Although anime games are extremely popular in China, it seems the Chinese government is looking to ban games — PC, console, and mobile — that promote or have heavy Japanese elements. (via anime-news.net). According to a document and presentation from China’s Propaganda Department, games that are developed in China should not have both Japanese dubbing or subtitles, have to use maps approved by the Chinese government, remove competition “for awards” between players, and have no mechanics that can deprive the “fruits of others’ labor.”
Then the Propaganda Department allegedly mentioned several game franchises and developers directly, such as Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse, Civilization series, Onmyoji, Arknights, and Paradox Games for portraying Japanese culture to the players. It also targets games that feature Japanese militaristic imagery, such as:
- Nobunaga’s Ambition.
- Daisenryaku (which is mostly a Japanese-exclusive title).
- Azur Lane.
- Kantai Collection.
- Black Surge Night.
- Any games that portray the Shinsengumi, a Japanese special police group that was formed in the 1860s.
Other than games that are considered to have “transmitted” Japanese culture to its players, China’s Propaganda Department mentioned its issue regarding the depiction of feminine male characters. One of the presentation slides used the Venti character from Genshin Impact as one of the group’s main concerns. In early September Chinese authority has also ordered Tencent and NetEase to cut “effeminate” characters from their games.
Example 6: Sissification and Feminization
Traditionally, when people talk about sissification, they are referring to males that act feminine in terms of actions and conduct. In this context, we are referring to those whose appearances, conduct, and speech deliberately try to invoke a female aesthetic. In the Asia cultural environment, there are differences between neutral gender, cross-dressing [handsome males], and traps. In this presentation, we don’t have the time to discuss these difference in detail, so we will focus on the [player’s] subjective experience: [characters] that cause incorrect or mistaken understanding of gender identity should be targeted [for censorship]. In addition, changing the gender of well-known male characters to female has always been prohibited.”
In recent times, China has been cracking down hard on the country’s video game industry. Recently, it applies a strict gaming time restriction to minors. Early this year the government also forced several games to censor their racier content that “violates social ethics.” Azur Lane, for example, had to make 18 characters no longer be obtainable on the Chinese server. Global and Japanese servers were not affected.
Nevertheless, several China-based video game companies seem to have anticipated such bans despite the region’s massive growth. Again, using Azur Lane as an example, its development seems to have moved out of mainland China with the publisher Yostar opening up a headquarter in Tokyo. As such, even if it’s enforced for good, I assume this rule won’t affect other countries. Do you think the Great Wall will remove all Japanese and anime games from the region? Let us know what you think in the comments and stay tuned for more nerd and gaming updates at The Nerd Stash.