Why Is CNN Talking About Rapelay?

In spring 2009, the Western media caused a brouhaha over computer game Rapelay. The game was released in 2006, and CNN is now covering the controversy. Why?

To bring everyone up to speed, Rapelay allows the player to have his way with the game's three female characters. The title is out of print and after the game started to get flak, Illusion, the company that created Rapelay, pulled the title from its website.

"We are simply bewildered by the move," said Illusion spokesman Makoto Nakaoka. "We make the games for the domestic market and abide by laws here. We cannot possibly comment on (the campaign) because we don't sell them overseas." New York-based Equality Now kicked off a campaign in May 2009 "against rape simulator games and the normalization of sexual violence in Japan".

To be clear, the game company legally released the game in Japan in 2006. And in 2009, the West discovered it and got upset.

Japanese politicians in the New Komeito Party, pinning erotic games as a cause for Japanese sex crime, said, "There is a very good chance that the influence of violent sex games far exceeds that of regular pornography." Japan has one of the lowest rates of reported rate:

UN Rape Rates per 100,000

Canada: 78.08

Australia: 77.79

USA: 32.05

Sweden: 24.47

UK: 16.23

France: 14.36

S. Korea: 12.98

Germany: 9.12

Russia: 4.78

Taiwan: 4.08

Japan: 1.78

While these game makers broke no Japanese laws, the country's Ethics organisation of Computer Software held an emergency meeting in June 2009 in which nearly 100 representatives from various erotic game companies concluded that the manufacturer and sale of rape-type games should cease. This was not a government decision or even a legal one, but instead a self-policing policy on the part of the EOCS.

Thus, erotic game makers decided not to make any more rape games. What's more, game makers began giving their titles "cleaner" titles for adult games that were already scheduled to come out in the wake of the controversy. For example, "Slave Maiden's Rape Hell" became "Young Girl's Prison". Japanese adult video game makers retreated, some erotic game company websites even blocked foreign access. Retailers began renaming the "rape" genre category, and Kyoto cops arrested one Japanese man for illegally sharing the game on the internet. (One Japanese erotic game company dealt with the entire situation tongue planted firmly in cheek with this title screen.)

Yet, CNN still felt the topic deserved merit. The angle? Japan needs to deal with erotic game makers in a far stricter way because these video games can be leaked onto the internet and then foreign people can download them. Um, yeah. Think of all the things on the internet right now — all the horrible, disagreeable things, and people are upset about an out of print computer game. (The other game that CNN features is "Chain Trap", a computer rape game from 2004.) Concentrating on games that are years old is a bit like getting upset right now about Cannibal Ferox and then condemning all horror games based on that title.

In the U.S., pornography featuring staged rape is legal, because both actors are consenting adults. Granted, there are obscenity laws that exist in the U.S., but these niche videos exist in America. They also exist in Japanese pornography; however, unlike their Western counterparts, the genitalia of the Japanese performers are censored. Contrary to what the CNN piece leads viewers to believe, there are obscenity laws in Japan. Going by CNN's angle that these games should been policed even more because they are being leaked online, one could argue for the censorship of genitalia of Western adult video actors due to the difference in censorship laws!

Taina Bien-Aime of women's rights organisation Equality Now wants the Japanese government "to ban all games that promote and simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls." But shouldn't she be more focused on the high number of reported rape in Canada, Australia and the U.S.A.? Many rapes go unreported, which would mean the number of actual rapes in, say, the United States is actually higher. Same for Japan. But the difference is that America has a tremendous head start.

The real peg for the CNN story is the virtual child porn bill that was proposed by the Tokyo Municipal Government, which would amend the Metropolitan Tokyo youth welfare law on child pornography and limit the manner in which "nonexistent youths" are represented as well as clauses that call for the filtering of images of minors online and via mobile phone. The "visual depictions" are understood to encompass underage characters in manga, anime, computer games and video games - i.e., virtual characters. Some of Japan's most beloved anime and manga creators stood up to this bill, stating that it impedes on freedom of expression. The bill has since been delayed.

Instead of discussing this bill in any sort of depth, the Western media's favourite Japan-is-so-messed-up punching bag, Rapelay, has been dragged out for another round of those in glass houses to toss stones. The U.S. has problems, many, many problems and much more pressing problems than out-of-print, niche computer games in Japan.

