Well, it was only a matter of time: in the hullaballoo surrounding infamous eroge RapeLay and the subsequent (admittedly well-justified) feminist complaints against the eroge industry in general, a number of strict restrictions (link NWS) on the content of eroge have been imposed and, Japanese otaku and eroge manufacturers being calm and reasonable like they always are, have one by one proceeded to ban all foreign IPs from accessing their websites because it was the dirty gaijin who did this to them.
Japan, it should be noted, has a long history of throwing babies out with the bathwater. It’s kind of a national hobby over there.
Now, you definitely aren’t asking, why does this affect I’ve Sound Blog enough to warrant an op/ed piece on a blog previously devoid of such things? The answer, of course, is firstly because the lack of justice implied with the reactionary isolationism is unfair to those of us who play end enjoy eroge outside of Japan, myself and anyone else who’s ever supported the good work of companies like JAST USA included, that blocking foreign IPs will do nothing to get the draconian censorship laws they’re fighting (or at least they should be fighting, I’ve found no examples of any legitimate protesting going on) overturned and that it really just makes the eroge community of Japan seem like a bunch of whiny, butthurt, overgrown babies. Of course, that’s only the half of its relevance – the other half is that the hypocrisy of the whole thing has been made hilariously visible recently with regards to a Japanese blog aggregator.
Erogmap, a website that collects eroge news and sorts by the game they’re relevant to, interestingly enough would feature I’ve Sound Blog posts amongst its links to coverage of these games: it’s a useful site for sure (I’d used it to see what other blogs were saying about the eroge I’ve was doing themes for, made only somewhat difficult by the fact that mine was the only English blog in their selection far as I could see), and I had just gotten a fresh batch of hits from their site when I went over there, only to find the following message awaiting me:
“This website is able to be browsed by Japanese or people who lives in Japan.
Some foreigners seem to be having an antipathy against EROGE. Therefore, We prohibited the access from foreign countries, to defend our culture.”
It almost seemed apologetic. Not apologetic enough to, y’know, unblock all non-Japanese IPs and stop being such massive dicks about the whole deal, but reading their use of the term ‘some’ in there one gets the feeling even NOG, the director of Erogmap, gets that the whole thing is really stupid and petty. And what else could define this pettiness better than the fact that the writer of I’ve Sound Blog, which they’ve linked many a time over these last few years, can’t as much as go back to their website in return?
Basically, my cry into the screaming void of isolationist paranoia that otaku culture in Japan has become right now is thus: we love you guys. We don’t think the censorship is fair either (especially the really stupid parts like pregnancy being disallowed), and we of the international brotherhood of otaku only wish you wouldn’t shut us out like this.
Now, I’m not going to limit comment-thread discussion, because this is an important matter and all aspects should be open for discussion, but what I would like to request is that anyone reading this who has had good memories associated with eroge share their stories; they don’t have to be long or even more complicated than ‘I really liked this game’, the important part is just getting it out there.