Keynotes 2020

Hirokazu Hamamura (浜村 弘一)

Hirokazu Hamamura (浜村 弘一) is a Senior Advisor at Kadokawa Digital Entertainment and Vice President of the Japan E-Sports Union. He was born in Osaka in 1961 and Graduated at the Wasada University. He has been involved in the “Famitsu Weekly” game magazine since the first issue, in 1986 (at that time, “Famicom Tsūshin”). He was the editor-in-chief   of “Famitsu Weekly” editor-in-chief and  then President and CEO of Enterbrain Inc. After having served as a director of KADOKAWA, he is currently a senior advisor in charge of digital entertainment for the company. In addition, as a representative of the Famitsu Group, he analyzes trends in the game industry from various angles and writes columns. As a Vice President of the Japan E-Sports Union (JeSU), since January 2018, he is actively working to promote the esports industry in Japan and further grow and develop it. He also wrote the book Play games only – Games to play when raising a 12-year-old boy (『ゲームばっかりしてなさい。-12歳の息子を育ててくれたゲームたち-』) among others.

Susana Tosca

Susana Tosca is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Humanities at Roskilde University, Denmark. For the last 20 years, she has researched and published widely on the areas of digital culture, storytelling, computer games and transmediality. She is a co-founder of the journal Gamestudies and author of the books Literatura Digital (UNEX, 2003), Transmedial Worlds in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2019) and Understanding Videogames (Routledge 2008, 2012, 2015 and 2019), just released in its 4th edition.

Mediating the Promised Gameland

This lecture will take you on a trip to Japan as the promised gameland, a place of pilgrimage for gamers from all around the world, as seen through the lens of travel videoguides made by amateur commentators. The guides are paratexts that mediate game culture and breed spectacular expectations, promising to transform their audience from outsiders into insiders and assist them in their travels, be their real or imaginary. The lecture will be articulated around Tosca´s theoretical framework of transmedial experience and desire, to map how the immaterial pleasures of gaming get materialized into places, objects, bodies and events to be experienced and consumed. Besides building upon previous work in the field of game studies and Japanese popular culture, Tosca will draw on literature from audience and tourism studies, with concepts such as spectacle, ritual, or pilgrimage. Her methods include the analysis of a YouTube video corpus in English, Spanish, French and Danish and its commentary, autoethnographic material from her own fieldwork in Japan, as well as a series of short interviews with non-Japanese game visitors and would-be visitors.

Florent Gorges

Florent Gorges is the President of Omake Books Editions (France) and the co-founder of Pix’n Love Editions; he is a specialist in the history of Nintendo as well as a TV presenter, a translator and interpreter, a biographer of game developers and an author of documentaries about Japanese games

The first steps of Japanese esport

Competition has always been at the heart of gameplay in most video games. It is therefore hardly surprising that the first players sought to foster competition by organizing tournaments, meetings, and initiatives that today are considered as “first steps” in the history of esport. This paper will focus on these first attempts at “contests” and on the beginnings of esport in the early days of Japanese video games.

Call for Papers 2020 – Liège

The deadline for Replaying Japan 2020 – the 8th International Japan Game Studies Conference – has been postponed to March 13th!

Replaying Japan 2020: The 8th International Japan Game Studies Conference

Conference theme: “Ludolympics 2020”

Date: August 10-12, 2020

Location: University of Liège (7 Place du 20-Août, 4000 Liège, Belgium)

Proposals in Japanese are most welcome! 日本語での発表要旨も受け付けます。

Call for Papers

Since 2012, the Replaying Japan conference has hosted researchers from various fields conducting research on Japanese game culture. The eighth conference is being organized by the Liège Game Lab (a research group specialized in the study of video games as a cultural objects in French-speaking Belgium) in collaboration with the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies, the University of Alberta, the University of Delaware, Bath Spa University, Seijoh University and DiGRA Japan.

