Nintendo: Wii don't like Gay marriage

Uh, no, I can’t psychically predict your sexual orientation, but I can read what you wrote.


I’m disappointed by your disappointment . . .


Well I type corrected then. And yeah the local culture there for LGBT is not so hot.

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This isn’t just about “political points”. This is about real people. Real people want to get married and can’t because they happen not to be straight. Real people are also marginalized and pushed aside because their real, actual lives are considered annoying “political points”… Something tells me you’re likely straight. How nice it must be for you, not to have to worry about being othered and have your sexual orientation incorrectly compared to a sexual kink by some asshole on the internet.


Both of them work fine if your true category is “I am a bored man seeking trolling targets”

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For those jumping on the dogpile here, it’s probably worth pointing out that actual sexually-explicit simulation games such as 3d Sexvilla 2 don’t include BDSM or trans scenes, so it’s not as if the west is perfect yet either. Of course you can add all that as hacked mods if you care to, but yeah.

It’s no excuse, but I think people have a tremendously high estimation of how accepted homosexuality is in Japan. The country of 120m people has one street in one suburb as its nationwide HQ - and half of the people there are foreigners.


I assume you are referring to “Ni Chome” in Shinjuku? If so Shinjuku isn’t exactly a suburb but your point is well made.

The cultural imperialism here is rather disgusting: the enlightened West knows better than the primitive East. Believe it or not even folks on the political Left here in Japan find this attitude more than slightly patronizing.

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The cultural imperialism here is rather disgusting: the enlightened West knows better than the primitive East.

How you got that out of what @Brainspore said is beyond me. There was just one issue mentioned, not every cultural issue under the sun.

Do you dispute the fact that Japan is even further behind on legalizing/normalizing gay marriage than the U.S is?


What strikes me about this is that someone had to make a conscious choice to design it this way, it almost certainly took work (not much work, but still) to bar same sex marraige.

But when the game is one where you make your own character (and Mii’s are actually intended to be virtual avatars, so even moreso with them) if the game has a marriage feature then there is some block of code that decides whether or not you can get married. If gay marriage is not an option, then someone put in a line that says:

“If Mii1.Sex == Mii2.Sex then stopTheWedding”

Preventing gay marriage didn’t magically appear by itself. This is totally different than a game where you play a predefined character who has a romantic storyline where the designers have to code in every romantic interaction and may limit those to certain other characters. There adding options to marry people is work, there limiting options to marry people is work. If they didn’t want to make a political statement, then they didn’t have to do this.

But even if we were to attribute this to some kind of cultural difference between North American and Japan (an issue that feels like it could probably fill a book) and assume the code was there when the NA team localized it, that still seems like a big omission on their part. Honestly, while I am not an expert in putting together massive software projects like this one, the idea that altering the code to allow gay marriage would not be as trivial as deleting a line like the one I have above is unimaginable to me.

(Okay, okay, I’m sure the game would crash when it tried to do the wedding scene and wanted to pick the female character to walk up the aisle in a white dress, I know things are more complicated, but seriously, there are games out there right now that have options for homosexual relationships and all they had to do was not set a flag that said you couldn’t)

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“Ahead” or “behind” implies the very cultural value judgement and attitude of moral superiority I object to. Were I to make any sort of sweeping statement, Japanese culture does not choose to play the game of identity politics that is now common in the West and thus isn’t ahead or behind because its not the same game.

I believe that acceptance of same-sex relationships is superior to condemnation of same-sex relationships. Obviously this is a value judgment, just like “women should have the same legal rights as men” is a value judgement. I make no apologies for this. If that makes me a “Cultural Imperialist” then so be it.

If I’d made a statement to the effect that “the United States was behind Japan in abolishing the practice of slavery” would you still find that terminology objectionable?


Its not that same sex relationships are condemned its just that this is a different culture, one without the baggage that comes with an Abrhamic cultural background. Baggage exists here but it is different. Same sex relations have pretty much always been acknowledged in Japan but sexual identity politics have not.

In regards to same sex marriage, there is little domestic call for such. According to a homosexual Japanese gentleman I know, the very idea is deeply Western in that it is founded on focusing more on individual desires than group obligations.

As for the abolition of slavery, since that wasn’t the same sort of thing here it becomes a “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” type question. More Japanese were enslaved by the Portuguese than any existing domestic slave population ever. The english language sources on this are far less detailed than those in Japanese.

You could say the same of most any civil rights issue. “Women want to ignore their group obligation to stay home and raise children due to their individual desires to participate in larger society.” “Mixed-race couples want to ignore their group obligation to maintain racial purity due to their individual desires to marry the people they love.”

There’s no universal human trait that dictates all cultures must accept homosexuality, but there is also no universal human trait that says all cultures must grant rights to women or abolish slavery or grant the same legal rights to people of various ethnic backgrounds.

It was a straightforward example of using the “ahead/behind” terminology you condemned. I credit Japan with being ahead of the United States on abolishing slavery just as I credit many Western countries with being ahead of Japan on normalizing same-sex relationships.


Actually I’m pointing out a cultural difference, quite a different thing.

It terms of timeline yes but if one is trying to make a moral comparison the contexts are too dissimilar.

If you mean in timeline, then that isn’t the case. Same sex relationships were historically accepted here and not condemned as sinful as in the West.

You can’t separate civil rights issues from cultural differences. It was once a core part of American culture that dark-skinned people were considered socially and legally inferior beings and that the political system was exclusively the realm of men. The culture changed.

