Friday, June 30, 2017

Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory & Shin Megami Tensei: Pseudohistorical Fantasies into Anti-Semitic Nightmares


"...We used the Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestor Theory as the base." -Yusuke Miyata, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse scenario writer (source)

"If we were to follow the theory that the [Japanese] Imperial Family is part of the Hebrew lineage, then [Masakado] would also become the one who opposed the Jews. The imperfect hero, so to speak. It would be cool if that kind of man existed."  -Kazuma Kaneko, series artist and creative director (source)


Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is the most important idea in Shin Megami Tensei you've never heard of.  Its nature is self-evident, proposing that the Japanese are secretly descended from an ancient tribe of Israel. It sounds crazy, but it's no theory that its ideas have received some serious endorsements from Atlus staff, from a series scenario writer all the way up to top dog Kazuma Kaneko himself.


This article promises to be the most in-depth investigation possible of Shin Megami Tensei's usage of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory--including a dark side of anti-Semitism, as alleged by the title. But even as the series shoots itself in the foot with its handling of certain matters, SMT's application of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is surprisingly broad and deserving of the diverse range of discussion topics contained within, including:

  • The history of the theory and its main arguments, as pertaining to SMT
  • Elucidating the series' portrayal of YHVH
  • The supernatural force that actually powers demon summoning in the series
  • The significance of Nocturne's Baal Avatar
  • Why certain Japanese demons are Jewish
  • Explanations of some of Kaneko's weirder comments
  • Why Raidou Kuzunoha actually serves YHVH 
  • And of course, a full analysis of the anti-Semitic themes that emerge from misuse of the theory
This is a huge subject, the revelations of which have huge ramifications for Shin Megami Tensei and Atlus. It is unlikely you will view SMT the same way again after discovering how the theory permeates myriad aspects of the series both anticipated and unanticipated. To know Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is to understand Shin Megami Tensei's inner workings!


A Brief History of Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory



Before we get to the "evidence" cited by supporters of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory (hereafter referred to as JJCAT, for my sanity and yours), a brief history of the idea is in order, to establish the caliber of thought we're dealing with here. As stated, the basic assertion of JJCAT is that a Lost Tribe (or Tribes) of Israel made its way to Japan where these peoples disseminated their Hebraic culture and established the Japanese imperial line. It is, essentially, the stuff of fringe theories and selective interpretations.


McLeod's Epitome
The development of JJCAT itself is probably more interesting than the turgid claims of its proponents. Though there are some limited precedents set by Christian missionaries in both China and Japan in the 15th and 16th centuries, according to the book Jews in the Japanese Mind,

The first Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory was not the brainchild of a Japanese or a Jew but of a Scot named Norman McLeod, who published his Epitome of the Ancient History of Japan in 1875. In the preface, McLeod wrote that he had arrived in Japan in 1867, the last year of the Tokugawa regime, and that he intended to produce an illustrated, twelve-volume description of the country similar to Engelbert Kaempfer's famous three-volume chronicle of the 1690s. McLeod explained that he was publishing the present volume in anticipation of that magnum opus, which would improve upon Kaempfer's work by giving "a more accurate and detailed account of the origin of the Japanese, with a description of their Jewish belongings."
"A stout-hearted, frugal, and religious man who started his career in Scotland in the herring fisheries, and ended up in Japan as an independent missionary," McLeod and his theories received short shrift in the foreign community. The Japan Mail of February 10, 1874, reported, "Oh Wednesday evening last, Mr. McLeod gave his lecture upon 'Identity of the Mikado, Miya and Kuge Sama etc. with the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.' He attracted but a small audience and did not even contrive to keep them together above a few minutes" His ideas received even less attention among the Japanese, who ignored them for a hundred years.
The self-styled missionary McLeod betrays the emergent pattern for JJCAT supporters: Christian, though a limited number are of other religions as well. But, by and large, Japanese Christians comprise the majority of the theory's adherents and they would be the driving force behind its propagation. However, if McLeod wasn't the direct progenitor of modern JJCAT, how did it gain traction? Jews in the Japanese Mind offers the idea that it was part of an ethnocentric trend found in Western colonial societies:
While there is no evidence that McLeod influenced Japanese common ancestry theorists directly, it seems likely that he and they were the products of the same English tradition of speculation on the fate of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. As early as the 1650s, writers in England had debated whether the American Indians were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes, and that debate continued into the twentieth century. In 1822, Richard Brothers, principal founder of "Anglo-Israelism," published his Correct Account of the Invasion of England by the Saxons, in which he "proved" that the English were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. By the turn of the twentieth century, the theory that the English were descendants of the Jews had an estimated two million adherents in England and the United States, and one contemporary authority described the literature on the subject as "enormous." Proponents of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory were inspired by this same trend.

These brief mentions highlight the nature of religiously-motivated ethnocentrism. In such a worldview, any undocumented peoples or foreign, yet sophisticated, cultures whose very existence would seemingly contradict the biblical narrative are instead attributed a supernatural or extraordinary origin; what once were contradictions are now reinterpreted in support of the original narrative, in this case the Christian Bible. Everything must fit into a neat timeline, like the online fandom discussions of modern times.

Saeki
But with the Meiji Restoration the sluices holding back the flood of Western influence were opened, which importantly included Japanese nationals studying abroad at Western universities. The rise of Japanese imperialism and nationalism notwithstanding, the doctrine of Judeo-Christian ethnocentrism would impact those Japanese who converted to Christianity. One of them was "a respected scholar" (Jews in the Japanese Mind) by the name of Saeki Yoshiro (1871-1965), who "was one of the first to formally propose the theory of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry." (Jews in the Japanese Mind) According to the book The Jews and the Japanese: The Successful Outsiders,

Over thirty years [after McLeod proposed his theory], in 1908, Saeki Yoshiro, a Waseda University professor, a Christian, and expert on Chinese Nestorians, published a book in which he developed a somewhat similar theory. According to Saeki, the Hata clan, which arrived from Korea and settled in Japan in the third century, was a Jewish-Nestorian tribe... Saeki's writings spread the theory about "the common ancestry of the Japanese and the Jews" in Japan, a theory that was endorsed by some Christian groups.

The Hata clan lived in a Kyoto village named Uzumasa, out of which Saeki surmised "uzu" to hide a reference to "Ishu/Jesus" and "masa" to mean "messiah." This theory appears in an appendix called "Regarding Uzumasa" in his 1908 book about the Chinese Nestorians. Jews in the Japanese Mind goes on to say about Saeki,
The fact that Saeki concludes that the Hata clan could only have been Jewish from a torturously derived allusion to "Jesus, the Messiah" indicates the essentially Christian and rather desparate nature of his theory. "Regarding Uzumasa" became the cornerstone of all subsequent Japanese common ancestry theories and set the paradoxical precedent for identifying purportedly ancient Christian sites in Japan as evidence of early Jewish settlements in the country.

Oyabe
Saeki's theories would quickly find favor with other Japanese Christians, such as Oyabe Zenichiro (1867-1941). "In the late 1920s the theory of the Jewish origin of the Japanese was taken up by Oyabe Zenichiro, a Japanese scholar and a Christian pastor who had received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1898 and who had spent many years studying the Ainu in Hokkaido." (The Jews and the Japanese: The Successful Outsiders) Oyabe introduced the idea that the Japanese people, particularly the Japanese imperial line, were descended from Jews, namely that the Japanese mythical Emperor Jimmu is actually an allusion to the scattered Jewish tribes. He also proposed that Minamoto no Yoshitsune escaped death only to flee to the Asian mainland and assume the identity of Genghis Khan. Jews in the Japanese Mind describes Oyabe's motivations:

As was true for Saeki, [Oyabe's] basic assumption is that Japan is a holy nation. Christianity, he asserts, had been prefigured in Shinto, but the Japanese religion had, for unspecified reasons, failed to keep pace with the times. By studying Christianity, Oyabe says he had hoped to bring Shinto up to date so that it (as the Japanese national expression of Christianity) could be come the salvation of all Japanese.
Arimasa Kubo
There are a few more names in the dissemination of JJCAT, but the only other one that needs an introduction is Arimasa Kubo (b. 1955). Kubo, building off of the work of Saeki and Oyabe, is the modern voice of JJCAT, evidenced by the fact that any search for the topic brings up websites with his name and work attached to them, most of them mere clones of some presumed archetype. Kubo is himself a Christian minister, fitting the JJCA theorist pattern perfectly. It's mostly Kubo's website(s) that I'll be using when discussing JJCAT in relation to Shin Megami Tensei, under the assumption that his writings will be the most "up-to-date" in a sense and thus the most relevant to SMT in the '90s up to the present day.



Core Tenets of Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory Relevant to Shin Megami Tensei


The list of claims said to substantiate JJCAT is fairly lengthy but it will not be worthwhile to discuss each and every one; instead, I'll only review those facets of the theory most relevant to Shin Megami Tensei's context. My primary source for this section will be an archived version of Kubo's web page Israelites Came to Ancient Japan (page 2) (page 3) (page 4), as it seems to have moved around a lot over the years. However, the information appears to be largely identical between versions. Any other sources used will be noted appropriately. I'm also not setting out to disprove the claims, with a few exceptions, because the burden of proof is on these theorists (and they fail if you look into it at all), plus that's way beyond the thesis of this article.


In the words of the wise Titania, queen of the fairies, "Are you ready?" 

1. The Yamabushi and their accoutrements. So here's a term Kubo mentions a lot: "yamabushi." Yamabushi are mountain ascestics who practice Shugendo, a syncretic Japanese religion that combines esoteric Buddhism with some Taoism and Shinto. Shugendo was said to be founded by none other than famous mystic and Shin Megami Tensei alum En no Ozuno, himself a mountain ascetic. From onmarkproductions.com's Shugendo entry:
Says scholar Paul L. Swanson in Shugendō and the Yoshino-Kumano Pilgrimage: “Shugendō is a religious practice which took the form of an organized religion about the end of the Heian period (794-1184) when Japan's ancient religious practices in the mountains came under the influence of various foreign religions. This loosely organized sect includes many types of ascetics, including unofficial monks (ubasoku 優婆塞), peripatetic holy men (hijiri ), pilgrimage guides (sendatsu 先達), blink musicians, exorcists, hermits, diviners, wandering holy men, and others.”

Yes, those hijiri are written the same as that Hijiri. Another source for the historical hijiri can be found in the book The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan, a relevant passage of which I've screencapped here. But enough with the actual factual information!

Japanese tokin and horagai (top),
Jewish tefillin and shofar (bottom)
Yamabushi are notable in JJCAT because of their mysterious origins. Since historians are not exactly certain how Shugendo or the yamabushi came about, that leaves plenty of room for interpretation. In JJCAT, that of course means the yamabushi are descended from a lost Jewish tribe. As no one has ever said, "the proof is in the phylactery," and the first example of evidence for this claim rests with certain spiritually protective headgear. I'll let Kubo do the lecturing here:

On the forehead of "Yamabushi," he puts a black small box called a "tokin", which is tied to his head with a black cord. He greatly resembles a Jew putting on a phylactery (black box) on his forehead with a black cord. The size of this black box "tokin" is almost the same as the Jewish phylactery, but its shape is round and flower-like.

The Jewish forehead adornment is called a tefillin and is not worn exclusively on the head, as a tefillin is worn on the arm as well. Besides these phylacteries, Kubo and JJCATists find parallels between religious instruments:
Furthermore, the "yamabushi" use a big seashell as a horn. This is very similar to Jews blowing a shofar or ram's horn. The way it is blown and the sounds of the "yamabushi's" horn are very similar to those of a shofar. Because there are no sheep in Japan, the "yamabushi" had to use seashell horns instead of rams' horns.

The Japanese conch horn, or horagai, bears less similarity to the shofar as it does to the Indian conch shell called Shankha. However, the supposed emigration of the lost tribe to Japan includes a foray into the Indian subcontinent, so I'm sure JJCAT doesn't exclude the possibility of ancient Indian peoples being too stupid to blow on naturally acoustic objects, either. 

