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“May I Play a Character from Another Race?”

TL;DR: Read this post by Mendez on playing characters from other backgrounds.

So, a blog post series I’ve been sitting on/mulling about for quite some time is about portraying Japan in non-Japanese-language tabletop RPGs. Everything from contemporary settings with Japanese characters or culture, to running historic or fantastical games set in Japan or an analogue culture.

I have a quick essay, but before posting, I want to direct people to this great article by my friend James “Mendez” Hodes. The quick background is that Mendez is of Filipino descent, writes a lot of game material set or using in Asian cultures (Japanese, Chinese, etc). He’s a historian/culture expert on various Asian cultures (for example, he’s forgotten more about Japanese military history than I will *ever* learn). And he blogs from time to time about the connections between Asian cultures, “race”, and gaming.

Please give it a read: It’s likely not going to be 100% relevant to your own experience, but even so there are some wonderful thoughts in here. Back when it was first published, I saw it shared around the net; some folks were… let’s just say quite unkind… in reacting to his piece. As you go through it, put on your charitable hat (pretend he’s a friend, that you’re sharing a conversation): Mendez loves gaming, and his take is always unique, interesting, and from a place of love; he doesn’t use criticism to lord over others, and he doesn’t have time for status games.

Rather than writing my reaction/”Japan Supplement” here, I’ll give a day or two for you to ingest it before posting my thoughts/addendum.


See you again in a day or two.

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