E3 08: Imperial Japan is ready for action and to build the co-prosperity sphere!

[As originally posted on Japanator]

Straight out of E3 is the trailer for the Japanese forces — no, sorry, the “Empire of the Rising Sun.” In this little video, we get to see some of the Japanese forces, with cool Japanese names, and the deterministic voice of a general who sounds like he’s been punched in the gut. There was something that bothered me, though, while watching the video.

I know that in the Red Alert mythology, that World War II proper never happened. This is essentially the result of that. But to have the Japanese troops brandishing the flag of the Rising Sun so prominently in the trailer? EA, surely you’ve got to realize that the flag carries some baggage with it.

It’s not like people haven’t criticized the flag’s use before. It is the same as flagrantly waving around the Nazi flag in WWII games. I don’t have the best memory of the earlier Call of Duty titles, but I can’t seem to remember prominent symbols of Nazism placed throughout the game. Not that I’m calling EA racist or anything, I just believe they’re not necessarily thinking about what they’re doing.

In general, there’s a stereotype in games to portray the Japanese as the propaganda from the 1940’s did — fanatical, willing to die at a moment’s notice, and totally ruthless. I realize you’re representing an alternative Japanese army here, but the game seems to wave the flag in your face, making it, and all the stereotypes that go along with it, rather prevalent. But hey, don’t worry — you won’t have to sit through other games and watch Nazis oppress Jews or gypsies. That’d just be insensitive.

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