Pro-Games Talking Point Calls Japan The Home Of Violent Games

On Sunday, US member of parliament Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats' leader in the House of Representatives, went on Fox News and deflected blame from violent video games as a serious, actual cause of mass shootings in the United States. "In Japan, for example, they have the most violent games and the lowest death-mortality-from guns."

Now here's Martin Short, the actor and entertainer, appearing on CTV News to say much the same thing. Actually, he says exactly the same thing.

"So now there's this desire to say, 'Oh, it's because of violent video games.' Well, Japan has the most violent video games in the world, and they have a very low homicide rate."

When we ran the Pelosi clip on Monday, there was about as much backlash to the idea of Japan being demonised as the home of violent video games as there has been to the scapegoating of those games, whatever their origin, in America's look-for-any-cause-other-than-guns debate over gun violence.

So on one hand, it's nice to have this as an argumentative rebuttal, as it makes a broad generalisation, reduces a complicated issue to a very simple statement, doesn't source its material, and picks a scapegoat that is even more removed from the matter at hand. The NRA and the politicians on its payroll have a black belt in this kind of verbal judo, and it's nice to see them served with the same thing they spew.

But the problem in this charade is how so many others — politicians, lobbyists and assorted agenda pushers — do the most speaking for video games. Is there any basis to the statement that Japan's games are notoriously and distinctly violent? I'm opposed to saying so on the basis of it being an opinion, primarily, that is difficult to measure objectively (ESRB rating? ESRB rating with a "blood and gore" descriptor?) On the other, Ninja Gaiden is an undeniably violent series. Madworld was proudly blood-soaked. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is coming up next week, and it'll feature dismemberments galore too.

Do Japanese games deserve this label? If not, can we morally engage this debate with dirty pool, knowing that if we don't, the other side will still be spewing lies and intellectually dishonest shit like this, without any remorse?


Comments

    while i disagree with the idea that japanese games are "the most violent", it is a very good argument for "no access to guns = very few gun deaths"

      but americans would never ever agree to that

        then i guess we just wait for all of them to shoot each other?

    I thought Japan censored a lot of violence from their games

      Indeed. Considering they infact do and America doesn't? Americas EASILY the home of the most violent...

      However Japan may DEVELOP the most violent...

      There's a tiny difference there but idiots at FOX wouldn't understand.

    It always seems like adventure and RPG games are at the top of the charts - there just seems to be less of a market for FPSs or even the more violent Japanese-produced games, so I dunno if that can be called proof. I think that they're just using the simplest explanation they can find.

      A lot of Japanese games don't even have blood. Look at Dynasty Warriors or Soul Calibur. It's all stylized violence.

    it doesn't matter where the games come from, almost every western country has access to these games. I'm just glad some politicians or forgotten actors are using deductive reasoning

    Hmm I wouldn't say Japan has the most violent video games, but they certainly have the most sexualised. The point is still valid though. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

      > Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
      Well, that's just it isn't it? Japan has low crime rates because their culture is inherently law abiding, not in spite of violent media or other negative influences.

      Yep, if someone attempted to put the sexual things in Western games, everyone would cry pedophilia and have a big cry.... typical western society though.

        Not sexual things in games (Dead or Alive bubbly jubblies), but sexual things involving pre-pubescent girls in "high school" targeted at men. I'm sorry Japanese animators and manga lovers. That shit is NOT COOL.

          It's only not cool because of our western society, there aren't pedophiles running around in Japan but the west would claim that would happen here if those types of games were released.... Look at that Rapelay crap.

      People say Japan has a low crime rate quite a lot. But this is not entirely true. Japan has low rate of REPORTED crime. It also doesn't help that police only actively pursue crimes for which they can get a conviction - generally through confessions arrived at via intimidation (hence the other common fallacy that Japan has a high prosecution rate).

      It also appears to go without mention by FOX, et. al., that it is very difficult for members of the public to obtain fire arms. However, it is easy for members of the public to get access to knives (not surprisingly) and there is a fair amount of knife crime.

    i think people are reading this wrong....they do have the most violent games but it just happens that they are all made in the west =b

    I thought they chose to make the enemies in Revengence robots so that the dismemberments were less violent? Did that change?

    It's funny that people use this example for video games, but when someone uses it for legalising weed (ie. japan has a schizophrenia rate on par with he rest of the world, but extremely low marijuana usage) people shut it down.

      Valid point, when having these types of arguments i always change the topics to x and y instead of using actual examples cause most people cant see the princple of the statement only the brand, person, place etc you use.

      You want to legalize it, don't you. :)

        Of course I do, it being illegal is incredibly stupid.

          Once other cash strapped states of the US see how much money legalisation has made in Colorado and Washington State, the rest will do the same, then the rest of the world.

    It should be enough to note that the USA is the only place in the world with both high video game sales and a large degree of gun violence. Generally speaking, if a country has a lot of video game sales its gun violence will be low (see Japan, Australia, nearly all affluent countries) and on the flip side if a country has a large amount of gun violence their video game sales are close to non-existent.

    I could also note that during the same period that violent crime has been declining in the USA video game sales have been rising.

      These are merely coincidences. To attempt to prove, or even suggest, that they are anything more would be simply absurd.

        Yet people will happily say that violent video games cause violent behaviour because of a few incidents where a person committed a violent act and played a video game at some point... I'm all for correlation is not causation but that's a pretty serious flaw in their argument if the people with the highest level of access to violent video games aren't being violent.

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