Game + Culture: Co-evolution of Japanese Video Games and Society
From the likes of the Super Mario series to the more recent Animal Crossing and e-sports, Japanese video games have been widely acknowledged as some of the best in business, attracting evangelical fans all over the world. Though ostensibly created with borderless content and universal characters, it is argued by some that Japanese video games are deeply embedded in and reflective of Japanese society. Their palpable spirit and philosophies may be understood as being sourced from Japan’s old traditions, even from well-known art forms such as haiku and the practice of tea ceremony. However, it is difficult to perceive at a glance how these seemingly unrelated pretechnological art forms and culture have influenced 21st century digital content.
Inviting HIRABAYASHI Hisakazu, a video game journalist and analyst, this special talk aims to identify ‘Japaneseness’ in digital game content, analysing to what degree it has rooted from Japanese cultural as well as social history and to what extent it is indebted to old Japanese traditions. While illustrating some characteristics of leading game companies such as Nintendo, HIRABAYASHI also explains the future visions of these companies and game creators against a background of the recent evidence of a decline in the global share of Japanese games.
About the speaker
HIRABAYASHI Hisakazu (Interact Co., Ltd. CEO / Game analyst) In 1985, after graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University, he joined the publishing company Takarajima where he worked as editor of a game specialty magazine. In 1991, he established Interact Co., Ltd., a consulting company specializing in the game industry, and started supporting companies entering the game industry. He currently works as a consultant of the game industry, a journalist, and a commentator on television and radio programs. HIRABAYASHI’s works include the book Gemū no daigaku (The University of Gaming) and Gemū no jiji mondai (Current Issues in Gaming). He is an editorial board member of Digital content white paper of Japan, as well as a board member of the Japan Game Culture Foundation.
Image credit: Partial photo of retro Nintendo games by Nick Hamze on Unsplash
Please note that this session will be hosted on Zoom.
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Date: 12 November 2020 from 12.00pm
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