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The Game’s The Thing: A Cultural Studies Approach To War Memory, Gender, And Politics In Japanese Videogames

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Title:The Game’s The Thing: A Cultural Studies Approach To War Memory, Gender, And Politics In Japanese Videogames
Authors:Moore, Keita
Contributors:Asian Studies (department)
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This thesis establishes a framework for analyzing Japanese pseudo-historical ludic media
within the Japanese ideo-cultural context from a Cultural Studies perspective. It examines how
discourses of war memory, gender, and politics inflect the texts of Onimusha (2001), Sengoku
BASARA (2005), and Metal Gear Solid (1998). As artifacts of a demonized militarism and
societal pacifism, these games justify ludic violence with player-avatars who have defensive
masculinities. Through interactivity, however, this mechanism interrogates pacifism. In this
questioning, these games take on transformative potential as cultural technologies. Onimusha
and Sengoku BASARA seek to foreclose upon this potential through narrative denunciation and
parody. Conversely, Metal Gear Solid leaves this potential open. As a game whose narrative
supports a progressive political agenda, it unintentionally endorses an ultraconservative
conception of both politics and history—thereby constituting a nationalistic argument. In sum,
this research suggests that videogames are imbricated in processes of imagining Japanese
Description:M.A. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Asian Studies

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