2. Tengu. During my initial searches into JJCAT, I was curious to find image associations with tengu, without any accompanying explanations. For example, the print of Yoshitsune training with the tengu of Mount Kurama is currently set as the main image for JJCAT's Wikipedia page. Luckily, Kubo is there to provide that special JJCAT brand of reasoning:

In Japan, there is the legend of "Tengu" who lives on a mountain and has the figure of a "yamabushi". He has a pronounced nose and supernatural capabilities. A "ninja", who was an agent or spy in the old days, while working for his lord, goes to "Tengu" at the mountain to get from him supernatural abilities. "Tengu" gives him a "tora-no-maki" (a scroll of the "tora") after giving him additional powers. This "scroll of the tora" is regarded as a very important book which is helpful for any crisis. Japanese use this word sometimes in their current lives.
There is no knowledge that a real scroll of a Jewish Torah was ever found in a Japanese historical site. However, it appears this "scroll of the tora" is a derivation of the Jewish Torah.
Statue of tengu with scroll
The literal meaning of tora-no-maki (虎の巻) is "tiger's scroll," a phrase with the approximate idiomatic meaning of a "crib note" or "cheat sheet," at least by modern reckoning. Not that any of this would matter to JJCAT adherents when they can instead ascribe a mystical meaning to the homophonic "tora"! A second assertion about tengu and JJCAT is attributed to the 20th century Japanese novelist Kita Morio, by way of another quotation from Jews in the Japanese Mind:
"I learned that there is a document in the Butsugen temple in Izu known as 'The Tengu's Apology.' [A local historian] Kikuchi Banka has studied this document. According to Mr. Kikuchi, 'Like Japanese mountain ascetics, tengu dress like travelers who traverse steep mountains, and their headgear is shaped the same as Jewish phylacteries. In addition, their noses are hooked like the Jews. My intuition is that tengu were Jews who migrated to China and Japan in ancient times. There are documents that state that the whereabouts of the most pious of the twelve tribes of the Jews is unknown. Judaism is a religion that worships the sun, and the etymology of "Zion" is "the place where the sun shines."' In fact, ample research has been done both in Japan and abroad to identify the Ainu with the Jews. As evidence, [researchers] point out many similarities in language and customs." Kita Morio, Dokutoru Manbou konchu-ki [Dr. Manbou's Entomology, 1961]
So the long-nosed tengu reflect ethnic stereotypes of Jews? Go ahead, do a double-take. The quality of JJCAT speaks for itself, I think.

3. The Binding of Isaac and the Mishaguji rituals of Suwa-taisha.
A few years back I investigated the actual origins of SMT's Mishaguji, inadvertently stumbling into my first encounter with JJCAT. Of course, the website I found linking the two was written by none other than Arimasa Kubo and was essentially just a copy/paste of the slightly more comprehensive archive I'm using for this article.

If you're familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac--and reading this in English as you are, that's probably a fair bet--you could probably guess the tenuous connection here even without much knowledge of the ancient Suwa religion. So it goes, apparently Abraham's pious near-sacrifice of Isaac bears more than just a passing similarity to the now abandoned ritual at Suwa-taisha shrine where a young boy would be tied to a wooden pillar:
At the festival, a boy is tied up by a rope to a wooden pillar, and placed on a bamboo carpet. A Shinto priest comes to him preparing a knife, and he cuts a part of the top of the wooden pillar, but then a messenger (another priest) comes there, and the boy is released. This is reminiscent of the Biblical story in which Isaac was released after an angel came to Abraham.
Kubo also mentions that the sacrifice of deer during this Suwa-taisha ritual is the local equivalent of Abraham's sacrifice of the ram. He goes on to make a relationship between the names of Isaac and Mishaguji, a sentence I can't believe I just wrote:
People call this festival "the festival for Misakuchi-god". "Misakuchi" might be "mi-isaku-chi." "Mi" means "great," "isaku" is most likely Isaac (the Hebrew word "Yitzhak"), and "chi" is something for the end of the word. It seems that the people of Suwa made Isaac a god, probably by the influence of idol worshipers.
As far as I've been able to tell, there's nothing about SMT's Mishaguji that screams JJCAT. Some references to the Suwa region here and there, but Mishaguji's tendency to stay out of the limelight means there's no need to follow up in the SMT section below; just thought this was worth bringing up because otherwise Mishaguji is an obscure fellow (or gal?).

Susanoo slaying the serpent Yamata no Orochi
4. Susanoo, Baal, and aspects of comparative mythology. I myself have often thought just how well Susanoo fits the mold of the traditional Proto-Indo-European sky god, one who brandishes thunder to smite a foul serpent, like Zeus, Baal, or Indra, though the conclusions I've made differ greatly from those of JJCAT; nonetheless, here I think Kubo finally has a legitimately fascinating (in a harmless conspiracy theory sense) point of discussion even if it holds no water:
The ancient Israelites believed not only in one true God Yahweh, but also Baal, Ashtaroth, Molech and other pagan idol-gods. This was true especially among the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

Shinto scholars say that a Shinto god Susanou (Susanou-no-mikoto) in the Japanese mythology resembles Baal in several aspects, and a goddess Amaterasu (Amaterasu-oomikami) resembles Ashtaroth.

While in the Japanese mythology, the god which appeared first is named Ameno-minaka-nusino-kami, who is the master god living in the center of the universe, ruling the heaven and the earth. He is invisible, has no shape, no dying, individual, and the most central god of all. This god somewhat resembles the God of the Bible. In fact, a Shintoist Ikarimaru Watanabe (1837-1915), who is a desciple of a great Shinto philosopher Atsutane Hirata, thought that this god equals Yahweh, the God of the Bible.
It's fascinating that Kubo aligns more with modern scholarship than a typical, more conservative Christian would and admits that the ancient Israelites were polytheists! Of course, that's only because polytheistic belief conveniently reflects Japanese religion better than strict monotheism does.

Alleged similarities between Hebrew and the
Japanese language, as shown here, are
a central argument of JJCAT
5. Yamato = Yah? The Yamato were the Japanese peoples who would dominate ancient Japan socially, politically, and religiously and would establish the Japanese imperial dynasty, and "Yamato Japanese" today refers to the majority ethnic group in Japan, distinct from other indigenous peoples, like the Ainu. Subsequently, "Yamato" has become synonymous with cultural "Japanese-ness" in terms like "Yamato-damashii" (Japanese spirit) and "Yamato-nadeshiko" (a Japanese woman who represents traditional ideals). Of course, with a term of such grand, pervasive significance, "Yamato" is ripe for the JJCAT pickings. Let's leave it to Kubo again:
It is also interesting to note that the formal name for the Japanese first Emperor Jinmu is called in Kojiki or in Nihon-shoki: "Kamu-yamato-iware-biko-sumera-mikoto"

Kanji letters are adopted in Kojiki and Nihon-shoki to this, but this pronunciation had existed even before Kanji letters were imported from China. So the Kanji letters have no connection with the meaning. This "kamu-yamato-...." has no satisfactory meaning if we interpret it as Japanese, but Joseph Eidelberg interpreted it as Hebrew. If we think of slight corruption and interpret it as Hebrew, it would be: "The founder of the Hebrew nation of Yahweh, the noble (first born) of Samaria his kingdom."
As an aside, before I read Kubo's passage I totally guessed that the "Ya" of "Yamato" would be construed to refer to Yahweh and I was quickly validated. Not that I want a pat on the back or anything (it was low-hanging fruit, let's be honest), but it illustrates how easy it is to find coincidences between seemingly unrelated cultures when you're intentionally looking for them! There's one more tidbit relating to Yahweh's name and it refers to a line in a traditional Japanese folk song that goes, according to Kubo, anyway, as "Yah-ren so-ran"--and, you guessed it, the "yah" supposedly refers to Yahweh.

Alleged examples of the Kagome
design on Japanese objects
6. The Kagome Crest and the Yata Mirror. These two are just barely relevant to the greater topic of Shin Megami Tensei, but they nonetheless strengthen the Jewish ties some of the Japanese characters and motifs may be intended to have. The Kagome Crest is a hexagram shape identical to the Star (or Shield, as Kubo uses) of David and, according to Kubo:
In Mie prefecture, Japan, is located Ise grand shrine which was built for the Imperial House of Japan, and a symbol which looks very much like the Shield of David is carved on all the lamps along the approaches to the shrine.

The Japanese call it Kagome crest, which means basket reticulation in Japanese. This was named because the crest looks like the reticulation of Japanese traditinal bamboo basket.
This aspect presupposes the uniqueness of the Star of David hexagram, even though its shape, the intersection of two equilateral triangles, is common throughout world art, particularly relevant to SMT as the Seal of Solomon in occultism. The traditional origin for the Kagome Crest mentioned by Kubo is a pattern in bamboo weaving, also called a Kagome lattice. In fact, this part of the argument is so weak that Kubo admits that "it is difficult to judge whether or not the Japanese design of six pointed star originated from the Jewish Shield of David." Indeed, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that "unlike the menora (candelabrum), the Lion of Judah, the shofar (ram's horn) and the lulav (palm frond), the Star of David was never a uniquely Jewish symbol."

Alleged inscription on the
Yata no Kagami
As for the other subject, the Yata no Kagami mirror is part of the Japanese imperial regalia and thus connected to the gods, in particular Amaterasu and the Ama-no-Iwato episode where it was used to lure her out of the cave. To JJCAT adherents, this mysterious object, said to still be enshrined at Ise Grand Shrine, may hide Hebrew inscriptions on its reverse. In Kubo's words again:
Arinori Mori (1847-1889) was the Minister of Education, Culture and Science of Japan in the Meiji-era. He insisted he saw that on the mirror of Yata in Ise grand shrine was written in Hebrew "eheyeh asher eheyeh" which is God's name written in Exodus 3:14 of the Bible and means "I AM THAT I AM."
The original mirror is said to have been lost in a fire. The current copy, and the illustration of its reverse presented by Kubo, is said to have been produced by an overly passionate individual who convinced a priest of Ise to allow him to see the mirror. The individual supposedly scrawled out the design of the reverse, but came to a different conclusion--that the letters were representative of the counterfeit "ancient" jinda-moji script, not Hebrew. It may all be nonsense, but even nonsense can have more than one interpretation.

7. Mikado and the Gad tribe / The Hata. Last, but certainly not least as far as SMT is concerned, we have JJCAT's explanation behind the ancient name of the Japanese emperor, Mikado. It is notable for, if nothing else, nominating the tribe of Gad as the particular lost tribe that made its way to Japan. Says Kubo:
And to which tribe do the Japanese belong? There are those who claim that the Mikado, the Japanese emperor, is a descendant of the Hebrew tribe of Gad.
Kubo's map of real and alleged Jewish
settlements in Asia, including Japan
As noted in the previous section, this theory was an idea of scholar Oyabe Zenichiro. The Jews and the Japanese: The Successful Outsiders has more to say about it:
In 1929 Oyabe published his book, Nihon oyobi Nihon kokumin no kigen (The Origins of Japan and the Japanese People), in which he claimed that the Japanese were the descendants of the Jewish tribes of Gad and Menashe, known for their military valor. The Japanese word mikado, according to Oyabe, is composed of the prefix mi (honorable) and gaddo, the Japanese pronunciation of the Hebrew Gad. Therefore the imperial family descended from the Jewish tribe of Gad, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
In support of this claim are examinations of biblical genealogies with those of Japanese imperial documents like the Kojiki, but those are largely irrelevant to SMT. However, one to keep in mind is the aforementioned theory of Saeki about the Hata clan's Jewish origins and their emigration to Japan, as that will come into play later on.

