This project aims at examining the representation, reinterpretation, repetition, and revision of Japanese history in video games developed in Japan.

While video games from Japan are of undeniable importance in the gaming industry and culture, their significance as cultural products are still largely misunderstood. A tendency to read them through a differentiating gaze, as well as a lack of awareness of what “Japan” could be can create problematic interpretations of these games. For this project, we seek to avoid these misconceptions by rigorously examining Japanese video games’ contents in light of knowledge about the history, as well as the cultural and economic policies of Japan, especially regarding how Japanese history and the different “images” of Japan are represented and, consequently, how it contributes to different conceptions of “Japan”. We are interested in analyzing how Japanese culture and history was built in the social imaginary and how this imaginary is represented, repeated, reinterpreted, and revised in video games. For this examination of the role of video games in the construction, conservation, and contestation of the social, historical and political sphere of Japan, we are aiming to tackle questions such as: What do video games represent (of the history, the society or the culture of Japan)? What do they try to communicate? What do they offer to the player to act upon? What could or should they bring to the public discourse? What are their place as a fictional media within the larger contents industry in Japan? The ultimate goal of this focus is to better understand video games from Japan, not only in their specificities as products from a certain territory, but also through their bonds with national, cultural, and political issues.