New Japanese Game Labels Enemies As 'Immigrants'

As pointed out on NeoGAF, the invading giant ants and spiders in Earth Defence Force 5 are called "immigrants."

[Image via PlayStation]

With the recent refugee crisis and anti-immigrant attitudes worldwide, this might not be the best word choice. It's understandable why people outside Japan might wonder about this naming.

It's also understandable that Japanese game developers might not have the best grasp on English-language nuances.

Then again, if you've been following Japanese news coverage, you'll know that the Japanese word imin (移民), meaning "immigrant" (though, it can also mean "emigrant" as well as "settler") has been used in regards to what's been happening in Europe and the United States. Here's how the Google Image results look for the word:

[Image via Google]

The word "nanmin" (難民) has also appeared in the news recently. Imin (immigrant) and nanmin (refugee) obviously have different meanings in Japanese like they do in English.

The text at the top reads "alien civilisation" (異星文明 or isei bunmei). The text blew that is "immigrant." [Photo: Famitsu]

It's worth noting that according to a 2015 Asahi Shimbun poll of around 2,000 Japanese citizens, 51 per cent supported expanding immigration, while 34 per cent said they did not. (You can read more here.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that when Japanese people hear "immigrant" (イミグラント or imiguranto), many people will not know what it means, because it's not a well-known English word. Have a look at its Google Image results:

[Image via Google]

That's why Japanese players might associate it with these enemies instead of, you know, actual immigrants.

The Immigrant enemies. [Photo: Famitsu]

In a recent article, Japanese game site Famitsu explained the meaning to readers, writing, "The name of the extra terrestrials this time around is 'Immigrant.' In Japanese, that means imin (移民), and these life-forms are planning to immigrate on Earth."

This isn't exactly new to EDF. As NeoGAF notes, Earth Defence Force 3 and EDF 4 called the enemies "foreigner" (フォーリナー or "foorinaa").

[Image: Official Site via Wayback Machine]

They were localised as "The Ravagers" in English.

Likewise, "Immigrant" will probably get another name in English with less baggage.

In case you missed it, check out Kotaku's Earth Defence 5 impressions from the Tokyo Game Show.


    I guess at this point they've been invading for so long they basically live here now?

    With all the words in English that can be used that are less troublesome, like alien, invader or colonist, they pick immigrant.

    Maybe they've been reading Andrew Bolt.

      Nah, I'm pretty sure developing a video game would be impossible after having a lobotomy, which is pretty much a prerequisite for anybody to be able to get through an entire Bolt column.

    I suspect the problem could be traced to the use of the word "Alien" in American English to describe immigrants. A bit of a translation mixup.

      Ironic that 'illegal immigrant' has replaced 'illegal alien' in colloquial English but this game has replaced bona fide (space) aliens with the word 'immigrant'.

      Of course, the PC police are quick to quash any straying from the narrative.

        what narrative?

        Last edited 27/09/16 10:45 am

          The narrative of how mouth-breathing bigots on the internet are constantly under attack from the PC Police (people who aren't arseholes)

    Oh my God a different language from English has words with different meanings that don't directly translate accurately.

    I think maybe they were going for a pun because they look like ants. (Immigr-ants).
    The EDF series doesn't look like it takes itself too seriously.

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