Fat Princess Banned in Japan for Having Only Four Fingers


Fat Princess, a charmingly bloody multiplayer PS3 “capture the princess” game, was set to be belatedly released in Japan as “Pocchari Princess,” but that release has been cancelled and delayed indefinitely – allegedly due to complaints over the fact that characters depicted only have four fingers.

Some explanation is in order – the issue derives from claims of discrimination by the hypersensitive descendents of Japan’s “burakumin” caste. In the Edo period, these were families forced to live as “untouchables” in special villages and ghettos as they worked in professions, such as tanning or undertaking, considered “unclean” in Shinto.

Such peoples were subjected to heavy legal and social discrimination, and although the caste was abolished in 1871 as part of the Meiji reforms, the discrimination lingers on to this day, with some people, predominantly in the Kansai region, still attempting to ensure their families do not marry the descendents of the burakumin by way of clandestine and illegal ancestry checks.

The burakumin reaction against this has seen the issue given virtual taboo status, along the same lines as racism in the west. The same reaction has also seen plenty of “anti-discriminatory” complaints and legal activity on their part, and it is here that the matter intersects with Fat Princess of all things.

“Yotsu,” “four,” is supposedly used by some blighted individuals as a discriminatory term for burakumin, and this has led to excessively sensitive burakumin activists attacking what they consider discriminatory usage of the number “four” – a variety of anime and manga have been forced to redraw characters to have five fingers based on such complaints:


Even the cover for the Japanese release of Left 4 Dead had to be replaced as it “looked as though” it the zombie hand had four fingers.


The issue now arises with Fat Princess, which has finger deficient characters:


A gameplay video for those curious about the game itself, which is incidentally generally considered to be rather good:

Most Japanese likely have no idea this “taboo” even exists, and it is magnificently obvious that developers Titan Studios, situated in the USA, could never have intended this as an attack on burakumin.

Still, the demands of political correctness being what they are, the game has had its imminent November release indefinitely delayed whilst replacement art is secured.


Adding irony is the fact that the game actually uses Japanese style moe visuals, and to good effect – doubtless the illustrators will be lamenting their failure to completely copy the style and give the characters the proper number of fingers, as it now transpires there was a “good” reason not to omit the extra digit…

This is not the first time the game’s content has been subjected to such criticism – cantankerous feminists previously criticised its theme of feeding princesses cake in order to fatten them up, which has the in-game effect of making the princess so heavy that only a team of players can drag her from her prison.

Nobody took any notice, although had it been a Japanese game being attacked by US critics perhaps they would

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    Comment by Anonymous
    01:21 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You know, these IDIOTS who find something like a NUMBER offensive need to have a big foot put up their butts and be told where they can go!

    It's about time that this political correctness bull went the way of the dodo.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:29 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Man get over it. This is ridiculous to the max.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:14 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    And no country is free from the evils of political correctness.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:58 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm still trying to understand the way some stuff works in Japan...
    What seems to happen to me is that people, minority or not, can have a very loud voice in the politic scenario when it comes to taboos.
    But overall, the people are very open and far less moralist than western countries.

    Some random weird stuff that comes from this:
    1. geniatlia censoring at this day and age;
    2. how fast rape games where censored after the first polemics about it were raised (something that unfortunately also shows how influencial the western opinnion can also be in japanese politics);
    3. This case.

    But anyways, thanks for the article Artefact... if it wasn't for this, I would never have known about the existence of such a tabboo.

    I guess it's good that the government is paying attention even for minorities, but it's pretty clear that the japanese government needs urgently of some spine. The need to think more about making fair and correct decisions and stop just doing what people think it's right for them to do.

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    01:03 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It looks fun.

    Avatar of ----
    Comment by ----
    02:03 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I thought THAT was a Japanese game, so was like "Japan banning their own game? Weird." Ironic how western games are now the ones getting the ax by Japanese censors.

