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Politician Made Anti-LGBTQ Comments On Dragon Quest Composer's TV Show

Illustration for article titled Politician Made Anti-LGBTQ Comments On iDragon Quest/i Composers TV Showem/em
Screenshot: Channel Sakura

Japanese politician Mio Sugita has made international news due to her anti-LGBTQ comments on a television show. The program is co-hosted by Koichi Sugiyama, who composes music for the Dragon Quest games.

This was pointed out by Twitter user Shaun Musgrave (via Duckroll at ResetEra):

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The network is very right-wing. The show isn’t mainstream, nor is it widely seen. Sugiyama’s work, however, is. This chyron lists him as Dragon Quest’s music composer as well as his political advocacy.

Illustration for article titled Politician Made Anti-LGBTQ Comments On iDragon Quest/i Composers TV Showem/em
Screenshot: Channel Sakura
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Below are some of Sugita’s comments. The clip has been subtitled and edited (you can see the full episode here). The voice you hear laughing along is Sugiyama’s.

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This isn’t in the above clip, but when saying that tax dollars shouldn’t go to gay couples, Sugita added, “This isn’t discrimination. This is differentiation.” (“Sabestsu jyanai desuyo ne. Kubetsu nan desu.”)

Sugiyama chimed in, “[It’s] differentiation.” (“Kubetsu.”)

Sugita has been heavily criticized for her remarks. The Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest papers, ran an editorial titled, “Sugita’s idiocy on LGBT rejected by society but not the LDP.” Sugita is a member of the LDP, or Liberal Democratic Party, which isn’t liberal, but rather, the country’s conservative ruling party.

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This isn’t the only time Sugita has been the center of controversy. Earlier this month, Sugita blamed the alleged rape of journalist Shiori Ito on “clear errors on her part as a woman — drinking that much in front of a man and losing her memory.”

If you are wondering about what kind of politician Sugita is, Temple University professor Michael Thomas Cucek has this explainer:

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This also isn’t the first time Sugiyama has been the center of controversy. The famed composer has been labeled a Japanese war crime denier. That might explain why he appears on a network that previously came under fire for a documentary claiming the Nanking Massacre did not happen.

Wonder what Square Enix thinks about all this.


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.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

At least as far as Sugiyama goes, this seems to be a pretty solid case of, “All your favorites are problematic.”

If dude legitimately holds the same views espoused by Sugita, then he’s at a minimum advocating for the kind of dehumanization of others that LGBTQ persons (and, really, anyone who has historically been part of marginalized minority groups, irrespective of sexual identity or orientation) have been dealing with since time out of mind, which makes him an asshat.

...it also makes wanting to pick up the new Dragon Quest when it hits US shores a little problematic; my individual purchase isn’t going to make a difference to SE’s coffers, but at the same time, if I really want to take any kind of stand on this, purchasing the product knowing the composer feels this way reflects on how strongly I value others who are not me.

I get that this may not be a problem for others, and that’s fine—no judgment (really, none). We have to be able to separate art from artist if we’re ever going to appreciate anything, because pretty much everyone who’s been involved in the creation of enduring work (whether it be written, musical, or visual art) has problems somewhere along the line. The expectation of moral perfection in another person is often a recipe for disappointment.

I’m going to have to think about this a bit. Honestly, I’ll probably still pick up the new Dragon Quest, but my enthusiasm is somewhat dulled by this news.

As for Sugita herself, when Cucek makes the point that she achieved her current position simply by dint of being where she was, when she was--and did not campaign/was not voted for--that explains a great deal.  If only our own homophobic/misogynistic/xenophobic/ethnocentrist politicians here in the US could be explained in the same fashion--rather than, y’know, having been voted into office by people who either agree with their views, or are willing to excuse them in favor of getting policies they want passed.