Frog Leaps in: Haiku and the Struggle For and Against the Natural World in Japanese RPGs
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 16:14 authored by Jon Stone
Haiku poetry and the video game genre dubbed JRPGs are two highly successful Japanese cultural exports but are not generally regarded as enjoying much crossover. In this paper, I suggest that a particular moment in the 1995 JRPG Chrono Trigger parallels the structure and content of a well-known haiku, and that by importing an understanding of haiku we can open up new ways of considering how the genre invests players in an environmentally conscientious philosophical mode. I use one of the most influential JRPGs of the 1990s, Final Fantasy VI, as a case study to examine how the genre in its present state transmits mixed messages regarding anthropocentrism and responsible action, drawing on research from the fields of science fiction studies, animal studies and literary theory as well as the work of other games studies scholars. Finally, I conclude that both theorists and practitioners can benefit from an approach to transmediality that looks beyond the deliberate media mix strategies of corporate producers, to cultural artefacts that are not necessarily designed to fit into a mix, in order to extend the potential for games and related media to promote socially and environmentally responsible attitudes.
Publication titleReplaying Japan Journal
- Published version