Square Enix Responds to Dragon Quest Composer's 2015 Anti-LGBTQ Statements
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge & Jennifer Sherman
Last week, Japan's LGBTQ+ community rallied against Liberal Democratic Party member Mio Sugita after an article she contributed to appeared in the August issue of Shinchosha's Shinchō 45 magazine. Sugita's article called the LGBTQ+ community "unproductive" because they do not have children.
A video of Sugita from 2015 where she appeared on Japanese Culture Channel Sakura's Hi Izuru Kuni yori program with fellow politician Kyōko Nakayama and Dragon Quest video game series composer Kōichi Sugiyama resurfaced in light of the recent magazine article. In the video, she stated there is no need for LGBT education in schools, dismissed concerns about the high suicide rates among the LGBTQ community, and said that making policies following her beliefs is a way of "differentiating" the LGBTQ community rather than "discrimination."
Japanese Culture Channel Sakura is known for its support of right-wing and nationalist causes in Japan. Throughout the discussion, Sugiyama expresses agreement with Sugita's statements and adds supplementary thoughts in line with her remarks. He noted that the lack of children born from homosexual couples is an important topic to discuss and suggested that Japan is more empowering to women than Korea.
The 87-year-old composer is a known conservative who has entered political discussions in the past. For example, he wrote a letter opposing United States House of Representatives House Resolution 121 in 2007. The resolution asked the Japanese government to apologize to "comfort women" who became sexual slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Sugiyama's statements in the program left some video game fans wondering if they should continue to support the franchise. Anime News Network reached out to video game company Square Enix and the company provided the following statement:
The views of an individual do not reflect the views nor efforts of the company. SQUARE ENIX employs a global multicultural staff of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities. As a matter of policy we do not condone discrimination or harassment of any kind and we respect the diversity of sexuality and gender identity of everyone around the world.
Videos games Sugiyama has composed music for include the original 1986 Dragon Quest game and many of its sequels, with the 2017 Dragon Quest XI game as his most recent in the franchise. He has also composed music for anime such as Cyborg 009, Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibōken, and Magic Knight Rayearth.
When asked, Square Enix declined to say whether or not it will continue its relationship with Sugiyama for future Dragon Quest installments.