Of Divine and Digital Origin: Mythology in Japanese Video Games

by Katherine Stevens

The Japanese video game industry is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. They are lauded for their creativity and longevity, as well as their broad cultural appeal. However, what many consumers don’t realize is that behind the graphics and fantastical plotlines often lies a broader significance. Many of the most popular franchises in Japanese video gaming are heavily based on mythology, both Eastern and Western alike. While it is often not apparent to many players, especially younger gamers or those who are not familiar with the mythological canon, these details give the gameplay and coinciding plots more depth, and can be seen as a reflection on the creators’ view of culture. [Read more…]

Katherine Stevens

Virginia born and Texas raised, Katherine had an interest in Japan from an early age, although she never dreamed that a love for Pokemon and Hello Kitty would take her as far as it has. Over the years her Japanophilia has transformed from anime, manga, and video games to a broader love for the culture as a whole. As a Anthropology major with a minor in East Asian Studies, her primary interest is in how Japan functions as both a traditional and thoroughly modern society.

In taking Japan’s Gross National Cool this year, she hopes to expand on what she has learned on her own and at her time at William & Mary, and to come one step closer to “figuring out” the culture she loves so dearly.