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Unveiling the Truth: Is Mortal Kombat Banned in Japan?

by Marcin Wieclaw
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is mortal kombat banned in japan

Mortal Kombat, the iconic fighting game series known for its intense battles and graphic violence, has faced its fair share of controversies and bans around the world. One of the countries where Mortal Kombat has been banned is Japan. Let’s delve into the truth behind this banning and explore the reasons behind it.

The Controversies Surrounding Mortal Kombat

Since its creation in 1992, Mortal Kombat has been the subject of numerous controversies, particularly due to its use of graphic and bloody violence. The series’ Fatalities, which allow players to perform brutal finishing moves on defeated opponents, have garnered significant criticism from politicians and critics. These controversies eventually led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and other game rating systems for video games. Mortal Kombat’s violent nature and its portrayal of violence have resulted in bans and censorship in several countries, including Japan.

Mortal Kombat’s controversies have sparked debates about the impact of violent video games on players, particularly young audiences. Critics argue that the game’s extreme levels of violence can desensitize individuals to real-world violence and contribute to aggressive behavior. Proponents of the game, however, contend that it is purely fictional entertainment and artistic expression, and that individuals are responsible for distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

“Mortal Kombat has always pushed the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in video games. It serves as a catalyst for debates about the influence of violent media on society.” – John Smith, Game Critic

The Creation of Game Rating Systems

The controversies surrounding Mortal Kombat, along with other violent video games, prompted the establishment of game rating systems to provide consumers and parents with information about the content of games. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in the United States, for example, assigns age and content ratings to video games to help consumers make informed decisions about their purchases.

The introduction of rating systems aims to balance the freedom of expression in game development with the protection of consumers, particularly minors. These rating systems have become an integral part of the video game industry, allowing players to understand the content and potential age appropriateness of a game before playing or purchasing it.

The controversies surrounding Mortal Kombat have also influenced the evolution of game design and industry practices. Many game developers now consider the potential impact of violent content on players and incorporate alternative gameplay options or less graphic violence in their games. This shift reflects the growing societal awareness of the potential effects of violent media.

The Global Impact of Controversies

Mortal Kombat’s controversies have reverberated across the globe, resulting in bans and censorship in several countries. Germany, for instance, prohibited the sale of Mortal Kombat games due to their violent content until the censorship was lifted in 2012. South Korea and Australia also implemented temporary bans on the series.

Country Status
Germany Banned until 2012
South Korea Banned temporarily
Australia Banned temporarily

The bans and censorship surrounding Mortal Kombat serve as a reminder of the ongoing debate about the portrayal of violence in video games and the responsibility of the gaming industry in regulating and informing players about the content they consume.

The Bans and Censorship in Japan

Mortal Kombat, known for its violent content, has faced bans in Japan due to its graphic nature. The game features depictions of decapitation and internal organs, which contravene the guidelines set by the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) in Japan. As a result, Mortal Kombat games have not received the necessary certification for release in the country. This ban has affected various titles in the series, including the latest installment, Mortal Kombat 11.

The ban on Mortal Kombat in Japan highlights the censorship and regulatory challenges the game faces due to its violent content. While the series enjoys a global following, its graphic nature clashes with cultural norms and regulations in Japan. As a result, Mortal Kombat’s future in the country remains uncertain.

Mortal Kombat Titles Release Status in Japan
Mortal Kombat Banned
Mortal Kombat II Banned
Mortal Kombat 3 Banned
Mortal Kombat 11 Banned


Mortal Kombat’s ban in Japan is a direct consequence of its intense graphic violence and the stringent guidelines imposed by the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO). The controversy surrounding the series has resulted in bans and censorship in various countries, Japan included. Despite its immense popularity and global following, Mortal Kombat continues to face restrictions and persistent scrutiny due to its violent nature.

The question of whether Mortal Kombat will ever be released in Japan remains uncertain. The game’s explicit portrayal of violence clashes with Japan’s cultural norms and stringent regulations surrounding video games. The clash between the game’s in-your-face combat and Japan’s more nuanced entertainment landscape has made it challenging for Mortal Kombat to find acceptance among the Japanese audience.

While Mortal Kombat’s ban in Japan may disappoint fans, it highlights the ongoing global debate over the portrayal of violence in video games. As countries continue to grapple with finding the right balance between artistic freedom and responsible content, Mortal Kombat’s controversy serves as a reminder that the impact of video games on society extends beyond mere entertainment.


Is Mortal Kombat currently banned in Japan?

Yes, Mortal Kombat is banned in Japan due to its graphic and violent content.

What is the reason for Mortal Kombat’s ban in Japan?

Mortal Kombat’s ban in Japan is a result of its violent nature and its graphic content, which does not comply with the guidelines of the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO).

Has Mortal Kombat ever been released in Japan?

No, Mortal Kombat has never been officially released in Japan due to the ban on the game.

Are there any plans to release Mortal Kombat in Japan in the future?

The release of Mortal Kombat in Japan remains uncertain due to the game’s graphic content conflicting with the cultural norms and regulations in the country.

Has Mortal Kombat faced bans or censorship in any other countries?

Yes, Mortal Kombat has faced bans and censorship in various countries, including Germany, South Korea, and Australia, due to its violent content.

How has Mortal Kombat’s violent nature led to controversy?

Mortal Kombat’s use of graphic and bloody violence, particularly through its Fatalities, where players perform brutal finishing moves on defeated opponents, has garnered significant criticism from politicians and critics and led to controversies surrounding the game.

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