Assessing Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory. It would be generous to even call JJCAT a pseudoscience. One of its major downfalls is assuming many things are unique to or originate from Israelite culture when in fact that is not the case, such as the use of salt in purification rituals. But this is one of the bizarre aspects of JJCAT in that it supposes a Jewish-centric worldview by way of a Christian interpretation, then goes as far as to make racist claims about physical appearances.


JJCAT's proponents are best summed up by an article on an ostensibly Mormon site called 24 Parallels Between Old Japan and Ancient Israel, by Mark Riddle. These parallels not dissimilar from those argued by Kubo, Riddle concludes his work by calling it "a persuasive argument." He expounds upon the persuaded in the page's endnotes:

A list of persons so persuaded would include Japanese Christian scholars, Western missionaries who have lived and served in Japan, Jewish rabbis and scholars, and a host of Japanese authors who yearly produce more books to fuel popular interest in this topic in Japan.... The late [Latter Day Saints] comparative religionist Dr. Spencer Palmer, of Brigham Young University, was another who was persuaded by much, if not all, of this evidence.
The Makuya are Japanese Christian
supporters of Israel
Notice the pattern in these supporters. Japanese Christians. Missionaries. Rabbis. Mormons (who have their own JJCAT/Anglo-Israelism in the Lamanites). No secular, "mainstream" scholars, just people who already have dogs in the hunt for the literal interpretation of Judeo-Christian scriptures and the biblical narrative, plus potential stakes in assigning a divine significance to Japan's explosive economy and the primacy of its culture in the West among all other East Asian (and probably all Asian) countries.


Of course, for the serious scholars and scientists who have examined the claims, they don't come back with glowing reviews for JJCAT's legitimacy. Historian of Jewish communities Tudor Parfitt has eviscerated the theory in his book Lost Tribes of Israel: the History of a Myth, citing it as an invention of Western colonialism. Genetic studies of Japanese also confirm that Israelite ancestry is an impossibility.


If the general details and motivations behind JJCAT sound familiar, it's because it has a modern descendant in the ancient astronaut hypothesis; it too makes degrading assumptions about the sophistication of ancient cultures and human engineering by attributing great works to extraterrestrial architects, a suitably "extraordinary" claim. Still, I love the idea that aliens progenitors guided global civilizations not because I think there's value to even an ounce of it, but because it's entertaining. JJCAT believers may belong to a similar subjective reality to ancient astronaut advocates, but so long as no one is being actively harmed or the theory isn't used as a platform to spread hate, what's the harm? Unfortunately, like the few aspects of JJCAT's whole that do stoop to racist rhetoric, Shin Megami Tensei's use of the theory is severely problematic in spots, even if it is mostly harmless and even illuminating.



Taira no Masakado: History vs. Legend



"Celebrated as a populist hero, denounced as a rebel and a state criminal, or feared as an avenging spirit, [Masakado] is the subject of national history, folklore, literary imagination, and local legends passed down in more than three hundred fifty places across Japan." -Karl Friday, The First Samurai: The Life and Legend of the Warrior Rebel Taira Masakado

Before we move on: This 10th century Taira samurai, infamous for rebelling against Japanese imperial authority, will be relevant in the next section, so please consider reading this supplementary article for an in-depth look at Masakado in history, folklore, and Shin Megami Tensei! It's highly recommended to have at least a passing familiarity with the events of Masakado's life and death before continuing, but if you're already already up on your Heian-era samurai, by all means, continue to the next section!



Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory in Shin Megami Tensei


Before we submerge ourselves in the SMT-JJCAT relationship, here is a summary of the JJCAT narrative based on the points of interest discussed above. Though what pertains to SMT is not a comprehensive survey of all JJCA theories, a general correspondence to the broader discourse's main tenets remains intact: 
  • Most tenets of JJCAT are predicated on biblical literalism; based on its claims, it assumes the Hebrew Bible is true at least up until the Books of Kings or Chronicles. 
  • Some time before 660 BC (the approximate date of Emperor Jimmu's accession), the Israelite tribe of Gad slowly makes its way east across the Asian continent. They establish settlements in India and China, among others, before landing in Japan prior to the given date.  
  • The Gad people quickly establish hegemony over the native inhabitants of the Japanese islands, disseminate themselves among the local population, and establish the Japanese imperial dynasty: The emperor, "Mikado," "honorable Gad," ruling over the people and lands called "Yamato," named after Yahweh. 
    • Alternatively, others become the reclusive mountain monks known as yamabushi, who inspire the creation of tengu legends by way of their Torah scrolls or stereotypically large noses. 
    • Still others settle in the Kyoto area and become the Hata clan. 
  • These people bring with them cultural items both tangible and intangible. 
    • Tangible items include the tefillin, influencing the Japanese tokin, religious horns, the aforementioned Torah scrolls, and the Star of David.
    • Intangibles include the Hebrew language and alphabet and stories, like Abraham and Isaac, which become recontextualized in local myths and religious rituals. Hebrew script is also interpreted on the reverse of the imperial Yata mirror and may influence Japanese script. 
  • As a separate intangible, either cultural memory or active worship by the people of Gad brings the concepts of Canaanite deities like Baal and Astarte to Japan, creating native gods Susanoo and Amaterasu, respectively.
  • In modern times, Japanese Christians descended from Jews await Christ's return and their elevated status in the New Jerusalem. This highlights the inherently Christian nature of JJCAT despite the purported Jewish connections. 
That...is a ton of pepperoni. As insane as it all sounds, keep this narrative in mind for what's in store below. Regardless of each and every claim's persuasiveness (some are no doubt mere coincidences and I'll be sure to admit as such if that's the case), JJCAT at the very least opens up a new avenue for interpreting certain idiosyncrasies of Shin Megami Tensei that have otherwise eluded sensible explanations by other approaches.


Series-Wide Examples



1. Angels and Hama. The angels and archangels of SMT all tend to be associated with light-elemental skills of the Hama family. So what is "Hama," anyway? Even though the majority of SMT's skill names are gibberish (probably), Hama is one that's easily sourced: In Japanese, "hama" (破魔) means "exorcism."


An angel casting Hama, ofuda visible
But it's the specific style of exorcism that makes this interesting. Onmyodo, a Japanese spiritual and occult practice influenced by Chinese Taoism, utilizes paper charms/amulets called ofuda in exorcisms and other functions. Scrawled with kanji and mystic symbols, you've no doubt seen them used in other games and anime, including SMT's own Hama group, which is what I'm getting at, of course; the animation routine for Hama skills, 2D or 3D, uses ofuda strips.


Now, there are more light skills than just Hama and other demons besides the Judeo-Christian angel set use them. But few demon races are more closely tied to a single element than the Divine and Heralds, making it odd that the visual representation for them is uniquely Japanese. It's far from conclusive, but an interesting coincidence at the very least. Remove the possibility of JJCAT and this would be merely a strange coincidence!


2. Tokyo, the World Axis. We get it: Tokyo is a big, important city. So why does almost every supernatural shindig in the series go down there? Well, there are a couple good, practical reasons for this that have nothing to do with JJCAT. Initially, SMT1 was going to be a globe-trotting adventure terminating in Israel; budgetary concerns likely nipped this tantalizing idea in the bud. Second, the Atlus staff were left to base their game with a modern setting on what they knew, and what they knew was Tokyo. It's tempting to add JJCAT as an additional layer across all instances of Tokyo's role as the East Asian Jerusalem, but it's not universally applicable across every entry in the series--though we'll certainly be getting to some specific examples shortly.


3. The Absent Christ / Jewish God, Jewish Satan. A common question that arises from YHVH's and Law's seemingly odd fascination with Japan/Tokyo is about the conspicuous absence of Jesus. Why wouldn't Christ get an invitation to the End Times party when all manner of angels, demons, and even "The" God himself are regular attendees? Even mother Mary will be making her first genuine series appearance in Strange Journey Redux.


A previous answer I've given to this question surmises that Jesus is, in fact, present in the series, just not in that particular form: The player protagonist dons the mantle of Christ-figure, of "messiah" (sometimes literally). This is doubly true for Law Heroes, Law endings, and especially SMT2's hero Aleph. But this doesn't mean that the entity "Jesus" couldn't appear in the series as a demon--he'd just be unnecessary in most contexts.


The voice of YHVH in SMT2
A second answer builds off the first, focusing on the often overlooked structure and dynamics of the Law faction. Most would probably interpret YHVH's Law forces as being inherently Christian in organization, due to the designs of the angels and cross motifs on their costumes and banners. That's certainly true--for the angels. But what about YHVH himself? From the specific spelling of his name (the Tetragrammaton) and the fact that YHVH has always, inflexibly, been paired with his Satan as his "servant" (according to his words in SMT2) and not antagonist (initially, anyway), one can surmise that the upper echelons of Law represent Jewish concepts, not Christian ones. Look no further than the Hebrew Bible's epithets of YHVH --(El) Shaddai, Adonai, Sabaoth seen in SMT2, and Ancient of Days in SMT4--for more clues that SMT's take on God is meant to portray the Jewish side of things. This also explains why YHVH is seemingly obsessed with destruction of "sin," as he invokes that "fire and brimstone" characteristic of "Old Testament" wrath--something noted by Christians for centuries in contrast to the "loving father" of the New Testament!


SMT2 Satan acting as YHVH's judge
As for Satan, being YHVH's "judge" in SMT2 (or "evaluator" in SMT4A; same difference) is the biggest clue that he is meant to be the Jewish Satan. This series hallmark is often dismissed in the English-speaking SMT circles because the idea of God and Satan being on the same team is completely alien to most in the Christian Western Hemisphere--except, of course, for Jews. Because Jews view God as the sole, unopposed, absolute divine power of the universe, this means he is responsible for all the bad along with all the good. Thus, even though the Jewish Satan is a bad egg, he's nothing less than a direct agent of God's will (though see this page for a better explanation of Satan's purpose in Judaism than I could muster in a mere paragraph). This is also why it's no paradox for Satan and Lucifer to exist simultaneously; Lucifer represents the Christian "Devil" figure. As YHVH's servant and "obstructor," SMT's Satan can only be a representation of Judaism's.


The Jewish focus is why I never brought up the JJCAT-adjacent idea of Jesus traveling to Japan and/or being buried there. Yes, that's a thing. But besides the fact that Jewish theology and eschatology has no place for the Christian Jesus, JJCAT allows an alternate explanation for Christ's absence in the series. In those rare times that YHVH isn't hurling hot destruction Tokyo's way, be it through promised saviors, cocoons, or just from general passivity, the fact that normal Japanese people under JJCAT would be considered a lost tribe of Israel could mean that YHVH is simply attending to his business and crafting a plan for the salvation of his authentic prodigal sheep and their eventual reintroduction into the Jewish whole. But while YHVH is preoccupied with his "Gad" business, on the other side of the world from the Japanese promised land, Jesus could be, for all we know, gathering righteous Christian soldiers in America and Europe to fight seven-headed Beasts. Regardless of any silly headcanons, SMT's apocalyptic formula has no real role for Jesus to play, even as Christian-minded JJCAT interpretations make room in the series for expressly Jewish concerns. 


SMT series hexagram logo
4. Summoning with Solomon and the Names of God. If you're in the Shin Megami Tensei universe, how would you summon demons? With the Demon Summoning Program created by occult nerd Stephen, natch. The Cathedral of Shadows is an extension of the same idea. So what gives them the power to call forth beings from outside reality?

The very first Shin Megami Tensei's opening cinematic explains everything, actually. After the Atlus logo fades out, we see an encircled sigil--the famous Seal of Solomon, or, more precisely, the Hexagram of Solomon, used to control demons, though a slightly embellished, proprietary version for SMT's use. While the hexagram shape is important, it's the inlaid letters and words that are of chief interest, specifically the "TETRAGRAMMATON," "AGLA," and the alpha and omega. These of course refer to God; by drawing the Seal or Hexagram and writing these divine words, you are in effect invoking the divine power of the prime mover to bring forth your requested demon. Demons might not listen to humans, but they certainly have to answer to God.