'RapeLay' video game goes viral amid outrage [CNN.com]


Comments

    Oooh we're SO close to number 1! Come on aussie rapists, just a bit more effort and we'll have a gold medal!

    Less flippantly, the beatup of old or minor news has been a staple of these news services ever since ratings became more important than the story. Give it a decade and CNN headlines will contain terms like LOL, OMGWTF! and the like

    They're just trying to draw attention away from Obama's draconian healthcare bill. But still, I dont think it is right for THEM to be commenting on stuff like this when they're implementing shit like the full-body scanners which break child pornography laws in their own country.

      wow, take off your tin foil hat and join the rest of society any time you want buddy.

        wow, feel free to abandon your "ignorance is power" stance anytime, friend.

        he's not your buddy, guy!

          Crab.. you just won the internet.

          Thankyou.

    btw if your wondering why the poll on their site is 80% no its /v/ and /b/ flooding it

    The definition of rape in Canada and Australia is different and extends to alot of other sexual assaults. The site doesn't differentiate between the two for those two countries in particular. So the numbers are inflated.

    Australia and Canada define rape as any sort of sexual assault against someones will (for those figures you are quoting, which are probably from nationmaster I assume?) whereas the United States for example only counts actual rape. So the AU figures quoted on that site and the Canada figures are counting all sexual assaults under the same heading... whereas the US only is counting rape.

    So yeah, the numbers on that rape thing are wrong because it sources from different countries that define rape differently. Just letting you know.

      Your also forgetting the tolerance level of people to rape, the more tolerant someone is the less likely they will report it to the police.

      And most likely a lot of women flaunt their freedom of speach here by reporting sexual assaults.

      How do you know this? Whats your background?

        I know this because I researched it. I'm currently studying and have a unit solely dedicated to the UN and their studies aren't as thorough as you'd imagine.

        That said, go look at it for yourself.

      To be honest, I'm willing to bet that Japans rape figures would be a hell of a lot higher if women came out about it. This where men can get away with groping women on trains. They are very non confrontational.

      There's a brief bit about it in here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Japan

      Yeah, the way CNN is using this issue is stupid, but the use of statistics to defend a game maker propagating one of Japan's biggest problems is tasteless.

      Nicely said. When I saw Australia's stats I was quite astonished but what you said makes much more sense.

      There is also the fact that these numbers only include reported rape (for obvious reasons) so the high % in Canada and Australia could possibly indicate great confidence in our police forces and/or people realising that it's not the victims fault.

    The worst thing about this is that there are many curious gamers out there... not sick people but just people that want to see what all the fuss is about. I did not hear about this game in 2006 but i sure as hell know about it know. This is actually bringing this and other games to the attention of the wider population so of course some people will go out and get this as a direct result of the 'negative press'.

    i agree there is no need for these games but there is certainly no need for the outdated crap either.

    Hey, Aitkinson looking for work now... I hear CNN is hiring?

    They are only looking at Rapelay now? Why don't they look at something more current like the sinking of the Titanic?

    *face palms*
    Nice head line.. viral?? that game hasn't been Viral for a good... 3-4 years until Fox and whatnot dragged it from under the grave as a nice political punching bag >.>

    What is rather surprising is that this is a CNN headline.. while I find most commercial pay TV news sites rather tragic in actual "news" content these days... this is usually the drivel I expect from Fox News instead >.>;; I wonder if they've started hiring editors and staff from Fox... you know just to mix things up

    The brothers Skaf have been raping for Australia obviously... I'm shocked we're actually double per capita compared to the US (or maybe they have a lot more unreported cases)

    About the story, CNN isn't completely off the record. Games like this inevitably end up in foreign territories. And they're creepy as shit.

    Half of Bashcraft's Japan articles weird me out.

    The excuse "These games aren't breaking any local laws" is invalid.

    Why must these games be developed and sold in the first place? (regardless of legality). I'm the last person to advocate videogame censorship (I played and enjoyed 'controversial' games such as Mass Effect, GTA, MW2), but is the world a better place with games like this on the street? The market of depraved freaks should find their kicks in other sources.

    CNN = American = Stupid.

