Japan stays alive through video games

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Despite economic stagnation, Japan's cultural legacy lives on through video games!

The art world often serves as the best mirror of a society, be it local, national or even global. The popularization and subsequent elitization of artistic expressions throughout, for example, the history of England during the Modern Age and the Greek plays, which make use of mythological and real characters interacting to deal with the origins of city-states in the Ancient Age, they are great reflections of the moment in which these peoples were in a certain historical period.

This is even registered in the ways in which the arts are expressed. In Brazil, one of the best examples comes from the Northeast, with cordel literature, where small poetry books printed in pocket-sized pamphlets are sold in northeastern squares. Thanks to their low cost, such texts are sold at very modest prices, thus popularizing local culture beyond the borders of the city or state – as shown by the success of the work Compadecida's car, by Ariano Suassuna, who is clearly inspired by the cordel culture.

In Japan, something similar is also seen, especially with the country's mass consumption culture. From manga, which are inspired by ancient Japanese arts, to video games developed in the territory, the arts created there are often a portrait of what the country is experiencing at the time the product is released to the general public.

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Fighting games may seem like an unusual example, but that's not the case. At its emergence, during the 1970s in the United States, martial arts films that came from China, Japan and the USA were starting to become popular. To ride the wave of this success, the video game industry embarked on the trend and started to develop games that are a reference to this day. And Japan, known for perfecting foreign creations in hardware or software, did the same with the Street Fighter series, which went on to become one of the biggest video game successes in history.

It was with the release of Street Fighter II, in 1991, that the “game turned”, with fighting games reaching their peak of popularity. Until today, the success bears fruit, since different platforms started to offer products related to the theme, some of them being iPhone cell phones and contemporary consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch.

Japan stays alive through video games
Nintendo Switch - by Nintendo

In addition, the iGaming industry has also piggybacked on the franchise's popularity, with some industry portals offering a Street Fighter II-inspired slot. Case visit this site here, you can access some of the mentioned portals. And the most interesting thing is that the game, once inspired by action and fight movies, ended up becoming a cinematic piece itself, with the movie Street Fighter - The last battle having been released in the 1990s and starring the likes of Raúl Julia and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

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The success of Street Fighter II turns out to be a reflection of Japan's status within the geopolitical context, with the country being seen as the future great power of the world to continually rival the United States. However, problems of political and economic conduct ended up taking the country off this path. Gradually, it lost ground in the continental context to China and South Korea, which are now considered the great forces in the ascendancy on the world stage in terms of economy and culture.

Since the 1990s, Japan has been experiencing a certain stagnation. However, despite this, the country has maintained its position of “hegemonic culture”, since manga, anime and video games are still phenomena that go beyond the numerous enclaves of lovers of Japanese culture around the world. Games from franchises like Pokémon, Final Fantasy and Street Fighter are always top sellers in the gaming market when new versions are released.

Therefore, Japan's cultural legacy remains present even with the country's geopolitical situation being weakened. As with so many other “potential world powers” and countries that have become powers over time, political-economic power may even be lost in time, but art remains.

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