However, SMT deviates from tradition with its use of the Hexagram. Usually, summoning demons in the Cathedral of Shadows sees them emerging from a Hexagram's central point, instead of appearing within a precise triangle, as in Solomonic occultism. Grimoires like the Goetia prescribe the Hexagram with more of an apotropaic function; if the summoner wears this sigil (and others) emblazoned with the names of God, the demons, who are ultimately under God's power, will be unable to cause them harm. Regardless, the intended effect from occult tradition or SMT tradition is that the demons listen to the summoner! Most games in the series have a summoning interface that at least uses the Hexagram and its words. A notable exception is Nocturne; it eschews the Demon Summoning Program, Stephen, and Solomon's Hexagram, opting for a more New Age demon fusing experience on top of some pillars.


Baphomet invoking the
Names in Nocturne
Next in SMT's opening you see some kind of computer code being compiled, which ends with the unusual string "EL ELOHIM ELOHO ELOHIM SEBAOTH ELION EIECH ADIER EIECH ADONAI JAH SADAI TETRAGRAMMATON SADAI AGIOS O THEOS ISCHIROS ATHANATOS AGLA AMEN." Presumably this is the code of the Demon Summoning Program, written in-universe by Stephen; while these may appear to be a random smattering of words, they are anything but. Often referred to as the Barbarous Names, this particular string is sourced to the Grimoire of Armadel, where, like the names on the Hexagram, they serve to force the hand of the demon or spirit being conjured:

I (conjurer's name) do Conjure thee (spirit's name) by the virtue of the Great and Holy Names of God, that immediately and without delay thou art to appear unto me under an agreeable form, and without noise, nor injury unto my person, to make answer unto all that I shall command thee; and I do conjure thee herein by the Great Name of the Living God, and by these Holy Names:
EL ELOHIM ELOHO ELOHIM SEBAOTH ELION EIECH ADIER EIECH ADONAY JAH SADAY TETRAGRAMMATON SADAY AGIOS O THEOS ISCHIROS ATHANATOS AGLA Amen.
Cathedral of Shadows fusion
sequence with visible hexagram
My objective here is to exhibit that Shin Megami Tensei games that use the Hexagram or Names summon their demons not through some cockamamie hocus-pocus (relatively speaking) but via existing occult methods that specifically invoke the authority of God, or YHVH, in this case. And not just "demon" demons, like those residing in Hell; no, this means SMT's broader definition of the term, which includes anything from Hindu gods to Buddhist protectors to Japanese yokai. Additionally, the diminutive Slimes, the results for failed summonings of any demon, are described as originating from the Atziluth world of Jewish Kabbalah. You can infer from these examples that all of SMT's supernatural characters are ultimately subservient to YHVH, a concept very much in line with the JJCAT worldview; bad news for Chaos players in games where it applies. I empathize if this idea sounds farfetched, but it will only gain traction as this examination of the series continues.



Shin Megami Tensei (1992)



Probably nothing. The only reference to anything even remotely JJCAT-related seems to be En no Ozuno, but SMT1's hangs out in the Definitely Buddhist Diamond Realm. Mishima clone Gotou is a nationalist caricature diametrically opposed to YHVH's Thor. The game even ends with a struggle between a Christian symbol (Michael) versus a Japanese Buddhist one (Asura-oh). Tasked with establishing the core conceits of the series, SMT1 was left with little room for fringe theories.


Speaking of Thor though, is this Norse-Jewish common ancestry theory? Why would a Norse god side with YHVH? Because at this time, Thor was a Deity, a race then considered Light-Law. During this fledgling period, Law was an inclusive, absolute concept and not the codified synonym for purely monotheistic ideals as it would become, practically as soon as SMT2. Vishnu's sympathy for a Law-aligned player is another example of SMT1's broader definition of alignment.



Shin Megami Tensei II (1994) 



Important aside: Masakado's equipment is inferior to Jesus' in SMT2!
1. Anti-JJCAT themes. I didn't include Megami Tensei II not just because it's outside of purview, but because SMT2 is essentially its thematic remake. That said, even though SMT2 is the first "Shin" game to feature YHVH directly, it's difficult to specifically indicate JJCAT themes within its narrative and themes even as it features a relationship between YHVH and Japanese demons.

What I'm talking about is the back room deal struck by the Japanese Kunitsu gods with YHVH to subjugate the Amatsu. It looks like it might be authentic JJCAT at first glance, but the details paint a different picture: Bizarrely, Masakado is at least neutral on the agreement; the arrangement is made with the Kunitsu against the Amatsu (Yamato) gods, when at the very least JJCAT would require it to be the other way around. Ultimately, YHVH betrays the Kunitsu and equally seals them away. Then there's this quote from an SMT2 interview:

Kaneko: Seth was Satan’s predecessor. Seth, Sat, Saton, Satan. Thought I’d play a little with that. He’s a demon that has been sealed in Makai, and even Lucifer is afraid he might destroy that place.
Narisawa: That is, so to speak, the plan of the Hebrew deities, isn’t it. It gets even more complicated when you add the Kunitsukami and Amatsukami into the equation. I have one problem though; was it ok to separate the locations of the Hebrew and Yamato deities? It ended up kind of suspicious to me.

Kaneko: According to my understanding that part was meant to represent the sides of the Hebrew gods and the local ones easily. You can also say it’s about the local deities versus intruders.


Okada: Basically, we wanted to show Japanese beings as monsters in the Underworld.
Amaterasu's statement upon
rescue refutes JJCAT
Here, there's a definite contrast between native gods and "intruders." But also consider that they try to connect Satan to the Egyptian Set(h) with the false "Set-Sat-Saton-Satan" etymology. Additionally, according to backstory, Tokyo Millennium, the game's main setting, has become a global shelter for refugees of a dying world, plus YHVH includes the "chosen" residents of Tokyo Millennium on his Eden ship. It's highly likely that JJCAT was never intended here.

Because of this, the one thing that could be considered JJCAT elsewhere with enough context is probably meaningless in SMT2--this is the fact that YHVH's avatars are referred to as his "bunrei." If you don't remember that term from the SMT4A interview, bunrei is a Shinto term denoting a division of a deity for purposes of transporting its essence for enshrinement at another location. However, without proper corroboration from elsewhere in the game, it was likely included only as a convenient way to refer his "divisions" or "avatars" in Japanese.

2. The Messiah Project. The angelic rulers of Tokyo Millennium, desperate for a messiah, take matters into their own hands and set out making one themselves. The Messiah Project is then established, creating superbabies named after Hebrew letters: Aleph, Beth, Gimmel, Daleth, and Zayin. But because of the game's strong New Testament themes such as how Hiroko acts as the Virgin Mary in giving birth to the Jesus-analogue Aleph, I'm really struggling to see any JJCAT. 


Kuzuryu as a mammoth
superweapon
3. Kuzuryu and YHVH. Though it's looking like SMT2 predates any JJCAT fascinations, the whole deal with YHVH using Kuzuryu as a superweapon straddles the line in a strange way. Because of just how odd it really is, I initially thought mention of Kuzuryu in JJCAT texts would be easy to come by, since the nine-headed lake dragon's story bears some superficial resemblance to many other dragon or water serpent myths the world over, from Japan's own Yamata no Orochi to the biblical Leviathan. Alas, no dice; apparently, it's just weird!

4. Is killing YHVH anti-Semitism? This is the big question, isn't it? As previously described, the YHVH of SMT2 in particular is very much the Jewish God, right down to his bellicose nature, Satan tolerance, and many Hebrew appellations. But as this is the most controversial of charges, I might have to settle for a subjective answer for this one.


My own response would be "no, not anti-Semitic," because I think context matters. In my opinion, killing YHVH in a video game is tantamount to (or even less substantial than) apostatizing from religious belief to atheism or agnosticism, a change I've personally experienced. But just because I no longer believe in God/Yahweh/Jehovah and have, to myself, "destroyed" the possibility of him existing doesn't mean I harbor ill will towards Jews, nor was my apostasy motivated by prejudice against Jews (or Christians, as would be more appropriate in my case).


SMT2's context is a barren world ruled by the Law forces and YHVH himself; an overarching theme of "Law" is intended by the game's creators. To make a long story short, test tube messiah-protagonist Aleph is created by impatient (Christian) angels, against YHVH's wishes; YHVH himself actually wants to destroy the remnants of the current world and restart with with a chosen few with a New Eden, yet another iteration in the series of catastrophe followed by ultimate renewal. But this would be bad for the extant, rejected humanity, hence the conflict against the Law oppressors.


YHVH upon defeat in SMT2
However, possessing thematic resonance doesn't mean that everything is handled well. You fight YHVH on every path, including Law; the justification on Law is pretty much nonsense, too, as Satan judges YHVH to be contrary to his own ideals. Like SMT1, if there is any bias to be had in this game, it is its preference of humanism over religion; alternatively, the foibles of Law lead to its own downfall. Also considering that Aleph is Just Jesus, the game may very well involve the theme of the Christian New Testament superseding the Jewish "Old Testament." But aside from the poor decision to disallow you from ultimately siding with YHVH there are no themes specific to him present in SMT2 other than "rejection" for humanist reasons, nor are there framing devices that completely change the meaning of the game; as shown, I went looking for JJCAT in SMT2 and largely came up empty. It probably also helps that SMT2's post-post-apocalyptic world is pretty far removed from reality.


So those are my two cents. There's no doubt that not everyone will agree with this assessment and that's great, even expected! But definitely keep reading, as the anti-Semitism gets much more noticeable as we delve further into the series.


Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (1995) 


Azuma, fringe enthusiast
Inaruna and the Hata clan. Like the use of Kuzuryu, this example stands at the threshold of JJCAT, but doesn't quite commit to crossing it; however, it still has enough elements to make you wonder otherwise. In Devil Summoner's backstory, a "crazy" professor named Azuma, whose portrait is posed holding an ancient astronaut theory publication ("UFO超古代文明" [en]), is responsible for a book called "Theories of Ancient Japanese Civilization," which posits that an ancient Japanese state used magic and demon summoning to defend themselves against the conquering forces of emperor Jimmu. This obviously means he's just a lunatic, right? 

Naturally, Azuma turns out to be correct. Within the in-game setting its "expanded universe" novels, there was indeed an ancient Japanese country of the Hata clan, ruled by a matriarch, Inaruna. Their occult methods and demons failed to fend off Jimmu and the Yamato, however, and Inaruna was executed, turning her into a vengeful spirit that acts as the crux of Devil Summoner's storyline. Interestingly, Inaruna is depicted as wearing a headdress that incorporates the "goggles" seen on particular types of ancient dogu statues--and Arahabaki. If not for another point I'll get to next, I would have argued that this detail plus the fact that Azuma is pictured with the ancient astronaut book meant that Inaruna and the Hata were part of a tradition that worshipped memories of ancient aliens in the form of dogu/Arahabaki.


This aforementioned point has to do with the Hata clan. As mentioned previously, the Hata are historical, but they are thought to be Chinese immigrants from the state of Qin that lived in Japan from the second century AD onwards; this means the game's ancient chronology is all kinds of anachronistic if you take for gospel that Jimmu, considered a legendary figure anyway, lived circa 660 BC. But considering Inaruna is likely based off of the mostly historical shaman queen Himiko, who lived during approximately the same period as the Qin, any conflicts with the historical record are either deliberate or deliberately hand-waved. Who knows, maybe the full story hasn't been translated into English, but it doesn't affect the JJCAT connection in any way.