    Shouldn't America focus more on how it seems to constantly be f**king up the world on an almost continuous basis rather than focusing on 'nonexistent youths'.

    I did think it was odd for aus and canada to be so high on that list, thanks for the clarification.

    As to the article, this really is ridiculous. I know being a mainstream channel news show I shouldn't get offended when they get these things so horribly wrong, but I can't help it. I think the fact that rape is considered perfectly fine in pornography with real people but not in a virtual world to be hypocritical. Sure you can argue that in a game you 'control' the player and get to 'be' the player, but if you've played these games you would know you get very little control, and as for 'being' the character, there are plenty of pornographic videos that are purposely made the same way. With the intention of making the viewer believe they are the male/female shown, it's called POV.

    The fact that the ero-companies are making their own policies is a good thing, but looking at those stats I do have to suggest one thing. It may not be true, there are no doubt other factors to consider, and I doubt it would be a very popular idea, but we must be open to the idea that 'rape simulators' may actually be helping to keep the rape crime rate down. It is possible that potential rapists are happy enough with their ero-games and therefore won't go out assaulting women. Again, it may not be true, it may not even be likely, but it is possible.

    I also recall reading somewhere that women in Japan don't report it, in fear of being unable to marry.

    *Shrug*

    I think alcohol plays a much bigger role in rape than games ever will, especially here in Australia.

    holy shit! i had no idea australia was so bad!

    Ha I remember this game. Ah good memories :)

    Shame on this editor, he is actually portraying the makers of games that simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls as victims. I hope they make a rape game based on his baby relatives or mother so he actually realises the seriousness of these type of games. And good work using inaccurate statistics, very professional work here.

      I believe the stats are as accurate as they can get. It clearly says they are starts for reported rape. How exactly do you suggest they obtain stats accurate including unreported rape? Doesn't the fact that they are unreported effectively make it impossible to get an accurate measurement?

      You allow games that simulates wars and gore, have fleshy human character teared limb from limb, blasted with grenades and tanks, bloods and guts splashed everywhere. How about nuking the White House or setup a bomb in a busy streets? Yes, they are NOT effin real, and the same goes to RapeLay.

      If these people are worried that games from the other side of the world would turn their children into rapist. Why don't they first look at the amount of porno films, movies or even cartoons produced in their own country. I believe that will turn their kids into serial killers or terrorist first.

    This issue was brought up on 6PR talk back radio today. sending the baby boomers into a drooling frenzy as per usual. I rang up enlightened the host who was babbling on about the internet filter stopping it etc.

    Basically they were saying the government needs to save the children. i said its the parents job to be a parent and monitor their children. That pretty much ended the debate ;)

    I really hate the way society is going :(

      Bravo sir, I applaud you.
      At least some people can get the idea behind parenting right.

      Yeah good on you mate.

      Shame on you for listening but good to hear that you put your 2c in. Doubt it would have done anything but at least you did something about it.

      Cheers,

    People are suprised that CNN is horrible? its nothing but a glorified twitter agregator now with a larger special effects budget.

    I read about this on The Age website today and their article is alot more one sided. So was their article on the R rating they did a few weeks back too.

    I cant even think of a clever, snarky or smart ass comment to this, its just... sad, and stupid beyond words.

    Umm,

    Look at the stats. Japan has the lowest rate of reported sex crime.

    Even if you assume that there is a far greater stigma of reporting a rape, the gulf between Japan and everyone else is pretty difficult to explain without any other factors.

    I'm willing to bet Japan actually has a LOWER rate of COMMITTED sex offenses.

    Also, look at Australia and Canada. In both of these countries, staged "rape" porn is illegal. They also have the highest incidences of rape.
    Sweden, France and Germany all have much lower levels of rape than Canada and Australia.

    And we all know about the prevalence of rape in Japanese porn (don't deny it).

    Overall there seems to be a trend: the more willing a country's laws are to tolerate people using porn to vent their sick little fantasies, the lower the overall rate of rape will be.

    Porn does not make rapists. Just like violent video games do not make people killers. If anything, these statistics give at least some credibility to the "sewer in a palace" or "catharsis" theories; living out ones darker fantasies via a media product makes someone less likely to live them out in reality.

    You can thank Michael Atkinson for bringing Rapelay up over and over for the west before he left his Attorney-General office recently.

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