NL-I wanted to hear more about Rapelay, and the controversy that has been going on since it came out in 2006. Thanks to Jon, for researching and writing it up for me.
EAST DOESN’T MEET WEST’S TASTES
Op/Ed by Jon
Almost a year after the initial outrage Italian politicians are the latest to start protesting about the Hentai video game Rapeplay.
Players take the role of a chikan, ‘subway pervert’ who stalks and rapes a mother and her two daughters. Illusion released it in 2006. It was only intended for the Japanese market and was in conformity with
the laws at that time. English speaking fan versions and forums to discuss it existed on the net well before the Amazon incident.
In February 2009 it was noticed that a reseller on Amazon was offering two used copies of the game. Keith Vaz a British MP and violent games hater was shocked by this. Although Amazon quickly removed the information Vaz asked parliament for a UK ban on internet sales.
Christine Quinn, Speaker for the New York City Council, asked for it to be taken off the shelves by distributors and that they refuse further distribution. It was though never available on the American markets. Stores won’t carry unrated video games.
Taina Bien Aime , Executive Director of Equality Now, an international women’s rights group, called on the Japanese government ‘…to ban the sales of games that depict rape, stalking or other forms of sexual violence or which otherwise denigrate women.’ The organization started a letter writing campaign targeting Illusion, Amazon Japan and Japanese officials.
In May 2009 the Japanese government due to mounting pressure decided to restrict the sale of Rapeplay in Japan. After discussions with the industry an unofficial ban of rape games or sexually explicit games was accepted by 90% of the country’s software makers. This has no legal authority.
The damage though had been done. The wide attention brought tothe game had caused it to go viral on the net.
In 2007 the Japanese adult software industry made $353 milliondollars from sales. Rapeplay wasn’t the only video game in in this genre that was readily available over the counter. Rape themed videos can be rented. Rape fantasy comics are also easily accessible and people read them on the train when they’re going to work.
Each of the three rape scenarios in the game starts with the women being groped and undressed in a train. Subway perverts have become an epidemic in Japan. In 2004 64% of Tokyo women reported being groped on a train. There are even online groping associations that carefully plan out the best places and times for their attacks.
The youngest daughter in the game is believed to be anywhere between 10 and 14. Her sister is 16. Sex with each of the girls and their mother goes from inserting vibrators to possible gang rape and bondage. European versions have been unpixilated and you can see the bloody penis and vagina. (The man’s penis is the size of a baseball bat.) If they’re impregnated they can be forced to have an abortion.
Rape is considered one of the most shameful experiences by Japanese women and they prefer not to report it. There’s a public assumption that rape doesn’t exist and so there’s no need for support for the victims. There are no government run rape crisis centers or hot lines. Victims are often seen as being responsible, by for example, dressing provocatively. Rapeplay is a reflection of this myth.
The game is nasty and it’s good that it’s been banned along with others in the same genre. There’s still the question of the ultraviolent games that many people now enjoy. Japan is also suffering from a rise in teenage murderers. Is this a result of these games or something else?
Why Italian politicians have decided to protest now is a mystery?Is it for good publicity? Is it to turn the public gaze from failures by the government?
Politicians everywhere seem to have the mindset of King Canute. Banning a product in the real world may be relatively easy to do but banning a product in the virtual world is almost impossible. The tide of pirated copies just rises with the hullaballoo caused by media saturated controversies.