups on the feet. Oh…feet…

disgusting

On May 24, 2011 at 12:12 am

cue the weaboo idiots come to defend child pornography in the name of art.

Ben

On May 24, 2011 at 12:44 am

16 is legal in Australia.

“old enough to bleed, old enough to breed”
(yet no drinking or smoking until your 18 girls!)

Tarlol

On May 24, 2011 at 1:45 am

If you’re wondering why Jap protags look feminine a lot, its because the Japs have a very greek perception of manliness. So yeah. To them, big buff dudes are

Aids

On May 24, 2011 at 7:10 am

Japs are pedofiles, pure n’ simple. Only ing weabs who live in there parents basement, who’ve never been to another country and read on the internet have no damn room to talk.

Can’t sit their and defend that as culture. Talking about a country that runs heavily on technology you morons. They’re racist and far from isolated being one of the most technologically advice cultures on the planet. Then again were talking about a culture that believes drinking it’s own urine is good for them and also things homosexual relationships are a wonderful and beautiful thing. For gods sakes the legal age of consent for sex is 13 in Japan you ing dips.

Arguing about a heavily racists and pornographic country is apart of there culture is like defending a child rapist. Japan needs to be hit with another earthquake and tsunami. God hates japan.

Know why women wont date or you losers? Because your all depraved child raping sick s who beat off to hentai and underage 3 year olds getting ed by a 10 foot penis.

Bish

On May 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

@ @ PS3canDOnoWRONGI
OOPs sorry I can see now that you are being sarcastic. Almost wrote you a comment addressing you as turdblossom, Sorry buddy, you’re cool. And I practically hate Japanese, they are sick s .An entire nation where 30 year old prostitues dress up as schoolgirls . If it werent for this fetish , these sick s with 2″ erection wont even get one. Heavily twisted and sick fantasies are a norm there. Did you know they have erotica actually showing a women eating the others turd. I saw it once by accident and I couldn’t keep from tossing my cookies. If something can make me nauseus, how different those s(obvsly Japs) would be who would get an erection seeing it and fantasizing abt it. Please dont take my word for it, go google it . I dont even know what to search for to find this (quite Literally.)
America left unfinished business back then in WW II.

VodkaChill

On May 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

We can’t deny that some of the thing they add to their game is weird to say the least.

The fact that the heroes of video games are young could be because they want to reach that audience. JRPG are a good example, you want your players to role play their character. 13-18 Years old protagonist is perfect because this is their audience; this is the age of players playing those games. The antagonist needs to be a tad older because at that age you still have enemies you know and hate from school. The storyline does not make any kind of sense with a 15 yo hero and a 17 yo kid that wants to destroy the world, but from a marketing view, it sells… Kids are kids; they want to grow up as fast as possible. Living this fiction where 17 years old makes a difference in their world feeds that need.

Why do they pervert any games they are doing? Since multiple years Japan tried to sexualize everything and open up every taboo humanly thinkable. I mean, we were part of that liberation wave; we did have our “Leisure Suite Larry”. Japan just does as usual, they take something everyone is doing and brings it to the next level.
This “sexual teenage taboo” seems to be popular, so they are exploiting it. It’s business, a sick dirty and highly provocative one, but down the line it’s business.

We live in a very sad world.

CHoedy

On May 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Ohh hey theres this got Jim with his retarded again.Hey nugget no one likes you and no one wants to here your .Go yourself and die.

Joe Brookes

On June 1, 2011 at 2:29 am

practically hate Amricans, they are sick s .An entire nation where 30 year old prostitues dress up as schoolgirls . If it werent for this fetish , these sick s with 2″ erection wont even get one. Heavily twisted and sick fantasies are a norm there. Did you know they have erotica actually showing a women eating the others turd. I saw it once by accident and I couldn’t keep from tossing my cookies. If something can make me nauseus, how different those s(obvsly yanks) would be who would get an erection seeing it and fantasizing abt it. Please dont take my word for it, go google it . I dont even know what to search for to find this (quite Literally.)
The UK left unfinished business back then in cival war.