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Bishoujo Game Takes on Japanese Constitution's Anti-War Clause

posted on by Eric Stimson
Debate militarism with brigade of cute high schoolers

Article 9 is the most controversial segment of the Japanese Constitution, since it forbids Japan from engaging in war or maintaining armed forces. Despite Japan's de facto military (the Japan Self-Defense Forces) and involvement in the war in Iraq, many Japanese are strongly devoted to the clause since it enshrines Japan's postwar pacifism. Yet prime minister Shinzō Abe recently revised it, reigniting a sometimes fiery debate.

But why watch a bunch of mumbling fifty-somethings on NHK debate it, when you can argue its merits with a posse of cute high school girls?

Jya no Michi wa Hebi Soft, an adult game publisher, is developing a new bishoujo game focusing on a high school debate club called DS9 (Debate School Nine) to commemorate its tenth anniversary. Its genre is listed as "revising Article 9 romance adventure," and the characters are grouped according to their stance on the clause — revisionists, conservatives, and neutralists. Character profiles have been posted on the game's official website, disclosing key information like their other club activities, hobbies, birthdays, catchphrases, circumstances of their upbringing, which personal pronouns they use, and underwear colors.

Some examples from each of the three groups:

Towa Yamato
President of the Art Club
Hobby: painting
Birthday: February 11 (National Foundation Day)
Underwear: black
Personal pronoun: watakushi (which is highly formal)
Favorite painter: Vermeer
Upbringing: Her family runs a big corporation
War is a human instinct... War is like an illness without a cure. I think we should affirm that to respond to it correctly.

Makoto Kujou
Student Council President, Tennis Club
Hobby: watching sports (especially with fighting)
Birthday: May 3 (Constitution Day)
Underwear: striped
Personal pronoun: ore (which is very masculine)
Catchphrase: "exclusively defensive defense policy"
Upbringing: an only child in a normal salaryman family

I fiercely speak of the dream of a peaceful constitution. If it comes to war, I advocate upholding peace by withholding resistance and "dying with a smile." Article 9 is a philospphy we can be proud of internationally, and I believe it should be an ideal for humanity.

Ms. Kokoa Kohi
Tennis Club advisor
Hobby: marriage
Birthday: August 15 (V-J Day)
Underwear: black with red dots
Personal pronoun: watashi (which is neutral)
Catchphrase: "Please?♪"
Upbringing: the youngest daughter in a family that controls national politics

As a teacher, I can't really participate, but if I ask simple questions and step in from time to time, I've played my part.

The other characters, from left to right, are:

  • Sakurako Haruno, a history buff, especially of the Warring States periods in China and Japan;
  • Mona Onikawa, a military otaku;
  • Shiori Honno, a strange girl lacking common sense who constantly observes others;
  • Hiyori Kusanagi, a fine-looking boy utterly lacking in other qualities;
  • Yuina Oomae, a man-hating feminist; and
  • Yuuna Oomae, her sister, an animal lover.
  • This isn't the only time the constitution has been explained with comely females — Constitution Girls by Yuuko Morita uses moe characters to represent the articles of the constitution. Reaction on Twitter ranged from "These are strange times" and "Who is this aimed at?" to "So this is what 'make it erotic and they'll consume it' has come to" and "Is this for real?"

    DS9 is slated for release for Windows next fall. It is priced at 8,800 yen (or $76).

    [Via R25 and DS9 official site]

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