Did Rise of The Ronin’s Korean Release Just Get Cancelled?
13.02.2024 - 15:52
/ Team Ninja
Rise of the Ronin may have just been cancelled from being released in Korea.
As reported by Eurogamer, Sony Entertainment Korea announced that Rise of the Ronin will not be available to purchase in the country, in either physical or digital form. They also cancelled all pre-orders and removed all promotional material save for the original announce trailer. Notably, Sony Korea did not give a reason for the cancellation.
Presumably, if there were Korean fans who really wanted to play the game, they could do their own workaround by having a copy of the game imported, say, from America, and then making a US PSN account, to play the US disc. We can’t vouch if they would also be allowed to download the game using such a PSN account to access the US Sony store. But there seems to be a potential reason that Koreans wouldn’t seek the game out at all.
As some of you may already know, Rise of the Ronin is set in a specific, and very grim, period in Japan’s history. Because it is based in reality, studio Team Ninja cannot avoid the presence of historical figures that could be controversial today, as well as controversial themes overall.
It is believed the controversy began in a promotional video produced by Sony, featuring game director Fumuhiko Yasuda. Yasuda made mention of a 19th century scholar named Shoin Yoshida, who became notable for having taught many of the politicians and other historical figures of the Meiji Restoration era. One such student, Kogoro Katsura, is a supporting character in the game’s storyline.
But Shoin Yoshida is also a controversial figure in Japan for having spread the idea that Japan needed to conquer Korea to become powerful in the face of Western countries entering their shores. Eurogamer states that Yoshida was a major figure in the Seikanron movement, which was about this very idea.
The Japanesewiki page on Seikanron states that the movement was about Japan compelling Korea to open up to the world. However, it also mentions Shoin Yoshida’s opinion that Japan had dominion over Korea, based on two of Japan’s mythical/historical writings, the Kojiki and Nihon-shiki.
The main reason this has caused controversy, of course, is because Japan did invade and rule Korea from 1910 to 1945. Sony was in a particularly precarious position in all this, being a Japanese company themselves.
Clearly this whole controversy could have been averted if PlayStation’s promotional/marketing arm kept a better eye out on potential controversy from their own marketing materials. It may not be avoidable that game developers harbor controversial opinions, but if this video was properly vetted before release in the first place, they could have avoided this situation altogether. Rise of the Ronin itself, at