Japanese Tabletop RPG Blog

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Western Gaming: “Why Japan?”

(from Naisu na Mori aka “Funky Forest”, which is equal parts excruciatingly boring and excruciatingly “WTF???”)

Hey all, sorry about the wait for a full “up to speed” site. I’m taking some pics to use as a banner replacement instead of these (rather beautiful but not to do with anything) nature scenes.

In the interim, how about a quick discussion on Japan in our Western gaming?

So, I run this other RPG discussion website over here. There’s been a few threads on Japan, Japanese-themed games and the like that I go back and re-read from time to time. Here are a few interesting ones, just wanted to point them out. I might go back and revisit them, and develop the “essay” further here at some point.

It all started with a kind of crazy story about selling games at GenCon. Anna K, who runs the awesome blog on SexismFail in the (mostly console) gaming world called “Go Make Me a Sandwich“, had a weird moment where some guy with… kinda weird issues… shot down the pitch for every game because “Nope, Japan” (“…and my wife doesn’t like Japanese-themed games”). Supers, historical, whatever, somehow everything was Japanese and thus haraam. Funny and cute story. Almost kinda turned into a meme, but it kinda works better as just an example of some of the weirdness you run into at cons.

But it got me thinking, why are there so many games that focus on Japan (say over other asian cultures)?

I started this thread long ago, called “So much Japan in RPGs, why?“, where I looked into, talked about, asked questions about etc the whole “why does Japan feature so prominently in our RPGs?” thing.

I followed that up a few months later after some discussions on Japanese-themed settings, “…why Japan?” That is, why is Japan so interesting as a gaming setting? What is it about Japan that grabs our little otaku hearts, be it historical or contemporary?

So if you ever do some thinking on using Japan in your RPGs, and wondered why you were drawn to it, check out those above threads (no need to log into the site or generate accounts if you’re not interested, you can read them without being a member). You might pick up some ideas!

How about you?

* What do you find so interesting about Japan as a setting for your game? (be it historical, contemporary, or faux ala “Legend of the Five Rings”)

* Any cool anecdotes about running or playing a game set in some Japanese or heavily asian-themed setting worth sharing?

Let us know in the comments section! We’ll follow up in future posts!