Keynote and Schedule

All the information concerning the registration to the conference, as well as the links to the different platforms are available at the following address :



Given the restrictions associated with the COVID19 epidemic, the Replaying Japan 2020 conference will finally have to be held in an online format. The organizing committee is therefore currently defining a procedure for organizing an online conference that will offer all the contributions expected from this type of event, both scientifically and socially.

The medium and format of the conference will soon be specified in a later announcement. However, the following information may already be announced:

  • As the participants of Replaying Japan come from very distant time zones, the times when we will all be able to meet together live will be limited to three hours a day (i.e., from 14:00 to 17:00 – Belgian time). For this reason, we are going to slightly extend the duration of the conference: it will take place from 10 to 13 August (and no longer from 10 to 12 only).
  • Moreover, we will opt for a system where presentations will be made available in advance to all participants on a platform that will allow them not only to consult them, but also to open asynchronous discussions through forums. Participants and members of the public will be asked to consult the papers in advance and the time of the conference will be dedicated to live discussions and the broadcast of the keynote presentations.
  • Social activities will be organized in parallel to the conference to provide informal meeting moments between participants and members of the public.

We are aware that this is an important organizational change in comparison to how scientific gatherings usually take place, but we sincerely believe that the current situation can be an opportunity to develop and test innovative models of scientific exchange that will be as fruitful as the old ones, in their own way. We therefore hope that you will be willing to join in this collective experimentation!

Hoping this message finds you healthy and safe,

The organizing committee

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.



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 to March 13th! 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 <> @LiegeGameLab #replayingjapan

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


DAY 1 

AUGUST 10, 2020


Module 1: Keynote Speaker

Florent Gorges (President of Omake Books Editions) – The First Steps of Japanese Esport


Module 2: Birth and Development of Esport in Japan

Hiroyasu Kato (Kanto Gakuin University) – Infancy of eSports events in Japan

Yuhsuke Koyama (Shibaura Institute of Technology) and Akira Igarashi (Foundation for Multimedia Communication) – Why Japan has slowed the development of esports?

Akinori Nakamura (Ritsumeikan University) – Comparative Studies on the development of Esports industry- Japan, China and the USA


Module 3: Playing Environments and Game Spectatorship

Julie Delbouille (University of Liège) – The Professional Player, the Avatar and Me. How Game Spectatorship Reshapes our Relationship to Playable Figures

Vincenzo Idone Cassone (University of Turin) – No One Parries Forever: a Retro-comparative Analysis of EVO moment #37

Julien Bouvard (University Jean Moulin-Lyon 3) – Playing in front of a giant screen: Tsukuba Expo 85 ’and video games, the source of Japanese esports?

Bertrand Grimonprez (Catholic University of Louvain) – Sensory dimensions of arcades in Tokyo


Day 2

AUGUST 11, 2020


Module 4: Japanese Games, Society and Identities

Laurence Herfs (Leiden University) – Japanese nation branding in Atlus’ Persona V

Mikhail Fiadotau (Tallinn University) – Isolated Connectedness: Applying the Concept of Transinsularity to Japan’s Game History

Sélim Krichane (University of Lausanne) – Hideo Kojima as “Author” in the West: Towards a Historical and Discursive Analysis of Video Game Authorship

Nökkvi Jarl Bjarnason (University of Iceland) – Japan’s Hard(ware) Power: Consoles, Culture, and the Mass Appeal of Japanese Role-Playing Games


Module 5: Data-driven Historical Perspectives and State of the Japanese Video Game Industry

Martin Picard (University of Leipzig) – How Numbers Can Tell The Story: A Data-Driven Analysis of the Development of the Video Game Industry in Japan during the 1980s and 1990s

Kazufumi Fukuda (Ritsumeikan University) – A Development of LOD Dataset for Description of Video Game Resources

Keiji Amano (SEIJOH University) and Geoffrey Rockwell (University of Alberta) – Ethics and Gaming: Through the content analysis of the annual reports of the Japanese Game Industry

Martin Roth (Ritsumeikan University) – FromSoftware games between local and global: A data-centered analysis of the historical change in videogame production and distribution


Module 6: Amateur Scenes in Japan

Nobushige Kobayashi (Tohoku Gakuin University) and Yuhsuke Koyama (Shibaura Institute of Technology) – The Japan’s Hobbyist Video Game Production Field and its Impacts on the Game Industries in the 1990s

Alexandre Benod (University of Grenoble) – From Amateur to Pro: The French Trajectory of Japanese Fighting Games

Kieran Nolan (Dundalk Institute of Technology) – DIY Micro Arcades: Game Center Dioramas and Coin-Op Miniatures


Day 3

AUGUST 12, 2020


Module 7: Japanese Games and Affects

Hélène Sellier (University Paris Est Marne la Vallée) – Mobile otome games: desire and suspense as economic strategies

Luca Paolo Bruno (Leipzig University) – Intimate sporting: sports and sports-related themes within Japanese Character Intimacy Games

Joleen Blom (IT University of Copenhagen) – Your Fantasies are Quantified: Western Perspectives on Sex and Sexuality in Japanese Erotic Games

Leticia Andlauer (University of Lille) – When sport is a market targeted to female audiences: a study of gender representations in otome games and related productions


Module 8: Aesthetics, Contemplation and Narration in Japanese Games

Alexandre Paquet (University of Toronto) – Delivering Packages in Apocalyptic Times: Utopia and Collectives in Death Stranding

Paul-Antoine Colombani (University of Liège) – The poetic trial of Wander: case study of Wander and the Colossus

Gregory Blomquist (University of Alberta) and Braidon Schaufert (University of Alberta) – Playing Towards the Horizon: Spectacle and the Sublime in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Marcos Acevedo-Arús (Temple University) – What a Thrill: Opening Theme as Narrative in “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater”


Module 9: Meta Play and Competition

James Newman (Bath Spa University) – Running through code: Backwalking, Wrong Warping and the transformativity of The Ocarina of Time Any% speedrun

Alexandra Dumont (University of Quebec in Montreal) – “The Gacha Gods Were Good to Me Today!”: Game of Chance and the Desire to Perform in the Mobile Game GranBlue

Shunsuke Mukae (Ritsukmeika University) – Dark Meta Play and Ethics of Interface


Day 4 

AUGUST 13, 2020


Module 10: Keynote Speaker

Susana Tosca (Roskilde University) – Mediating the Promised Gameland


Module 11: Playing and Remixing Time and Culture

Tianyu Li (University of British Columbia) – Looking Back through the Eyes of Others: How Azur Lane Evades Controversies through Reconstructing Fragmented Memories of War

Marek Mikeš (Masaryk University) – A Classical Work in a Modern Medium: The Tale of Genji Gamified

Lars de Wildt (KU Leuven) – Opening my Shinto Box: The Mixing of Religions, Traditions and Fictions in JRPG


Module 12: Sociability in and Around Japanese Games

Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon, Alexandra Dumont, Antoine Jobin, Patrick Deslauriers and Maude Bonenfant (University of Quebec in Montreal) – “Finally! My first shiny!”: Social Media, Gameplay Mechanics and Production of the Self in #PokémonSwordShield on Twitter

Yuhei Ikeda, Taktoshi Honda, Jiro Nishida, Issho Takahashi and Shinya Saito (Ritsumeikan University) – Development of Geographic Information SNS Game to Promote Sharing of Cultural Resources of University

Miguel Cesar (Colegio Madrid) – Being Social in a Time of Loneliness: Animal Crossing and Bonding in Contemporary Japan