Is calling 'Final Fantasy XVI' a Japanese RPG discriminatory?

The game's developers believe the term JRPG is often used to dismiss their games as 'not real RPGs'. Are they right?

Sajid Khan
Published : 16 March 2023, 01:55 PM
Updated : 16 March 2023, 01:55 PM

Japanese role-playing games, called JRPGs, were the face of console video games in the 90s as Final Fantasy VII helped Sony's PlayStation conquer the market and Pokemon kicked off what is still, today, the highest-grossing media franchise of all time.

But, as Western RPGs like The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimMass Effect, and The Witcher 3 grew in popularity, JRPGs took a backseat in the minds of many gamers.

Naoki Yoshida, the producer of the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, said he didn't want the game to be referred to as a JRPG in a recent interview with YouTube channel Skill-Up.

Michael Christopher Koji Fox, the lead translator for the game and Yoshida's interpreter, said:

"One thing [Yoshida] wants to get across is that when we create games, we don't go into them thinking we are creating JRPGs, we are just creating RPGs. The term JRPG is used by Western media rather than users and media in Japan."

"This is going to depend on who you ask, but there was a time when this term first appeared 15 years ago, and for us as developers the first time we heard it, it was like a discriminatory term. As though we were being made fun of for creating these games, and so for some developers the term JRPG can be something that will maybe trigger bad feelings because of what it was in the past. It wasn't a compliment to a lot of developers in Japan."

Is JRPG a dismissive and negative term, and should we stop using it? Two fans of the genre from the Stripe staff sat down to discuss:

This article is part of Stripe,'s special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.