    As for the main issue:

    Reacts to "burakumin" sensitivities; keeps discriminating against racial minorities and women.

    Ah, Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:22 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Goku has six fingers on the manga cover.

    Comment by Shalala
    02:18 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Dude they don't know what they are missing. This game is great

    Avatar of Dirty_Dingus008
    Comment by Dirty_Dingus008
    02:15 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Truly, what the FuCk?!

    'The Simpsons' has been airing in Japan since it came out back in the '80s! Outside of that one Halloween episode, every Fucking character has had FOUR fingers and now. Now they be bitching about a foreign game trying to release their game there?!

    Nippons are truly xenophobic little whores.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:06 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Funny how "burakumin" closely sounds like "black men", seeing as they are/were both major targets of discrimination.

    Comment by HyperKnuckles99
    02:11 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I didn't even realise they only had four, something I don't understand is why is it so hard for some creators to put five fingers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:39 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    doesn't The Simpson play in Japan even though they have 4 finger?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:49 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    OK so they are not a number but a free man (4 points to those who got the reference) and 6 fingers are ok in anime 4 bad in games.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:48 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i only need one finger to tell you what i think.

    Avatar of Danielnoctis
    Comment by Danielnoctis
    22:37 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    always thought of missing fingers in regards to yakuza.

    Avatar of Smiling Jack
    Comment by Smiling Jack
    22:40 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This article actually had me yell out in my room "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!"

    Avatar of Icy-nee-san
    Comment by Icy-nee-san
    00:04 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is a sad day for the people who don't get to play this game, because its pretty freakin awesome to play :D

    Avatar of Kinny Riddle
    Comment by Kinny Riddle
    23:57 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Makes you wonder how Walt Disney got away with importing all those atrocious characters in Japan. And in Tokyo Disneyland especially.

    Granted, political correctness has its pros and cons. And most of the time it actually improves people's attitudes towards others, but seriously, some of this "over-correctness" is going over people's heads that they think every meaning that sounds offensive is considered an attack on them.

    They only need to use a bit of common sense to realize that it was hardly intentional.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    lmao so i think mini ninjas will also never come out over in japan as all the characters only have 4 fingers wtf....

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:53 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    One of the (notably) few games on PSN worth the download. Even just the demo is going to provide you with some fun.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:38 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    ... *twitch*
    Alright that has to be some kind of bull**** right there.
    Its only four fingeres.
    seriously they need to chose better targets
    Techniqly they might have gotten the Naruto series as well, ever notice how some of the frogs have 5 "fingeres"?
    And shouldn't they have gotten over that already?
    I, the poster, am a black guy. And as a member of the black community we chose our targets for discrimination carfuly, its not like. "OMG he said the N word!" and immediatly bring out the sure happy hammer. We know what happened over here was terrible and unforgiving. But do we ban things every blink of a eye? No.
    If they are gona turn around on the heel at every 4 thing in Japan they better chose better targets than a game where the players will be more focused on gameplay than a simple thing like fingers, if your gona make a point with the 4 thing do something bigger.

    Avatar of zeeohsix
    Comment by zeeohsix
    16:02 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    imagine if they had 5 fingers...


    Comment by Anonymous
    13:53 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    PC Nazis are completely insane. And they have a much better chance of people bowing down to their bizarre demands than the the equally demented Safety Nazis and Food Nazis, so they are certainly more pestilent.
    Although, it can be entertaining when two such groups clash due to mutually incompatible demands.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:38 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So Simpsons and Futurama are both banned then? Sure;y that can't be true.

    Overactive anti-racism reactions are stupid and moronic, There's tons of stuff like that in the US where Everything has to be 'politically correct' even though the people themselves dont care that much. this is truely pathetic...

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    13:05 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Now I understand why they gave Suigintou six fingers. They can't get sued if they drew one more than one less.

    Avatar of Takoto
    Comment by Takoto
    09:51 21/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, certainly wasn't expecting that...