Inaruna's snout
And so it goes without saying by now, but Devil Summoner's Hata have to be an intentional reference to the Hata of history, as they are spelled the same (秦氏). The protagonist's girlfriend, the last in Inaruna's line, even bears the surname "Hatano" (
秦野), spelled with the same "hata" kanji. Moreover, the Hata are presented as the ancestors of the series' Kuzunoha clan; this checks out as, true to the meaning of "kuzunoha," Inaruna's second form has a fox-like snout. But is it JJCAT? It could be, I suppose, but given the Hata's Chinese roots, it's hard to read the game's intentions without an external confirmation. But if they are intended to reference the theory, it presents a paradox; if the Yamato are fighting against the Hata, two groups with connections to JJCAT, then who would be Jewish? As it turns out, it's definitely the Yamato--as we'll confirm in Raidou's games, below.


Persona / Soul Hackers / Persona 2 Era (1996-2000) 



Kazuma Kaneko holding
a hexagram
The Digital Devil Apocalypse interview. As I've been presenting these entries chronologically by release date, it's likely been evident that, so far, there's been a lot of speculation, with only Inaruna's example touching on anything remotely related to the extant body of JJCA theories. While Persona, Soul Hackers, and Persona 2 don't contain any either as far as I am aware, the situation changes after the publication of Kaneko's 1999 Digital Devil Apocalypse interview, which contains the earliest known mentions of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory by any Atlus staff member, like these:
(1) Do you pray at shrines?
No. I went to visit Taira no Masakado’s head mound while we were working on the Megaten series, but that is because I personally respect him. A different matter. There are a lot of facets to this. If we were to follow the theory that the Imperial Family is part of the Hebrew lineage, then he would also become the one who opposed the Jews. The imperfect hero, so to speak. It would be cool if that kind of man existed.

(2) ...beasts like Kerberos or Yamata-no-orochi are already said to symbolise certain things. Orochi, for example, is the symbol of the river or of the antagonistic group of eight men. Apparently, this theory that it is the Ark of the Covenant has been floating around. The Ark is a rectangular box with eight angles and three borders extending from each angle. In other words, it ends up looking like a forked branch. Of course, having a sword get out of that box is only natural. I thought it was pretty interesting.


(3) Speaking of Hitokotonushi, his story says that members of the Imperial Family prostrated themselves before him, so he probably used to be a blood relation. But this is a being who had to go in the mountains. That is why I designed this demon with the Shinto tradition in mind: if you can’t see his form but are in the mountains, then he is the leaves of the trees. I thought it would be interesting to use Shinto specific elements like shimenawa or shide. Shimenawa represents clouds, while shide represents lighting, like symbols of Yahweh. Not to mention that the clanging you can hear at shrines resembles the sound of thunder, while the cash box could be the Ark.


(4) Wings however have neither a positive nor a negative meaning. They’re a symbol of wisdom or an expression of greatness. Well, if we talk about Yatagarasu, then that’s another story. Even though Yatagarasu is a bird, he is a considerably different case. He’s got three legs. If it were in the future, its form would be made more of energy, it would be more of a symbol. Anzu, for example, is represented as a symbol of obtaining wisdom. He’s an enemy, but he obtained the wisdom of gods. Yatagarasu is YHVH’s messenger. Like PostPet’s Momo-chan.  Like an e-mail.


You mean explaining a design in accordance with the setting.

For example, the Hebrew Gad clan came to Japan and became the ruling family.  Aren’t there a lot of these kind of wordplays? I want to do some research and see if this is true or false, but it’s pretty difficult so all I can do is simplify this information. It’s interesting to think about it, so if I’ve already gone that far, then I want to design it too.
Because of these quotes, it's now much more plausible to assume that SMT games made after 1999 may, in fact, contain elements of JJCAT. And unlike certain previous cases where speculation was the extent of the argument, like Kuzuryu in SMT2 or Devil Summoner's ancient conflict, a confirmation from a senior Atlus creative director like Kaneko also allows interpretation in favor of JJCAT in borderline cases, but only from here on out; no retroactive reinterpretations are intended, unless an Atlus interview surfaces that mentions JJCAT prior to 1999. That said, many of the examples to follow are quite obviously inspired by the theory and could be proven irrespective of Kaneko's comments.


Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne (2003 / 2004) 



The face of Kagutsuchi, not unlike
the face of YHVH
1. Kagutsuchi, avatar of YHVH. No lie, Nocturne has some real JJCAT zingers. JJCAT also helps explain some otherwise peculiar remarks from Kaneko. One of those is about the Vortex World's unique take on the Japanese fire god, Kagutsuchi:
I wanted to make him more geometrical. Point is, he’s the sun. There are many other names for YHVH all over the world, so one of these concepts is the god of flames, of sun.
Very nonchalant YHVH namedrop there. As for the point he's making, I would suppose he means examples of where Christian missionaries appropriated local terms or gods to describe their capital-G God, like Shangdi in China or Hunab Ku in Mexico. Kagutsuchi was never involved in missionaries' efforts in Japan (he was sliced into bits, after all), so what's the link, then? The simplest explanation is that Kaneko was interpreting through JJCAT. Though Kagutsuchi's presence in Nocturne carries strong symbolic significance regardless, and that fire=renewal can explain his purpose even without the YHVH connection, the fact that this explicitly Japanese deity was deliberately written to act in a creative role that's alien to his mythological profile but assumed to be an avatar of YHVH undoubtedly means Kaneko had JJCAT on the brain. What else could it be?

2. Kaneko's response to the "why is YHVH the villain" question. From the English Nocturne guide. You know the one:

(darknobiyuki) My question has to do more with the ideology behind the series. In Shin Megami Tensei II (and a few vague references in Nocturne),the Judeo-Christian God is portrayed as the prominent villain in the series. I was curious what influenced the Japanese team to make such a controversial choice in series villain.
This is a delicate question, but as mentioned in the last question there are many mysterious common motifs, like the flood legend, in mythology, so I like to investigate mythology from all around the world. For instance, the aforementioned flood legend, the creation process at the beginning of the universe, a hero going on a journey to overcome trials, and sights at the end of the world, etc etc.

It’s almost like a shared memory of the events that happened in ancient times has remained to make people draw up the same motifs. One way of thinking is that there was one mythology in the ancient past, and then as the races moved and the continents drifted they customized it to the special geography and topography of where they lived until we got the unique region myths we know today. However, the basis is the same, so even though there are differences in these myths due to geography, topography, and culture, their motif and theme remain very similar. And when I thought about which mythology served as the basis, I concluded that it was the Old Testament. Which means YHWH, the god of the Old Testament, is the basis for all the gods around the world, from a folklorist’s standpoint. Now, I would like you to know that in Megaten, YHWH is not portrayed as the embodiment of evil. -Kaneko
I trimmed it down to the pertinent bits, apologies to darknobiyuki and Kaneko. Admittedly, Kaneko's answer is still somewhat of a head-scratcher even when considering JJCAT. But of key interest are the "when I thought about which mythology served as the basis, I concluded that it was the Old Testament" quote and his ludicrous explanation that the biblical narrative and YHVH are the basis of all religions and folklore around the world. It's obvious, as he says himself by calling the subject "delicate," that he's skirting around the issue at hand. But where do we see an instance of exactly what Kaneko describes, of the Hebrew Bible influencing a distant culture in a past age? JJCAT, of course. It also resembles prisca theologia, but its conclusion isn't too dissimilar from JJCAT's worldview, plus we don't have a direct Kaneko quote talking about it. JJCAT is simply the easiest explanation for the bonkers religious dissemination scenario Kaneko describes.

There's also an oblique mention of JJCAT in another response. Replying to a question about his influences, Kaneko includes "Scientific theory from all times and places: This encompasses ones I can’t begin to comprehend, and even obviously ludicrous ones." "Obviously ludicrous" theories, huh? At least this proves he never took JJCAT too seriously... 


3D model of Koppa Tengu; notice the
tokin/kippah and scroll
3. Jewish tengu. If you're still unconvinced by the influence of JJCAT on SMT, this is the one that'll persuade you. Kaneko's older tengu designs from SMT1 and Devil Summoner are depicted in typical Shugendo or yamabushi garb; both wear tokin on their foreheads. Similarly, Nocturne's Karasu Tengu has a traditional look, brandishing a shakujou; the veil covering its presumed "beak" sadly obscures the "crow" tengu's defining feature, however--if it's even there at all.

But Nocturne's two other tengu designs embrace JJCAT wholeheartedly. First, the innocuous Koppa Tengu (
木っ端天狗 or "konoha tengu," 木の葉天狗). This diminutive guy has the tengu hallmarks, like the long-nosed mask (ironically, none of Nocturne's tengu may actually have naturally long sniffers) and the oddly flat tokin that resembles a Jewish kippah (or yarmulke) but is too far forward on the head and has a crimped, segmented pattern, so let's still call it a tokin (though consider its appearance on the 3D model). Regardless, the scroll hanging off his neck may be the smoking gun, likely meant to represent a "tora-no-maki." Its single-roller design doesn't match the two rollers of actual Torah scrolls, but it's nonetheless a conspicuous feature as koppa tengu are too weak to dispense training or knowledge; however, as their histories do suggest subservience to higher tengu, it's likely that the scroll is meant to belong to the Koppa's superior, the ones truly implicated in JJCAT's tora/Torah claim.

Kurama Tengu wears a conspicuous
tefillin and kippah
Speaking of superiors, Kurama Tengu. Right off the bat, you can see that Kurama wears yamabushi attire but also distinctly Jewish accessories, both a tefillin and a kippah. Kaneko isn't even trying to obscure the distinct box shape of the tefillin, which is pretty amazing. Kurama is also seen blowing on a horagai conch, but one has to wonder if a prototype of the design wasn't using a shofar ram's horn instead, not that the difference matters to JJCAT enthusiasts. This design choice is so blatant there's not much more to add, but it is worth mentioning that Kurama Tengu was initially named Izuna in an early build of the game, using the same model. Izuna Gongen was offered cult worship as a powerful martial deity, but Kurama doesn't physically resemble his descriptions too closely. It's possible, therefore, that the Kurama model was intended as a substitute for an unrendered Izuna because, based on more Kaneko design comments, the initial plan was to design "a lot of Tengu, including the Defender Lord, but it would have been too much. Cooler Tengu will appear from now on, so please look forward to them." Alas, these cooler tengu have yet to surface.


4. Baal Avatar, Gozu-Tennoh, and comparative mythology. Exactly what the enigmatic Baal Avatar is meant to be has been difficult to determine. An avatar of Baal, obviously. But what does that even mean? Luckily, JJCAT and Kubo's tenuous Canaanite-Japanese comparative study have come to the rescue; however, note that this entry has more to do with comparative mythology than JJCAT specifically.


Top row: Yam vs. Baal, Baal into Beelzebub
Bottom: Orochi vs. Susanoo,
Susanoo equated with Gozu-Tennoh
It's straightforward to explain how Kubo concluded that Baal and Susanoo were one and the same. Undoubtedly, the comparisons came because they are both storm gods and probably also because they rumbled with antagonists associated with water (Yam for Baal, Yamata no Orochi for Susanoo; compare their names, even!). There are definite similarities, but, from an empirical point of view, that doesn't also mean direct connections between the two exist.


They also share a similarity that's far less known. Baal is sadly most famous (or infamous) in the West for being a conquered, "false" god who became (or always was) a demon, going by names like Beelzebub, Bael, Baalberith, etc.; was this history's most successful smear campaign or what? As for Susanoo, he eventually merged with the ox-headed pestilence deity Gozu-Tennoh, enshrined at Yasaka shrine. So here we have two storm gods with counterparts possessing commonalities related to disease, filth, and other nastiness. Baal also used the bull as a symbol, similar to the bovine-headed Gozu-Tennoh; in real life that means almost nothing, but for this particular comparison it's meaningful.


