Playable Love: Otome Games in Japan and China

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This thesis focuses on a niche game category - otome game, which originated in Japan and later became popular in China. Primarily targeted at a female audience, otome games depict an illusory world where the player assumes the role of a female protagonist and develops romantic relationships with male characters in the game. The thesis examines how otome games in Japan and China construct a female-oriented space by analyzing the gender roles and romantic attitudes represented in the game content such as game characters, narratives, and mechanics. In Japan, otome games often feature non-human or Jingai characters that distinguish them from regular male characters and experiment with more taboos. Taking a fox character, Saiga, as a case, I bring the anthropomorphism, animism, and feminist perspective to the discussion of cross-species love and shed light on Leticia Andlauer’s assumption about which otome games are safe for exploring sexuality. In China, the otome games market is relatively new. In order to understand gender roles portrayed in Chinese otome games, I discuss the representation of the female protagonist in Love and Producer under the narrative framework called “The Hero’s Journey.” Additionally, I explain how the game mechanics contribute to forming the female gaze, which is the reverse definition of the male gaze.

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65 pages


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Otome Game


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Union Local


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Campana, Andrew

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Admussen, Nicholas

Degree Discipline

Asian Studies

Degree Name

M.A., Asian Studies

Degree Level

Master of Arts

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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