“I am thou… Thou art I…”—How Persona 4’s Young Adult Fiction Communicates Japanese Values
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Life is Strange, INSIDE, Oxenfree—all these video games represent a seemingly entirely new genre. Young Adult videogames diverge from the male, gloomy grown-up stereotypes and replace them with adolescent protagonists in their coming of age stories. Their commercial success seem to validate their endeavors. However, YA narratives are hidden in plain sights for many years within JRPGs. Shin Megami Tensei – Persona 4 (short Persona 4 or P4) is a cultural ambassador. This paper examines how the game’s procedural rhetoric in combination with its Young Adult story advocate in favor of specific Japanese values. The time structure of P4 reinforces a longterm orientation and requires strategic planning as well as tactical flexibility. So-called “Social Links” represents Japan unique take on collectivism. Each link encapsulates a small YA narrative and offers different benefits to social-active protagonist. Finally, grinding mechanics reflect the notion of repetition-based learning. Japanese schools teach through engaging with developing several solutions to a singular problem. The same holds true for the grinding process. All these elements combined create a game rhetoric promoting these aspects of Japanese culture.
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