Nintendo doesn’t allow partners to work with (checks notes) the Yakuza

Matt Schimkowitz
·2 min read
Yakuza cosplayers
Yakuza cosplayers

Going to work for a corporate entity with a shiny image like Nintendo requires some sacrifice. Many companies, including those in the entertainment industry, require morality clauses. These rules bar participants from acting in a way that the company finds inappropriate in a way that can hurt their product. Generally speaking, the more squeaky clean the company, the more intense the morality clause. For example, when Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and several other swimmers allegedly vandalized a gas station bathroom in Rio de Janeiro, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming banned Lochte from competing for 10 months. The Olympics may not want some hotshot gas station bathroom vandal in the pool. But what Nintendo has going on is on another level.

Yesterday morning, Axios games reporter Stephen Totilo tweeted images of a heavily-redacted contract from the ongoing Epic Games vs. Apple trial, which featured a section on “Boryokudan” or Anti-Societal Forces. What are those forces? If you guessed pregnant Luigi fan art, you are dead wrong. Nintendo bans its Japanese partners from working with organized crime syndicates, such as the Yakuza. Additionally, the document states that content providers in Japan may not “make violent demands,” “use threat or violence in connection with transactions,” or spread “false rumors, using fraud or force.” Forget about edge-lord social media posts. Nintendo’s got bigger fish to fry, like keeping the Yakuza out of the Mushroom Kingdom.

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As for those Yakuza games that still aren’t available on Nintendo platforms, IGN notes that content providers are not barred from making games about organized crime. However, Yakuza executive director Toshihiro Nagoshi once said that he doesn’t think Nintendo is the place for the game because it’s for kids and teens. It’s still unclear if he knows that many kids and teens also play violent video games.