Joleen Blom & Elina Koskinen: Research visit in Japan, Part I

In this blog post, CoEGameCult researchers Elina Koskinen and Joleen Blom share their experiences as research visitors in the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies (RCGS) in Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto.

Indie games event BitSummit & Replaying Japan conference

For the autumn semester 2022, we, Elina Koskinen and Joleen Blom, are on a research visit abroad in Japan, Kyoto. We are hosted by the Ritsumeikan University’s Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies (RCGS), which is the only academic organization in the field of game studies in Japan. This makes it a hub for international game scholars interested in topics related to Japan to gather, and we have been able to meet many colleagues here and have great knowledge exchanges already in the beginning of our research visit. In the upcoming blog posts we will tell you about our research activities during the semester.

Testing games with game research colleague Vincenzo Idone Cassone.

BitSummit X-Roads 6.-7.8.

In the beginning of August, we visited BitSummit, an indie game event held in Kyoto celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, which aims to bring together Japanese and Western independent game developers, media and technology providers. First day was for industry professionals, the second was open for the public: Kyoto International Exhibition Hall, Miyako Messe, was full of game enthusiasts and developers. We were able to chat with developers, test out many games and learn about the current indie scene in Japan, and overseas.

Japan doesn’t run out of cute characters (Uizu Kyuppa).

Finland representing with one game: Fashion Police Squad (Mopeful games).

Replaying Japan 25.-27.8.

We also participated in the Replaying Japan conference, organized by the RCGS. Most of the conference was online, but fortunately there was one afternoon live session where we were able to show our poster related to our work-in-progress paper about branding Japanese food in video games, with the case study of Yakuza Kiwami 2. For the research, we have been doing game analysis of the restaurants and their menus in Kiwami 2’s Sotenbori area, which is based on the real-life Dotonbori area. Accordingly, we have visited some of these restaurants in the Dotonbori area in Osaka for field research, documenting their outlooks, menus and actual foods.

Stay tuned for more blog posts on our activities in the following months!

Kushikatsu Daruma’s menu in Kiwami 2 & food at Kushikatsu Daruma in Dotonbori area, Osaka.

Presenting “Branding of Japanese Food in the Yakuza Series” poster.