From J-Horror to Slots: Japan’s Global Appeal
Once upon a time, you could ask anyone if they’d seen the film The Ring in the western world and they’d normally respond: “The American one of the Japanese one?” The original Japanese film, 1998’s Ringu was cited by many as the scariest film to ever exist. As such, the film gained an American remake with 2002’s The Ring and catapulted the trend of J-horror. But just how influential is Japan when it comes to entertainment across the Pacific Ocean?
J-horror gained popularity due to the differences ingrained in the genre itself. Western horror, since the 1960s, was characterized by the teenagers in the films and the voyeuristic viewpoint we were given as they were stalked by Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, or Ghostface. The films were an analysis of society and youth culture, aimed to terrify the young people who went to see the films. J-horror takes a different tack, so presented films that were actually scary.
The films were populated with psychological horror and focused on the supernatural to a greater degree, as well as veering towards the implausible as with Battle Royale and Audition. As a lot of the horror in J-horror comes from cultural phenomena such as exorcisms, they helped usher in a new era of film that could be clever with horror. Comparing Ringu, which is multi-layered and psychologically smart, as well as scary, to the umpteenth installment in the Friday the 13th series, isn’t a fair comparison to the resident of Camp Crystal Lake.
It isn’t just the cinema that has taken the themes of Japan and presented them to new audiences. The online casino industry leaves no stone unturned when it scours the world for themes for slot games. These themes are able to give players a taste of another culture, transport them somewhere else, and use customs and traditions of these cultures to help bolster the gameplay.
When you play casino games at Paddy Power, for example, you can choose from slot games that are themed around Japan, such as the Japanese Mystery game that invites you to spin to solve the riddle posed by a geisha and the 15 Samurai slot that takes the theme of the Samurai. The western view of Japanese culture is steeped in tradition, with elements such as geishas and samurai being popularized through film and TV. So, to engage with online casino games that give us a deeper look at them, shows just how inspirational Japanese culture is in western modes of entertainment.
Having such a notable culture and a recognizable set of iconography, imagery, and ideals helps cement Japan as a solid theme. So, by taking Japanese horror films and turning them into western versions, we are able to take away some of the elements that cause the frights and adapt them to make them scary to other audiences. When it comes to selecting Japanese themes for slot games, the audience is primed to engage as many want to know more about these other cultures.