The identity of Nocturne's Baal Avatar thrives off these comparative similarities, as seen in Chiaki's side of the story. Power-hungry, she accepts from the defeated Gozu-Tennoh the remnants of his essence and transforms. Later, having squeezed enough Plot Device Juice from Manikins' heads, she finally summons her Reason god, Baal Avatar, in a flash of lightning. From here, you could say the narrative told is an evolution from a negative deity to a positive one--but this would be a premature judgment. When you fight Baal Avatar later in the final dungeon, she has the irritating, Curse-element skill Bael's Bane, which turns you into a fly, evoking both Bael and Beelzebub in a single move. Chiaki's arc isn't about discrete transformations, but instead represents the same kind of syncretization that saw Susanoo absorb Gozu-Tennoh in Japanese religion. Baal Avatar is a representation of the "Baal" concept in totality, from the heights of a god of storms and fertility to the depths of demons and death.

Baal Avatar is born with a flash of lightning, exits with a flash of lightning, and summons lightning in battle
Note that Susanoo doesn't appear in Nocturne; presumably, Gozu-Tennoh was meant to be his proxy. And who is Gozu-Tennoh's right-hand man? None other than Thor, the thunderer. Nocturne's writers knew what they were doing, that much is certain. Surprisingly, the Baal/Beelzebub and Susanoo/Gozu-Tennoh connection resurfaces in a Shin Megami Tensei IV questline where, before he turns into Beelzebub, Baal is worshipped by locals under the name "Gozutennou." SMT4's quest writers also knew what they were doing! 

Masakado's kubizuka in Nocturne
5. Masakados, the True Demon Enabler. That quote of Kaneko's from the Digital Devil Apocalypse interview about Masakado as the "imperfect hero" for opposing a Jewish imperial court is too outrageous to ignore. Yeesh. At least Kaneko acknowledges Masakado's "imperfection" for donning such a role, even if it doesn't fully absolve him of the implications.

Regardless of what Kaneko actually meant by "imperfect hero," it's the JJCAT context provided by the quote that becomes vital for understanding Masakado's purpose and motivations in certain games and we get the first instance of its questionable application here in Nocturne, though the Maniacs version specifically. In the original version, sans the True Demon Ending content, the Masakados magatama you get for collecting all the others was just a nice, completely optional, bonus. Kagutsuchi isn't that difficult of a boss, but the nigh-invulnerability of the magatama still made it highly desirable.


In that version, acquiring and using Masakados is innocuous. Masakado bequeaths the magatama to the Demi-fiend, ostensibly passing his spirit of Tokyo protector to the boy. Besides passively voiding all elements but Almighty, the magatama teaches you every Repel elemental skill and Megidolaon. And, as stated, it's not necessary to complete the game. It's a glorified cameo for Masakado, who is otherwise pretty unimportant to the game's plot. And even if Kagutsuchi is a YHVH avatar, the most elaborate, and thus most desirable, outcome available in this initial release of Nocturne is the Freedom ending that resets the world to its pre-Conception state, bearing the humanistic angle seen in SMT2 (and SMT1's Neutral ending).


The ultimate power trip
However, Maniacs alters the context. First, attaining the True Demon Ending by slaying Lucifer is easiest with Masakados. It's probably not as important as the Pierce skill, but is still vital for surviving what for many is a long, tough battle. With this "canonization," in a sense, of Masakados (and it would actually get legitimately canonized later in the series), it means that the player is now wearing the mantle of Masakado himself, killing a Jewish Kagutsuchi before squaring off with Lucifer in preparation for the ultimate foe: YHVH. The True Demon Ending is by far the most popular of Nocturne's outcomes with fans, so this hidden subtext is concerning.


Further, the abilities of the Masakados magatama, with its defensive Repels and top-tier Almighty offense, would seemingly be the inspiration for the series' future interpretations of Masakado, rather than history or folklore. Think it's just coincidence? Probably not when the internal Atlus team that would be responsible for future SMT titles is quite literally named after this Nocturne expansion. But all in due time!



Devil Summoner Raidou: Soulless Army / King Abaddon (2006 / 2008-9) 



Sukuna-hikona in Soulless Army
1. Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Superfluous Retcon Maniacs. This one is the result of a single, seemingly throwaway, reference but it mucks things up like you wouldn't believe. The "fun" begins in Soulless Army, where at the end you learn that the Kunitsu god Sukuna-hikona manipulated General Munakata into creating the Super Soldier project and, ultimately, the Soulless God with the intention of destroying Tokyo, all because Sukuna-hikona harbors millennia-old animosity towards the Yamato Amatsu gods for displacing the Kunitsu; his aversion includes "servants of the Amatsu," i.e., the Capital citizens and Raidou alike. Since the subjugation of the Kunitsu by the Amatsu did actually happen in Japanese mythological sources like the Kojiki, this is actually a logical motivation, albeit essentially a replication of what happened between the two groups in SMT2.

And then, with a single line of dialogue implicating JJCAT, King Abaddon recontextualizes at least three games. In the case file "Return of the Dead," Sukuna-hikona's best bud Okuninushi is stirring up trouble via the unbridled anger of the Kunitsu, similar to the previous game. While in gameplay terms this just means a series of successive battles against Kunitsu gods, Okuninushi's dialogue reveals much more: First, he mentions being in cahoots with a previous case's "prince of darkness" (Canaanite death god Mot), because he wants to kill the world; second, in reiterating the hegemony of the Amatsu, he reveals the Amatsu were allied with the "Hebraic gods" during their subjugation campaign, which apparently meant they were impossible for the Kunitsu to overcome; lastly, after his defeat, Okuninushi says that the "curse" (i.e., anger) of the Kunitsu can never fully dissipate and seals it away for 100 years.


The line of lines
The most important line of course is about the Hebrew-Amatsu alliance, which is pure, unfiltered JJCAT. It confirms that Jimmu's Yamato faction, as mentioned in Devil Summoner's backstory, is, at the very least, YHVH-condoned; keep in mind the mythological episode in which the Kunitsu concede to the Amatsu gods is all so that Amaterasu's grandson, Ninigi, can descend to earth and beget the Japanese imperial dynasty. Even though Okuninushi draws a distinction between Hebrew and Amatsu, it won't matter because assuredly this still implies that YHVH approves the actions of the Yamato clan, Jimmu included. 

Also retconned are Sukuna-hikona's actions and even appearance in Soulless Army as an effect of the "Kunitsu anger" curse. But in King Abaddon's present, the Kunitsu's collaboration with Mot is fascinating because it draws an interesting comparative line between the Kunitsu/Canaanite underdogs and the Amatsu/Hebrew favorites; no JJCAT is explicitly implied here, but the previous Baal-Susanoo connections leave the door open for other considerations. Unfortunately, since Mot is earlier handed a decisive defeat, this thread doesn't go anywhere.


But aside from the changes to the game's (or the series', really) entire ancient backstory, the biggest retcon introduced by this quest has to do with the Kunitsu curse's approximate 100-year sealing. Since the Raidou games take place in the early 1930s, the passage of about 100 years would unleash the curse around 2030, canonically after the events of SMT1 and during the lead-up to SMT2. Surely no coincidence, this otherwise completely arbitrary number means it's intended to provide an alternate explanation for why the Kunitsu betrayed the Amatsu with YHVH in that game, as discussed prior. But as explained above, this retcon is completely unnecessary because mythology already has a built-in reason why the Kunitsu might act that way, given the chance. Additionally, read between the lines of this curse and you'll find that it exonerates the Kunitsu with an insanity defense, characterizing them as essentially good little deities who only experienced a lapse of rationality because their brethren cavorted with a foreign pantheon to gain the upper hand. Ahhhh, that good ol' Maniacs Team nationalism and xenophobia! 


2. Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Three-Legged Solar Bird of God. So sayeth Kaneko, "Yatagarasu is YHVH’s messenger"; the fat from this succulent quote will feed the fire of multiple entries. But as for Raidou, he operates under the Herald of Yatagarasu, who herself is the representative of the eponymous Avian. And why is Yatagarasu important, exactly? Because it was sent by the gods (either Amaterasu or Takagi no kami) to lead founding figure Jimmu to the Yamato promised land, establishing divine rule on earth.

Japanese print of Yatagarasu
lighting the way for Jimmu
But as we've seen, Shin Megami Tensei and Kaneko like to associate this founding Yamato myth with YHVH and JJCAT. As Yatagarasu itself is central to the myth, SMT's interpretation of events would mean that the bird is at the very least involved with the Hebraic Law faction, if not somehow reinterpreted to be part of it. Outlandish as this seems, there is a comparative parallel in the Hebrew Bible, as Yahweh's Pillars of Cloud and Fire guide Moses and the Israelites to the Promised Land during the Exodus; so here, under the auspices of JJCAT, is Yatagarasu not acting as a similar divine guide to Jimmu? Or, with a more liberal interpretation, could it possibly even represent the Holy Spirit itself which, in Christianity, is typically depicted as a bird? But since Kaneko calls him a messenger, and that's the literal meaning of "angel," that is probably the more logical conclusion.

Anyway, no matter how you interpret the precise provenance of Yatagarasu, the fact remains that it is a Yamato mythological figure, and the Yamato are the torch-bearers of JJCAT in SMT. So, bizarrely, this implicates Raidou, and other Kuzunoha line errand-boys for Yatagarasu, as servants of the Law of YHVH even though they are also descendants of the Hata clan who feuded with the Yamato; not all of them turned into angry spirits like Inaruna, I suppose. But whether Yamato or Hata, the Kuzunohas are absolutely filthy with JJCAT!



Devil Survivor (2009)



Cain and Abel. Just because one's "a Bel," Adam's and Eve's first children reincarnate as two Japanese youths, Naoya and the protagonist, respectively; however, given the game's devotion to its central "Bel" theme, it's doubtful JJCAT is the primary motivation for that revelation. While this tenuous example was worth mentioning for thoroughness' sake, that's probably it for even remote instances of JJCAT in the Devil Survivor series. I mean, you could always cite the Tokyo axis mundi clause, YHVH's involvement, etc., but, without any direct evidence, examples like these are not so much evidence for deliberate JJCAT as they are mere perpetuations of series traditions. 



Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (2009/2010) 



Kaneko's Yatagarasu
1. Yatagarasu(el), the crow angel. Believe it or not, Strange Journey gives us more crow to chew. Yatagarasu appears in the late game Cosmic Egg fetching sequence on the Law and Chaos paths, guarding Bootes' egg (Zelenin is there on Neutral). I'll let the bird speak for itself:

Law route:

Humble, humble...I welcome you, [MC]. My brothers and I have obtained the Cosmic Egg Mem Aleph seeks so desperately. It was no mean feat...but I hoped to be of service to you. I came to offer you this, that you might create a world driven by the Holy Spirit. Please take it...
There will be demons after the Egg, no doubt. But I have had a vision... I see you marching on, striking down their evil... You will use this to create a perfect world, between your power and Mistress Zelenin's...

Chaos route:

My, my. You are [MC], he who has cast his lot with the demons of destruction, I presume? What breed of hatred drives you to fill the human world with demons...? Most regrettable. I, Yatagarasu, shall deliver this Cosmic Egg to Mistress Zelenin. But I have one other errand first. I shall deliver you to your death!

"Kashikomi" entry
in the SJ guide
Some curious choices for dialogue here. "A world driven by the Holy Spirit," "use this to create a perfect world," "what breed of hatred drives you to fill the human world with demons," and so on and so forth. Yatagarasu has cast its lot with Zelenin and Law to an extreme you only typically see with the angelic host. There's a potential translation issue with his use of "Holy Spirit"--the Japanese uses the much less specific phrase "善き霊," or "spirit of goodness"--but what else could it be referring to, really? As a related aside, Yatagarasu's "humble, humble" phrase is also bizarre, but for a completely different reason: The equivalent Japanese phrase is "kashikomi, kashikomi" (かしこみ, かしこみ), which is apparently from a Shinto prayer. It must be obscure because the Japanese Strange Journey guide has an extra topic about the phrase, as seen in the adjacent image.