    Avatar of Ruka
    Comment by Ruka
    22:06 06/12/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No way! I play Fat Princess but on the English version.
    So sad.
    Playing FP is fun. =)))

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:18 22/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wacky Jappies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:04 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    reading this just made my IQ drop....

    Avatar of OTIKA
    Comment by OTIKA
    08:30 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Coming to think of it, it's a classic case of "It's only taboo when you mentioned that it is".

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    05:14 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This has happened in the past, with the Oddworld games: http://www.oddworld.com/ow_ask.shtml

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:34 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Doesn't Mickey Mouse only have 4 fingers......

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    05:19 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    According to the comments of Oddworld's staff (right below), whoever pays them enough dough will keep their right to unintentionally discriminate these people.

    Avatar of Random Guy
    Comment by Random Guy
    04:22 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Everyone does have 4 fingers and a thumb.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:58 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Silly Japs, American cartoons almost always have 4 fingers. It's stupid to get upset over it in manga, even stupider to expect foreign-made products to respect such an obscure taboo.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:05 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    We are talking about a country selling panties in vending machines, but that doesn't allow uncensored porn. The people of japan are so stupid, maybe a third nuke would wake them up.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:58 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So... I'm unsure. Why four fingers? Is it because those jobs like slaughterer, tanner etc. were likely to accidentally lob off a finger?

    Avatar of Yangth
    Comment by Yangth
    07:25 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just say it and get it out in the open: "NO FAT CHICKZ PLZ!"

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:52 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So is Simpsons banned in Japan as well?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:49 20/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    It reminds me of the people in my Spanish class a few years ago that were uncomfortable because the color black is negro in Spanish.

    This is as silly as many games and television shows feeling they need a requisite amount of different races to be politically correct.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:56 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    lmao retarded.. anyways this game is fucking stupid who would even pay/play this crap -.-;

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:10 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So does that mean the Simpsons is not allowed in Japan, as all those characters are drawn with 4 fingers?

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:01 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    people really need to get over old stuff. Otherwise they will bring negative attention to themselves and their cause.

    not everything in the world rotate around these people, so they shouldn't take offense in unrelated matter that were made by people who never even new that they existed.

    oh well,

    in very unrelated news,

    * PS3: 48,925, (36,061)
    * DSi: 37,421 (37,517)
    * PSP: 33,784 (34,911)
    * Wii: 31,810 (28,888)
    * PSPgo: 13,992 (29,109)
    * DS Lite: 5,515 (6,902)
    * X360: 4,679 (6,047)
    * PS2: 2,066 (1,966)

    PS3 have out sold the xbox260 almost 10 to 1 in the previous week in Japan

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:02 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    err.... that was "knew that they existed" and not "new that they existed"

    sorry about the typo

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:09 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Aaaaand ??? Who cares about japans sales ?? UK itself is a bigger market than Japan :] .

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:15 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    fine then, just remove 1 more finger to become 3 and we're good to go.

    or just remove all fingers, (doraemon).

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:22 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    THIS. IS. MADNESS!!! Seriously, who still give a fuck about those old discriminatories shits? Banning a video game just for it is completely dumb!

    Avatar of Genius
    Comment by Genius
    18:57 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sooo no Simpsons memorabilia or shows are allowed in Japan, am I correct?

    Avatar of Kyon Theorist
    Comment by Kyon Theorist
    18:38 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You know I'm all for people feeling the need to fight discrimination but when you feel a number is discriminatory and see discrimination whenever that number is used for something maybe you need to take a step back and ask yourself if you are retarded.

    Avatar of Canti
    Comment by Canti
    20:27 19/11/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Go to your nearest trainstation and check if any of them skipped the number 13 chances are high they have. (same goes for airports)

    It also happns in our western world but for japan i seem to learn new meanings behind every number every other week. I could understand boycotting 2 or 3 numbers total but they are indeed taking it to extreme levels.

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