As pointed out on NeoGAF, the invading giant ants and spiders in Earth Defense Force 5 are called “immigrants.”
With the recent refugee crisis and anti-immigrant attitudes worldwide, this might not be the best word choice. It’s understandable why people outside Japan might wonder about this naming.
It’s also understandable that Japanese game developers might not have the best grasp on English-language nuances.
Then again, if you’ve been following Japanese news coverage, you’ll know that the Japanese word imin (移民), meaning “immigrant” (though, it can also mean “emigrant” as well as “settler”) has been used in regards to what’s been happening in Europe and the United States. Here’s how the Google Image results look for the word:
The word “nanmin” (難民) has also appeared in the news recently. Imin (immigrant) and nanmin (refugee) obviously have different meanings in Japanese like they do in English.
It’s worth noting that according to a 2015 Asahi Shimbun poll of around 2,000 Japanese citizens, 51 percent supported expanding immigration, while 34 percent said they did not. (You can read more here.)
Another thing to keep in mind is that when Japanese people hear “immigrant” (イミグラント or imiguranto), many people will not know what it means, because it’s not a well-known English word. Have a look at its Google Image results:
That’s why Japanese players might associate it with these enemies instead of, you know, actual immigrants.
In a recent article, Japanese game site Famitsu explained the meaning to readers, writing, “The name of the extra terrestrials this time around is ‘Immigrant.’ In Japanese, that means imin (移民), and these life-forms are planning to immigrate on Earth.”
They were localized as “The Ravagers” in English.
Likewise, “Immigrant” will probably get another name in English with less baggage.
In case you missed it, check out Kotaku’s Earth Defense 5 impressions from the Tokyo Game Show.
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