Last week, I wrote an article about some rando on Twitter who called the Tekken creators racists. Of course, given the “discourse” had following their claims, the clown couldn’t be taken seriously. That being said, there is something to say about how Tekken has represented characters backgrounds in the past. And Katsuhiro Harada wants to fix it.
Tekken director responds to tweet
On January 5th, Harada was responding to a tweet with regards to Native American representation in video games. While the tweet mentioned Julia from Tekken, Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat was also mentioned. The initial tweet was actually thanking Harada for including Julia in the game.
But what I like here is that Harada took the time to actually explain the thinking process behind Julia and her adoptive mother Michelle, who is of Native American and Chinese descent. He acknowledged that many people have brought up the characters’ designs to him and he “was a little distressed” after the stereotyping was brought to his attention.
Most of the feedback was received between Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. A Native American fan disliked Julia because of the feather headband that was given to her because it promoted stereotypes. He believes that designs that don’t fall into those stereotypes would be the “goal of conveying ‘the character’s personality, charm, and identity'” in longer games, but “probably not be achieved” in the limited time allotted for narrative development in fighting games.
However, he didn’t use that as an excuse. He went on to ask for help from the Native American community about properly representing them in going forward. He also stated that he has plenty of ideas for new Native American characters. They just have not “yet been realized” due to the feedback that was given to him.
While neither Michelle or Julia have been announced for Tekken 8, there is a possibility that they may show up as a DLC character. After all, Julia was DLC in Tekken 7.
All in all, this is an amazing way to own up to mistakes and try to right wrongs, unintentional or not.