Enemy Japanese soldiers are torn to pieces in Defend the Diaoyu Islands. Screengrab: Wired
A new iPad game called Defend the Diaoyu Islands takes an ongoing dispute between China and Japan and makes a game out of it — one that paints the Japanese as invaders and tasks you with brutally killing them.
China believes that Japan ceded its authority following its surrender in World War II. No one lives on the islands, but recent years have seen non-lethal maritime confrontations between the Japanese coast guard and encroaching vessels from China and Taiwan.
Defend the Diaoyu Islands, for they are the inalienable territory of China! Recently, the Japanese government has been saber-rattling, making attempts to seize the Diaoyu Islands and even arresting our fishermen compatriots while selling off fish from the islands. Today, you can vent your anger by trying this game demo, working together to eradicate all Japanese devils landing on the island and turning them back towards their own lands. Defend the Diaoyu Islands!
The Japanese enemies range from World War II soldiers to stereotypes such as samurai, sumo wrestlers, and ninjas. No Chinese soldiers are depicted on the battlefield.
Players defend a wall on the left side of the screen by tapping and swiping on the Japanese forces, hurling them into the air or dragging them across the ground. The Japanese are not merely killed: They flop around like rag dolls and become dismembered after a few strikes.
More powerful weapons are unlocked as the game goes on, fueled by a “rage” meter that is refilled by spirits that float up from Japanese corpses.
The basic actions of playing the game are actually fun. But the context and cultural depictions make it grotesque.
Bloggers in Japan are none too thrilled with the game, pointing out that it violates the App Store Review Guidelines regarding “personal attacks” and “violence,” specifically section 15.3: “Enemies within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.”