Itagaki: Be an Earthling first and a Japanese second

Outspoken Tokyo Vikings developer Tomonobu Itagaki has been chatting with Kotaku about life, love and bouncy boob physics. While the interview is laden with his usual bravado and trash talk, the Ninja Gaiden creator did have some very interesting words to say about the Japanese game industry.

“I think that, in time, it will end up much like the Japanese film industry, you know?,” he explained. “I mean it will become similar in terms of its competitiveness in mass markets, its ability to raise funds, and its technological prowess. I mean, Kojima-san at Konami has been talking about the technological side of the issue for quite some time now, hasn’t he?

“Whether it goes into a major decline or not will depend on the publishers and game creators here in Japan. There’s no point in traveling the same path that Japan did 400 years ago, after all … I’m talking about sakoku, the policy in which Japan closed its borders to the outside world. What the industry is doing right now is just a modern form of sakoku. What I’m trying to get at is that you’ve got to be an Earthling first, and a Japanese second.”

This mirrors sentiments expressed by Sony’s Yasuhide Kobayashi when he declared Japan must start appealing more to the West. While I still wonder if the whole “Japanese decline” thing isn’t being a little overblown, there’s no escaping the fact that this is a global market now. Simply developing for your own little club doesn’t quite cut it anymore. 

Jim Sterling