But there's more to Yatagarasu's presence than idle chit-chat. Consider the other Cosmic Egg guardians: Wu Kong in Antlia, Zhuyin in Carina, and Cherub in Delphinus. Two Chinese Chaos demons, one angel of Law. Just because there's correlation between one pair doesn't imply the same for the other, but it sure looks like a slam dunk when you take the potential Cherub + Yatagarasu duo with Yatagarasu's talk about the Holy Spirit and "perfect" worlds.


The one wrinkle here is that Strange Journey more or less returns to the SMT1 idea of alignments as inclusive absolutes rather than the grand-scale schoolroom cliques we typically see. For example, on the way to Yatagarasu in Bootes you can run into a Pallas Athena that is enraptured by Zelenin's song; like Yatagarasu, Athena wouldn't normally be considered part of YHVH & The Boys even though she's Light-Law. Still, the difference here may be the effects of Zelenin's voice: Athena seems brainwashed, while Yatagarasu remains composed. Overall, Strange Journey's incorporation of Yatagarasu is intriguing, if not definitive, evidence of JJCAT, especially when married with that incredible "Yatagarasu is YHVH's messenger" quote from Kaneko. 


2. Mem Aleph. The name. The third eye. The recumbent, Buddha-like pose. Golden aureolae with delicate rays accentuating a golden body, calling to mind the thousandfold Kannon statues at Kyoto's Sanjusangendo. Mem Aleph is the embodiment of JJCAT, with nominal and iconographic features from all purported stops of the tribe of Gad's mythical eastward journey.


Mem Aleph
Comparative observations seem to be the genesis of Mem Aleph herself. The Strange Journey books I have, the Perfect Guide and Schwarzwelt Reminiscences, both relate to Mem Aleph the common or approximate /ma/ sound for words denoting "mother" or motherhood in Indo-European languages, hence the creation of her name using the Hebrew "mem" & "aleph" to signify the /m/ and /a/ phonemes respectively (as, at least to Kaneko & JJCAT, YHVH is the progenitor of gods and thus Hebrew would be the original language). Also, and this is not mentioned anywhere in these Japanese books as far as I can tell, in Jewish mysticism, particularly chapter three of the Sefer Yetzirah, the Hebrew letters "shin," (
ש) "aleph," (א) and "mem" (מ) are called the "mother letters" and represent the feminine, fecund powers of Yahweh's creation; in the creation of woman, Yahweh specifically infused the effects of these letters in the order Shin-Mem-Aleph, the reverse of men's Aleph-Mem-Shin. While that may lend extra, if coincidental, meaning to how Kaneko or whomever devised Mem Aleph's name, a shame there's nothing else in Shin Megami Tensei to explain what happened to the "shin."

The Strange Journey Perfect Guide's extra materials also take special note of how the letter "mem" was derived from the Hebrew word for water, "mayim," curiously illustrated through the latter's use in the Israeli folk song "Mayim Mayim" which incorporates the words of Isaiah 12:3, "with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (JP just because I went to the trouble: "
喜びをもって井戸の水を汲む"). The significance of this to Mem Aleph is probably twofold. First, the fact that "water" is contained at the root of her name is important because water is the chief primordial chaos in both evolutionary biology and mythology and is referenced by Mem Aleph in her skill Great Flood. Second, there appears to be a concerted, if dubious, effort to highlight how even "mayim" contains "ma," but, then again, Shin Megami Tensei has a predilection for grasping at etymological straws; I mean, this is the same game that where Asura evolves into Asherah because of their shared "as" particle. Similarly, a previous observation of mine noted Mem Aleph's "ma" connections probably include the "ma"/"demon" kanji () incorporated into much of the series' Japanese terminology, which is too conspicuous to have gone unnoticed, particularly for "the mother of demons."

Additionally, the game's other Big Mamas like Tiamat and Maya are described in Schwarzwelt Reminiscences as the "bunrei" of Mem Aleph. Like the Names of YHVH in SMT2, this implies that the other Mothers are meant to be Mem Aleph's avatars or her extensions. Unlike SMT2, here the term appears in a game with additional JJCAT thematics, used in tandem with Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern concepts to justify what is otherwise a bog standard exercise in comparative mythology between mother goddesses.


In short, Mem Aleph is the Mother Earth principle or the primordial goddess of the Goddess movement, yet given a form that corresponds to JJCAT. Her profile also fits Kaneko's Nocturne-era comment about YHVH being the source of everything as well, if her Hebrew name in relation to the dissemination of the "ma" particle around the world is anything to go by. However, just by being Chaotic and female, she is intrinsically YHVH's inverse even as she is also, by JJCAT reckoning, his "bunrei."



Shin Megami Tensei IV / Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse (2013 / 2016) 



Stephen in SMT4A, literally an
interdimensional know-it-all
1. The JJCAT manifesto. Because of Shin Megami Tensei IV's and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse's shared world and backstory, it will be impossible to talk about one without the other, so I've combined the duology into a single category. Unfortunately, not all of 4A's retcons mesh perfectly with SMT4's establishments and there are some blatant contradictions, some of which will be discussed. But, for starters, let's review the JJCAT-related comments made by 4A's scenario writer Yusuke Miyata and SMT4 director and 4A producer Kazuyuki Yamai in the 4A artbook interview:
(1) Yamai: In SMT4, you gain the Navagraha crest and Masakado’s power becomes the key, while this time you get Kuzuryuu and use Masakado’s power to go to YHVH’s universe.
(2) Miyata: Besides Law and Chaos existing in the first place, contrast cannot exist without opposing forces. Lucifer needed to be born from YHVH, the root of everything...

(3) Miyata: The Ark [containing Krishna] is at the Kanda Shrine because we used the Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestor Theory as the base.
While these admissions from Miyata directly confirm 4A is based around JJCAT (in-game dialogue also supports it, such as the almighty, all-wise Stephen calling YHVH the definitive "Creator"), there's no equivalent acknowledgement for its predecessor. But this will hardly matter for SMT4, as we'll find out in the next entry. Also, this is your final reminder to check out the related Masakado article if you need a refresher on the guy's history, as his tortured soul is soon to become quite relevant. 

The Eastern Kingdom of Honorable Gad
2. The Eastern Kingdom of "Mikado." I'm sure this connection occured to some of you while reading the related entry in the first section. While there is no direct confirmation that SMT4's Mikado is specifically named in reference to JJCAT, it's a place nonetheless populated with strikingly suggestive evidence. The kingdom's official backstory chronicles that the original Akira broke through to the surface of the Tokyo dome, only to establish Mikado as King "Aquila" alongside the forces of Law. The prime detail is that Mikado is further populated by former Tokyoites--"chosen ones" carried away in special cocoons by Law, to avoid the nuclear judgment and thus begin the world anew.

Even though these people are still ethnically Japanese (Japanese remains the spoken language of Mikado according to 4A materials, even though signs in Naraku are written in English), the customs that emerge in Mikado are not. These include:

  • use of Western or Biblical given names, like Jonathan and Issachar
  • writing with Roman script
  • architecture that is medieval European in styling
  • use of a "Gregorian" calendar
  • its current king is Ahazuya, a mistranslation of the Japanese name (アハズヤ) for two biblical kings: Ahaziah of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah; it is likely meant to be Ahaziah of Israel (the son of Jezebel) as the game's Ahazuya, like his namesake, consorts with Baal/Beelzebub and this action is likewise portrayed as causing his downfall/death
  • and, on top of it all, Mikado is secretly governed by a literal archangel
The Mikadoans are a tribe of "God's people" who are Japanese but follow decidedly Western rituals and habits, and their human ruler is a direct allusion to an Israelite king; consequently, it doesn't feel like much of a stretch to say that the the name of the city is in reference to the JJCA theory about Mikado and the people of Gad. Heck, if Kaneko was the one to conceptualize Mikado, and he is indeed credited with SMT4's early scenario drafts, one need look no further than that direct quote of his from the Digital Devil Apocalypse interview where he mentions the Gad theory. But even beyond the name, the Mikado scenario as a whole is sound evidence for JJCAT influence. 

The Gaean sanctuary of Mem Aleph in SMT4
3. Mem Aleph, the Gaean goddess. Though largely a minor detail, the Chaotic Gaeans worshipping Mem Aleph makes a lot of sense given her functions in Strange Journey, but this nevertheless means that we have yet another group of Japanese people intertwined with a JJCAT concept. Even so, because she's just background decoration and isn't named at all in the story, her appearance is little more than a cameo. However, it would be remiss to overlook the additional details provided by the SMT4 artbook about the Gaeans' golden icon:
The members of the Ring of Gaea can be seen worshipping Mem Aleph in [the image], giving the impression of some primeval religion. This is another reference to "Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey." (laughs) Early versions of the Ring of Gaea had its members as more earthy, primitive-looking people who dug out a cave to use as their temple... But in the game, they just take over a famous real-life temple and use it to worship their own god.

The artwork and comments are both from SMT4's art director, Eiji Ishida, who also directed Strange Journey--thus he's someone fully aware of her significance. Though he seems to be giddy just to have inserted another SJ reference in the game (like the Demonica), Mem Aleph's statue is anything but a haphazardly placed callback. He knew what he was doing! 

One of Kagome Tower's "birdcages"
4. Kagome Tower. The name of this tower has always been a bit conspicuous to me, as if it is supposed to be immediately recognized. I believe that's still the case, only you might have to be Japanese to understand. It likely refers to the children's song and game "Kagome Kagome," also called the "bird-in-the-cage" song; considering that the tower exists so that you can rescue angels from their cages, this seems intentional. But what about JJCAT? If you remember, "kagome" refers to the basket weaving pattern in the hexagon/Star of David shape, and not only is this meaning not overlooked in the traditional song (the basket being the "cage"), SMT4's Kagome Tower isn't just a prison for angels, it's also a hideout mostly for fallen angels like Asmodeus, Halphas, Gemori, Dantalian, Murmur, and Orias--demons typically invoked with the hexagon/Seal of Solomon sigil. The only demon not a fallen angel is Okiku-mushi, who is nonetheless bound and suspended from an unseen ceiling, much like the angel cages. For such a dinky dungeon, Kagome Tower has a lot going on--and it seems to be intentional, too. 

4A's Odin and Dagda
5. Apocalypse's comparative myth freewheeling. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is notable for its liberal, let's say, interpretation of various mythical elements, like the relationships it implies for certain demons. Some have basis in real-world anthropology, like the Gallo-Celtic Dagda's similarities to the Germanic Odin/Wotan. But many others stretch the limits of credulity, such as Danu being an echo of Inanna, or whatever the hell is happening with Maitreya's transition to Mitra Bosatsu. Of course, this isn't the first time Shin Megami Tensei has pulled some of these comparisons out of its you-know-where (nor is it even the first time with Mitra), and it won't be the last. However, JJCAT makes SMT's fascinations with tenuous connections easier to swallow, as 4A's proprietary setting of biblical literalism means that all other gods are derivative of YHVH; therefore, everyone is connected, somehow. 

A Satan who doesn't know his own symbols
6. Things that might seem like JJCAT, but aren't. Before we get to the single worst implementation of JJCAT in the series, let's review a handful of ideas that might seem like they give off that JJCAT odor but instead reek of something else altogether. For example, when you finally reach the end of YHVH's Universe, Satan's fusion animation curiously includes an upright pentagram. Of course, it's the inverted pentagram that's actually associated with Satan in occultism (and a very modern symbol at that, which belies the game's intention for Satan to be a "primeval angel," 天使), but are they trying to say something else with it? In Japanese onmyodo, the famous onmyoji Abe no Seimei's symbol was that of an upright pentagram; is Seimei the power behind Satan? The upright pentagram or pentacle is also a Wiccan symbol; is Satan really a witch? The answer to all of these questions is "of course not"; whoever was in charge of this animation had a general idea of what to do but not the actual knowledge needed for accurate implementation. It's a minor blunder, but a revealing one.

