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Chappie Censored in Japan, Director Wasn't Told

Illustration for article titled iChappie/i Censored in Japan, Director Wasnt Told
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

When Chappie was released in the U.S., it was a R-rated film. But for the movie’s upcoming Japanese release, Sony decided to edit the film for kids 12 years-old and up. Here’s where things get really awkward.

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Sony Pictures Japan issued a statement about re-editing the movie to give it a more family-friendly rating of PG-12, which is similar to the American PG-13 rating. (For more on Japanese movie ratings, read this.)

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[via Sony Pictures Japan]

One big takeaway is that Sony Pictures Japan claims that the film’s director has approved of the changes. Blomkamp is not specifically named, and the release simply says “kantoku” (監督) or “director.” The other big takeaway is “to appeal to a wider audience.”

Twitter user Tak ST has translated the entire release into English, adding footnotes for further explanation:

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[Photo: Tak ST]

Since Sony Pictures Japan isn’t disclosing the edits and since the movie hasn’t opened in Japan yet, it’s impossible to say how the film was censored. ParentPreviews.com has a list of the movie’s adult content, so you can draw your own conclusions as to what has been toned down for Japan.

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Upset, fans contacted Blomkamp via Twitter, telling them that they didn’t want to see a censored version of the movie in Japan. Blomkamp, however, seems to be hearing about these cuts for the first time.

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Blomkamp wrote it was “disturbing” that Sony is saying he approved of the cuts. “Well,” he added, “if they did indeed change the edit then yes they lied.”

Chappie will open in Japan on May 23. As Sony Pictures stated in its release, there are no plans currently for the movie’s original version to be released in Japan.

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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DISCUSSION

shippoyasha
Shippoyasha

“Appealing to a wider audience”. Yeah. No. That’s a good old buzzword they use to justify controlling content and making sure they wield the ratings boards as a cudgel for censorship. It means nothing in the context of making it for a ‘wider audience’. The restrictions are there because of the censor boards to begin with. I can’t think of kids actually running around saying ‘I wish it was less violent’. Even for parents, if they already don’t want kids watching violent stuff, I doubt a little censorship will be the thing that convinces them.

Ratings boards have become a self fulfilling prophecy these days. It doesn’t seem to properly react and put a disclaimer. It just creates a fantasy land of censorship politics.