Friday, June 30, 2017

Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory & Shin Megami Tensei: Pseudohistorical Fantasies into Anti-Semitic Nightmares

"...We used the Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestor Theory as the base." -Yusuke Miyata, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse scenario writer (source)

"If we were to follow the theory that the [Japanese] Imperial Family is part of the Hebrew lineage, then [Masakado] would also become the one who opposed the Jews. The imperfect hero, so to speak. It would be cool if that kind of man existed."  -Kazuma Kaneko, series artist and creative director (source)

Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is the most important idea in Shin Megami Tensei you've never heard of.  Its nature is self-evident, proposing that the Japanese are secretly descended from an ancient tribe of Israel. It sounds crazy, but it's no theory that its ideas have received some serious endorsements from Atlus staff, from a series scenario writer all the way up to top dog Kazuma Kaneko himself.

This article promises to be the most in-depth investigation possible of Shin Megami Tensei's usage of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory--including a dark side of anti-Semitism, as alleged by the title. But even as the series shoots itself in the foot with its handling of certain matters, SMT's application of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is surprisingly broad and deserving of the diverse range of discussion topics contained within, including:

  • The history of the theory and its main arguments, as pertaining to SMT
  • Elucidating the series' portrayal of YHVH
  • The supernatural force that actually powers demon summoning in the series
  • The significance of Nocturne's Baal Avatar
  • Why certain Japanese demons are Jewish
  • Explanations of some of Kaneko's weirder comments
  • Why Raidou Kuzunoha actually serves YHVH 
  • And of course, a full analysis of the anti-Semitic themes that emerge from misuse of the theory
This is a huge subject, the revelations of which have huge ramifications for Shin Megami Tensei and Atlus. It is unlikely you will view SMT the same way again after discovering how the theory permeates myriad aspects of the series both anticipated and unanticipated. To know Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is to understand Shin Megami Tensei's inner workings!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Taira no Masakado: History vs. Legend (vs. Lemon)

Taira no Masakado has been variously depicted as an iron giant, a rebellious demon worthy of divine retribution, a vengeful floating head, a cosmic deity, and the bellwether of Tokyo's fortunes. All of these fantastical descriptions speak to a grand personality of great importance, but what of the historical Masakado, the 10th century samurai? What exactly did he do to deserve such mythical aggrandizement?

And because of Masakado's prominence in Shin Megami Tensei, it's useful, even essential, to survey the beheaded samurai's biography and the superstitions that quickly surrounded his posthumous image. Though not meant to be comprehensive, the following examination of his fabled life nonetheless reveals where the lines are drawn between Masakado the man and Masakado the angry spirit of folklore and SMT--plus a little "extra," let's say. Bottom line: You just can't keep a good samurai lich down.