Skip to main content

    Chinese iPad game lets players experience the 'thrill' of killing 'Japanese devils' (update: pulled)

    Chinese iPad game lets players experience the 'thrill' of killing 'Japanese devils' (update: pulled)


    An iPad game in the Chinese App Store depicts the player killing stereotypical samurai and sumo wrestlers to take back real-life disputed territory.

    Share this story

    A game in the Chinese iTunes Store that depicts a decades-long territory dispute between Japan and China as a bloody fight against geisha and other stereotypes has drawn criticism online. Protect the Diaoyu Islands, one of two iPad games by China's Shenzhen ZQGame Company, tells players that the Diaoyu Islands (known elsewhere as the Senkaku Islands and controlled by Japan) are an "inalienable" part of China, but that they are threatened by "Japanese devils." In response, players must fight what appear to be sumo wrestlers, geisha, samurai, and ninjas in order to reach a triumphant victory screen set in Tiananmen Square. Though the game isn't available in the US store, Wired has played it and confirmed the content. If there is an Android version of the game, it's not available in Google Play or other official app stores.

    Critics — both in Japan and elsewhere — say the game violates Apple's Terms of Service, which specifies that "'enemies' within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity." By that standard, it does seem like something that may be pulled soon, especially after receiving wider attention. However, this is also a fine line for Apple. Even something as overtly fantastical as Call of Cthulhu involves British soldiers fighting Germans in World War One, and we'd be more surprised if Shenzhen ZQGame's other title in the store were pulled. War games are common, but the overtly nationalistic bent, basis in an ongoing controversy, and invitation to "experience the thrill of killing invaders" that represent a cross-section of stereotypes all push this into the realm of ugly political commentary that may not last long on Apple's curated store. We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update with any response.

    Update: And it looks like the app has been pulled, most likely due to violating the rules of the App Store outlined above. We're digging for more information and will update as we get it.