chapter  2
Packaging the Past in Ōkami
WithRachael Hutchinson
Pages 23

This chapter examines Okami as a self-conscious export product which successfully appeals to players, with or without expertise in Japanese language, culture and history. The opening sequence of Okami takes the form of a picture scroll, unrolling from left to right. Jason Anthony interprets Okami as a didactic religious game, teaching the player about a religion foreign to their own. Marilyn Ivy has shown that late twentieth-century Japan was marked by a sense of loss, with an accompanying drive to recover the ever-receding, vanishing notion of ‘authentic culture’ through tourism, folklore studies, museum exhibits and advertising exhorting the consumer to find their true ‘self’ and sense of home. Keeping the Okami environment deliberately foreign and opaque gives a strong feeling of ‘Japanese product,’ which many non-Japanese players enjoy. Historically, the wolf has a strong connection with religion and spirituality in Japan.