I mean the timeline over the last 40 years or so. You are correct that Japan was ahead of the curve in decriminalizing homosexual activity earlier than many other countries back in 1880.


The contexts are very dissimilar, the question is whether or not we can agree that we can describe one society as being “ahead of” or “behind” another on specific issues. Slavery is an extreme example that shows that we can agree on that terminology.

If we can’t agree to then apply that terminology to same sex marriage, it indicates that you see same sex marriage differently. As you say, in response to Brainspore calling it a civil rights issue:

I don’t know that it’s really that different a thing. It would be foolish to say that women having vs. not having the right to vote or own property is not a cultural difference. But it is also a rights issue and I’m comfortable saying that I think cultures that regard women as property instead of people have things wrong.

Marriage means different things to different cultures, and it means different things to different people. It certainly means different things to different subcultures in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, and there are those who are opposed to same-sex marriages even where it is legal. There are plenty of same-sex couples who have no interest in getting marriage (and plenty of heterosexual couples that don’t want to get married as well).

But if same-sex couples don’t want to get married in Japan, then why put in that line of code that checks for sex before allowing marriage? It should be unnecessary since they don’t want to get married anyway, should it not? And if there are same-sex couples that do want to get married, and the culture says that’s not right because it places the emphasis on the individual and not the society, that sounds like a very tired argument that we’ve heard here in the west as well.

Marriage is about community! (But people run off an elope and never speak to their families again)
Marriage is about children! (But people who can’t have children are still allowed to marry)

I know that I’ll never be able to remove my cultural blinders and really get what is going on in a different culture, but I honestly don’t understand how to duck the rights issue here.

You say “accepted” and Brainspore says “normalized.” I’m not sure quite what you mean, but what you obviously don’t mean is that homosexual relationships and people who wanted to have them were held in the same esteem and given the same importance and heterosexual relationships and people who wanted to have them. If they were, they would get married, just like the “normal” people do.


I’ve said in several ways that the issue is not even seen as one of civil rights here but as something that is alien to the culture. Bringing up race is again irrelevant since that is associated with a zeitgeist which simply did not and does not exist here to any meaningful degree.

Homosexuality was criminalized from 1772 to 1880 in Japan but aside from that eight year period it was and has been accepted as a relatively normal act. Again, totally different cultural context.

But that question itself depends on a cultural perspective.

Here for example there is no shame in going to a marriage broker and arranged marriages. I don’t know what percentage of marriages are not “romance” marriages but I know that the brokers are doing well enough to advertise in trains and on TV. Family continuity and duty to society are big historical factors here. A woman once told me that the idea is you can go have your fun but “don’t let your spirit float” meaning who you love is your business but don’t let that interfere with your obligations to family.

Accepted means just that, the existence was accepted as fact that same sex activity existed as an expression of human sexuality and during some historical periods was considered necessary and praised amongst certain classes.

See above. Who you love and who you marry may have nothing to do with each other. This was also accepted. I can’t speak for Brainspore but it seems they are expecting that their views should automatically apply globally as normative. I am merely presenting the idea that one set of ideas may not apply everywhere. To me this is not a radical or retrograde idea but that may be because I’ve lived outside the West for a very long time now and my views have changed since my youth.

And for that reason I completely understand why homosexual marriage has not been a normal part of many cultures (if any, I don’t know of any) before recently. But things have changed. I read an account a few years ago by a gay Indian man living in San Francisco. His parents had originally shunned him for being gay, but a few years later they were back in touch and didn’t care if he was gay, they just wanted to know when they were having grandchildren, he knew other Indian and Chinese people in the same situation.

Comparatively speaking, the idea of duty to family is so limited in many parts of the west that from some cultures it must look like it is gone entirely. But, simply put, the biology of family continuity is simply not the same any more. After all, I understand why people with no legs couldn’t get to fourth floors of buildings a hundred years ago, but now we build elevators. I wouldn’t think much of a cultural value of the importance of exercise as a reason to exclude people with mobility disabilities from large parts of society.

Like I said, if the issue was that homosexual people in Japan didn’t want to get married, then there would be no reason to even write the code in the game. This isn’t just a question of who we fall in love with, or marrying for love. If people of other generations were choosing my life partner based on some kind of compatibility or a business arrangement, and they knew my sexual orientation, why would they consciously choose to match me with a person of the sex I was not oriented towards? Isn’t that a recipe for misery for everyone? You talk about a culture of duty to family, but divorce rates are similar to those in Germany and France, and that’s a significant fraction of those in the US. If continuity of family is important, why make decisions that will maximize the chance of divorce? Or are the concepts of sex and marriage completely separate too?

We can frame the discussion however we want, but the brute fact is that people who are heterosexual have certain rights that people who are homosexual do not. The tide of history is not in favour of this arrangement. To call it “behind” is complete defensible.


You keep repeating that as if it was possible to draw a meaningful distinction between civil rights and culture.

Do you really believe that the idea of same-sex relationships being held in the same esteem as heterosexual relationships wasn’t something that was “alien to the culture” in most countries which now recognize such unions?


No, no game maker can accommodate everything and everyone. But this game maker went out of their way to dis-accommodate people; they could have simply not checked, and gay marriage would have been accommodated. It’s not like including polygamy, where they’d have to have data structures that can include more than one spouse per person. And apparently, according to some recent postings, it’s not preventing a crash (that was a different problem going on around the same time.) It was just rudeness.