Growing out of the Japan Studies department’s second focus area “Japan in the age of new and digital media”, the “Japanese Games Research Initiative” aims to enable, support, realize and connect (collaborative) research on Japanese gaming culture from various perspectives.


Since the 1970s, digital games have grown into a popular form of entertainment in Japan. Japanese games have not only had a strong influence locally, but have also been a driving force of global gaming culture. In pair with the technological developments and the growing market of recent decades, they have developed into a sophisticated medium for experimental ideas, political, artistic and educational expression, and have influenced societies, communities, and cultures around the world in manifold ways. These developments are related to the changes Japan underwent in the postwar era as much as they are embedded in global processes.

In January 2015, the Japanese Studies department at Leipzig University established a professorship (Juniorprofessur) dedicated to “Japan in the age of new/digital media”. Aiming to establish video games as one of the central themes of this new focus area, we have launched the “Japan Games Research Initiative”, which aims to engage with contents, backgrounds, problems and the present significance of Japanese games as part of local as well as global gaming culture.


1. Accessibility

Many Japanese games are not easily available on the German or European market or require regionally specific hardware (consoles, etc). A major task for the initiative is thus to make games available and accessible for teaching and research. To this end, we collaborate with the university library, aiming to establish a “game research library & laboratory”.


2. Research

In order to learn more about Japanese games, the initiative hopes to inspire and support research projects with various perspectives and contexts.

3. Teaching

The initiative aims to make Japanese games and Japan’s gaming culture part of the Japan Studies curriculum, both as subjects of discussion and as didactic tools for teaching Japanese language, culture and history. Furthermore, we hope to develop our own educational games in the future.

Future direction

The “Initiative for Research on Japanese Games” aims to develop into a major hub for comparative games research in Germany and Europe.

Martin Roth

Martin Roth

Project Lead

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