This year’s conference theme will be “Ludolympics 2020”. Particular attention will therefore be paid to the relationship between games and sport in Japan, to the Japanese esport scene and its cultural specificities (see Goto-Jones, 2016; Harper, 2014) and to competitive video game practices (Taylor, 2012 ; Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017 ; Witkowski, 2012 ; Besombes, 2016), but also, more generally, to the notion of video game performance and to the mediatization or spectacularization of this performance.

Through the prism of this theme, fundamental aspects of games and play will be questioned: the physicality of the playing practices, the place of competition in Japanese game culture, the role of rules and conventions in games and play (Salen and Zimmerman, 2004), as well as the possibilities of bypassing these rules (through cheating, for instance; Consalvo, 2009) or the spaces of appropriation that they allow (visible in the amateur practices, fan creations or doujin circles, among others).

Furthermore, esports are a common and robust entry point into the study of Japanese video games, their surrounding industry, their history, structuring, cultural variants (through the multiplicity of competitive game scenes, for example), and their surrounding economy. Competitive gaming has been an important vector for players’ professionalization and has led to the emergence of new figures in game culture: pro-players, commentators, streamers, video makers, speedrunners, specialized journalists, etc.

Beyond video game practices in the strict sense, the conference will thus focus on the different forms of mediatization of these practices inside and outside Japan. How are game performances commented, represented, transformed into spectacles? What media formats and discourses are being invented to promote them? What “paraludic” cultural practices are developing around these scenes and communities?

Lastly, the inclusion of (competitive) play in society and the many societal issues it raises must be questioned: the issue of the (in)accessibility of games (especially in the competitive field), the minority representation in this domain or the political tensions it harbors are topics that also deserve further attention.

Proposals that address these different issues are thus welcome, but these should not be understood in a restrictive sense. This conference focuses broadly on Japanese game culture, education, and industry. It aims to bring together a wide range of researchers and creators from many different countries to present and exchange their work. We therefore also invite papers on other topics relating to games, game culture, video games and education, and the Japanese game industry from the perspectives of humanities, social sciences, business, or education. We encourage poster/demonstration proposals of games or interactive projects related to these themes.


Submission Guidelines

Abstracts must be submitted through the platform EasyChair, following this link: <>

The deadline for Replaying Japan 2020 has been postponed: March 13, 2020

Notification of Acceptance: April, 2020

All papers must be original. The following paper categories are welcome:

  • Full papers, posters/demos and short papers: please send anonymized abstracts (pdf) of no more than 500 words in English or Japanese
  • Panels: panel proposals should have a maximum length of 1500 words, including a description of each presentation and a short biography of each participant; they can be submitted in English or Japanese

Figures, tables and references do not count toward the word limit.

Proposals in Japanese are most welcome! 日本語の発表要旨はrcgs[a]にご送付ください。詳しくはRCGSのウェブサイトをご覧ください


Contact Information

Fanny Barnabé <>




Works cited

Besombes N. (2016), Sport électronique, agressivité motrice et sociabilités, Doctoral thesis in Sports Sciences, Sorbonne Paris-Cité-University, France

Consalvo M. (2009), Cheating. Gaining Advantage in Videogames, Cambridge, MIT Press

Goto-Jones C. (2016), The Virtual Ninja Manifesto: Fighting Games, Martial Arts, and Gamic Orientalism, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield

Hamari J. and Sjöblom M. (2017), “What is eSports and why do people watch it?”, Internet research, vol. 27, n° 2, pp. 211-232

Harper T. (2014), The Culture of Digital Fighting Games: Performance and Practice, New York, Routledge

Salen K. and Zimmerman E. (2004), Rules of Play. Game Design Fundamentals, Cambridge, MIT Press

Taylor T.L. (2012), Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. Cambridge, The MIT Press

Witkowski E. (2012), “On the Digital Playing Field How We ‘Do Sport’ with Networked Computer Games”, Games and Culture, vol. 7, n° 5, pp. 349-374