Japanese Culture Through Videogames: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Japanese Culture Through Videogames

1st Edition

By Rachael Hutchinson


294 pages

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Hardback: 9780367111380
pub: 2019-06-13
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pub: 2019-05-28
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Examining a wide range of Japanese videogames, including arcade fighting games, PC-based strategy games and console JRPGs, this book assesses their cultural significance and shows how gameplay and context can be analyzed together to understand videogames as a dynamic mode of artistic expression.

Well-known titles such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter and Katamari Damacy are evaluated in detail, showing how ideology and critique are conveyed through game narrative and character design as well as user interface, cabinet art, and peripherals. This book also considers how ‘Japan’ has been packaged for domestic and overseas consumers, and how Japanese designers have used the medium to express ideas about home and nation, nuclear energy, war and historical memory, social breakdown and bioethics. Placing each title in its historical context, Hutchinson ultimately shows that videogames are a relatively recent but significant site where cultural identity is played out in modern Japan.

Comparing Japanese videogames with their American counterparts, as well as other media forms, such as film, manga and anime, Japanese Culture Through Videogames will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese culture and society, as well as Game Studies, Media Studies and Japanese Studies more generally.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Japanese culture as playable object

1. Katamari Damacy: nostalgia and kitsch

2. Packaging the Past in Ōkami

3. Japan and its Others in fighting games

Part 2: Ideology and critique in Japanese games

4. Absentee parents in the JRPG

5. Nuclear discourse in Final Fantasy

6. Bioethics meets nuclear crisis

Part 3: History, memory, and re-imagining war

7. An uncomfortable genre: the Japanese war game

8. Hiroshima and violence in Metal Gear Solid

9. The colonial legacy


About the Author

Rachael Hutchinson is Associate Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Delaware, USA. Her publications include Nagai Kafu’s Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self (2011) and Negotiating Censorship in Modern Japan (2013).

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Japan Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of contemporary Japan.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
GAMES / Video & Electronic
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies