Game Depicting Shinto Shrines as Moe Anime Girls Draws Criticism
posted on by Amanda Whalen
DMM Games, the company responsible for hit games
The game, titled Yashiro ni Hoheto, is planned for release this summer. The cast will feature Sora Amamiya (Tokyo Ghoul, Bungo Stray Dogs), Kikuko Inoue (Chobits, Magical Girl Raising Project), Marina Inoue (Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia), Saori Onishi (Eromanga sensei, Gabriel Dropout), and many others. Characters include moe versions of shrines such as Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture, and the Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara. Full details can be found on the official game website.
However, there has already been some controversy in regards to the game. Before access to the game opens, fans are able to draw a fortune once per day on the game website. The fortunes are divided up between good and bad results, with each having a specific character associated with it.
There are those who feel that associated particular shrines with good or bad fortune is too irreverent and is crossing a line. One of the shrines represented, Iwashimizu Hachimangū in Kyoto, has since asked that its name not be used without permission.
When shown the fortunes, Katsuji Iwahashi, the head of International Foreign Relations at the Association of Shinto Shrines, said, "I've never seen anything like this. As someone with religious faith, this isn't something that evokes good feelings. What on Earth was their basis for doing something like this?"
Iwahashi expressed concerns that the shrines were being represented in a way showing a shallow understanding of Shintoism, noting that shrines such as Kashima Shrine and Kasuga Grand Shrine have the same enshrined deity but are represented as two separate characters. He also stressed that interpreting fortunes, which can be drawn at Shinto shrines, is much more subtle than simply very good versus very bad, and called the game's style of fortune drawing a misunderstanding and oversimplification of the process.
Iwahashi also said, "People with a shallow understanding of shrines and Japan's deities may be able to genuinely enjoy this game. However, my fear is that such people will come to shrines thinking of them just as a setting or character and will act disrespectfully while others are trying to visit the shrines."
In response, DMM Games has stated that its game is fictional and is only using the images of Shinto shrines, having absolutely no connection to real people, places, or organizations. Therefore, the results of the fortunes have no relation to the actual shrines.
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