For as long as there have been Japanese role-playing games, there has been censorship.
Since the NES days, Nintendo and other big Japanese companies have been quick to stamp their big black bars on anything that might be considered offensive to American sensibilities: alcohol, religion, sex, octopus statues, whatever. And JRPGs have been the biggest victim of this misguided crusade.
There are tons of egregious examples. Dragon Quest's churches were transformed to Houses of Healing, perhaps because Nintendo believed that Americans do not go to church. During the Magicant sequence of Earthbound, during which our protagonist Ness is supposed to be totally nude, he got pajamas, perhaps because Nintendo believed that Americans do not get naked.