Silly, one-off blunders are one thing; rampant nationalism is another. As I talked at length about in Part 3 of Shin Megami Tensei's Identity Crisis, SMT4's xenophobic undertones are a blight upon the game's already uneven narrative. But cringeworthy as they are, the anti-Chinese sentiment, the "foreign" demons, a reactor called "Yamato," and jingoist National Defense Divinities have no relation to JJCAT--except for one big name specifically, who is the subject of the next entry.


4A's "Patriots"
4A tries to atone for the nationalism, and in the process admits it was a problem, with its questline about the "Patriots" and the extant brain of a man named Tamagami, a racist who was secretly behind every instance of xenophobia in the previous game (except the Sinophobia and "foreign" demons; those are apparently still OK). It even goes so far as to demonize (no pun intended) the National Defense Divinities, who are now the result of cruel experiments on humans. Needless to say, these retcons contradict aspects of SMT4's established narrative, the basis of which is still "canon" in 4A; given that SMT4 featured a noticeable quality disparity in mythological portrayals between the lows of its main scenario and highs of its sub-scenario quests, it's possible that this questline was spearheaded by the sub-scenario writers to address something they saw as "not in the spirit of Megaten." Regardless of who was responsible, it's laudable that someone on the staff went to these course-correcting lengths even though it's alarming that these cringeworthy themes weren't addressed during the production of SMT4. 


SMT4's Masakado
7. Masakado, the anti-Semitic "hero." Taira no Masakado, I'm so, so sorry. Though, historically speaking, you got yourself in way over your head and beyond your abilities and resources, any notion of justice you may have once possessed has now been twisted by JJCAT and Shin Megami Tensei, turning your legacy into quite literally a sinewy mass of bigoted nationalism. Next time I stop by your grave, I'll leave you a small bottle of C.C. Lemon, unopened, as an offer of sympathy.

Anyway, for an article whose subtitle claims charges of anti-Semitism, there really hasn't been too much of it to show thus far--the debatable bit about YHVH, but not much else. That changes here. While Masakado has never been mentioned in JJCAT as far as I researched, he could very easily belong within its framework, as evidenced by Kaneko's scandalous Digital Devil Apocalypse quote. We've seen it many times before already, but one last time:

If we were to follow the theory that the Imperial Family is part of the Hebrew lineage, then he would also become the one who opposed the Jews. The imperfect hero, so to speak. It would be cool if that kind of man existed.

The full Masakado-JJCAT story would go like this. If the Japanese imperial family is Jewish, and Masakado is a rebel against its authority, then it follows that he represents defiance against Jewish rule; he would be a nationalist hero striving to "purify" the land of foreign influence and reestablish native ideals. And no, it doesn't seem to matter too much that the historical Masakado had a smidgen of imperial blood him, because most Japanese people under JJCAT are said to ultimately be descended from the lost Jewish tribe anyway. This recontextualization of Masakado is crucial to understanding his significance in Shin Megami Tensei IV and Apocalypse.

And so, Masakado is practically the spiritual epicenter of the SMT4 universe, evidenced by the hyperbolized magnitude of his role in both games. Let's have a little thought exercise to express just how favorably SMT4's writers portrayed Masakado. Imagine you were in the games' 25-years-prior backstory, in a Tokyo where you could summon gods and creatures of all kinds into literal existence, and a YHVH-approved nuclear barrage was heading your way. Which deity or deities would you summon to protect the city and yourself?

  • Would you try to match YHVH's almighty authority and call forth the supreme Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda?
  • What about a Buddha of cosmic dimension like Vairocana or a compassionate, far-reaching Bodhisattva like the thousand-armed Kannon? Instead, why not a powerful grouping of Buddhist deities, like the five wrathful Wisdom Kings?  
  • How about summoning the absolute powers of the Hindu Vishnu or Shiva, both with expansive mythical repertoires that could summarily handle physical inter-continental ballistic missiles?
  • Or, would you summon a dead samurai with a spooky floating head who maybe overturned a bulldozer one time?
Masakado, the shield against "God's Plan"
If you are Shin Megami Tensei IV, you pick the latter. And because Masakado never possesses that large of a frame, even in legendary accounts that peg him as a 7-foot tall iron giant, SMT4 overcompensates by literally turning him into a towering colossus, not to mention naming him as one of the National Defense Divinities. You see, Masakado isn't some puny, inconsequential spirit. He's yuge. He's a tremendous, tremendous figure who does amazing work and we're all safer now that he built his big, beautiful wall to protect us from the Jewish hordes, because you know they aren't sending their best ICBMs.

In all fairness, the apotheosized Masakado of real life is something of a tutelary deity, even if SMT4 goes overboard with its invented embellishments by transforming him further into the big, beautiful wa...er, dome of bedrock that endures the brunt of the nuclear strike but seals Tokyo underground. However, it's as the Tokyo dome that Masakado exhibits his most curious, most blatantly fabricated ability, at least according to a 4A retcon; but before I make it explicit, let's ponder the situation with another thought exercise. Imagine you're in the backstory again as Flynn's previous incarnation. You're about to sacrifice yourself to aid Masakado in forming the dome, but you have a final wish: The preservation of Tokyo as it stands in your present. How do you accomplish this? By calling on the power of the universal preserver, Vishnu? Nope. By manipulating time and space with temporal gods like Aion or Zurvan? Getting warmer. By having Masakado slow time for some reason? Bingo. Being a rebel samurai is good enough to give you permanent bullet time, it seems. And if that's not enough, it is implied in the 4A interview that Masakado's maintenance of Tokyo supplies it with potable water.


With just a few strokes of a writer's pen, Masakado is upgraded from vengeful spirit to chthonic protector, god of time, and even a preserver of life. Along with his newly-designed, titan-sized frame, he's a deity to challenge the actual creator of the universe (again, in Stephen's--the Author's/Atlus'-- words, not mine), but yet he plays second fiddle to the Tokyo Goddess, the most exalted and contrived deity, though that's old news from Identity Crisis. So that's where Masakado stands as the game begins; more precisely, a pile of rocks representing his head sits in the middle of a Ginza intersection, awaiting the reincarnation of a Neutral Hero Boy.


At the risk of reiterating Identity Crisis' skewering of Masakado's behavior in SMT4's Neutral path, the implications of JJCAT build on the connotations of its ultra-nationalist diatribe about the elimination of foreign influences in Tokyo, but not in the ways you might think. To that end, the act of destroying Merkabah and Lucifer, thus earning Masakado his magical MacGuffin Viagra pills so he can become big again, doesn't have much to do with it, even if this directive still reeks of very heavy bias towards Masakado (a deity whose motivations are never, ever questioned). This questline is ethnocentric, nationalist, xenophobic, etc. in its portrayal, but at its nucleus it remains a Law/Neutral/Chaos ideological conflict, so, despite the obvious bias, the inherent disparities and choices lend the perspective needed to understand it was doubtlessly intended to imitate traditional SMT alignment discord; to the game's credit, you can completely destroy Tokyo on the Law path if you so choose--and Masakado can't do a thing about it.

Masakado being called "patriot" is a
positive in the same game where
American patriotism is literally
demonized and "haunts" the
Japanese survivors of an area
destroyed by American(/YHVH's) ICBMs
Instead, the JJCAT dynamics affect the intentions of the SMT4 Neutral ending. Before we get into that, however, there's a couple things to remember. First, that Masakado is considered a "patriotic warrior" (JP: 憂国
, lit., "samurai with patriotic concern for the future of his country") by "good guys" Fujiwara and Skins, so, subsequently, any of his actions are endorsed as morally upstanding and pro-Japanese (and not Japanese-Jewish) by the game and its writers. Second, that the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado is a JJCAT refuge; and if you want to throw in 4A's commentary into the mix, it further defines its universe as one where JJCAT serves as its basis, where apparently the Bible (or Old Testament, more likely) is actually 100% truthful, where Japanese are descended from Israelites and, you know, anything else that's been previously discussed about the theory.

It just so happens that both of these elements intersect in the SMT4 Neutral ending cutscene. The defeat of all other gods before him restores Masakado to full power, enabling removal of the ceiling--his body--containing Tokyo. While the Tokyoites get to see the sun for the first time in 25 years (the sun itself a symbol of Japan), it's bad news for the city built on top of Masakado; while its citizens had all been led safely to the Tokyo underground beforehand, Mikado is completely destroyed as the ceiling recedes. The Mikadoans, now effectively refugees, are treated to front row seats to watch their city and civilization crumble to dust before their eyes, and must forthwith assimilate to the culture that judged their way of life as illegitimate; if this statement sounds overly dramatic, that's only because Mikado's representatives in the ending, like Hugo and K, seem all too happy to finally be free of their home and native land--in a reversal of a JJCAT conceit, it's the "Jewish"-Japanese "lost tribe" that is folded back into the Tokyo whole. The final shot of the ending is Masakado towering over the remains of Tokyo as supreme deity of the world; this is no exaggeration, as 4A reveals, or rather confirms, that everyone on Earth not under Masakado's protection died in nuclear fire or by demons' hands.


The victorious Masakado: "I will say of the
Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in Him will I trus
t." -Psalm 91:2
This is literally what happens in the ending, and it's the surrounding context that makes it so problematic: Masakado, emphasized as a Japanese "patriot" and thus expressly representing Japan as a nation and people, annihilates expressly Judeo-Christian concepts that would otherwise pollute his Tokyo, a city portrayed as precious and fragile. This is not an ideological battle; those against Merkabah and Lucifer have already been won by Masakado. No, the admittedly senseless eradication of Mikado represents a nationalist assertion of cultural and ethnic superiority over an alien insurgency. Really, there was no saving Mikado, not just because it was built on Masakado's back and thus "oppressing" him, but because its elimination is a highly symbolic act, one explicit of Masakado's own symbolism as rebel against authority. But here in SMT4 it carries a double meaning, the first signifying his historical rebellion against Japanese authority (going by the literal meaning of "mikado": "emperor"), and the second the Kaneko-suggested JJCAT connotation of rebellion against "Jewishness." The game and its writers are emphatic that no compromises are to be made with entities representing Jews and Christians and, most of all, that "Japaneseness" is an assumptive virtue superior to other philosophies and customs.


All that trouble from a word (patriot) and implications of setting. But, as noted in the previous section, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse rolls back much of its nationalist and racist subtext through retcons and outright purging. In fact, Mikado is not destroyed in its unequivocally "good" ending; Mikadoan and Tokyoite alike are seen harnessing demons to renovate the medieval city. As stated before, these changes seem like an admission that the previous game's content could easily be interpreted negatively. Unfortunately, these would only be half-measures; Apocalypse's approach to these issues is one step forward, two Masakado-sized steps backward.


Since Apocalypse splits off of SMT4 before its Neutral conclusion, its circumstances naturally diverge, though Masakado remains a vital player. He never appears during gameplay in any specific form other than the rock formation in Ginza; a Doi redesign of him wasn't in the cards, apparently. But that matters little, as Masakado has another transformation and power up his sleeve.


The "power" of the Masakado monolith (top right)
is what allows transport to and the defeat of YHVH
After the conclusion of the Cosmic Egg sequence on the Bonds route, Flynn intercedes with Masakado for help in rebuilding the world, itself another ridiculous aggrandizement of the Taira spirit. However, Masakado refuses on the grounds that he is no longer needed by Tokyo because it has two messiahs, Flynn and the protagonist; the soul of Masakado then departs the rock via a beam of pure light, and that is not a joke. Enter Stephen, who tells you in a dream to kill YHVH or never enjoy true freedom. Meeting at Ginza, the nine pillars from the Cosmic Egg are absorbed into Masakado's seemingly lifeless rock, which metamorphoses it into a flat, shiny 2001-style monolith. But it's not just for looks, as the new Masakado monolith has the power to transport the party to YHVH's secluded universe, for no good reason other than because Stephen says so. Masakado is already a master of time in SMT4--so why not space as well, yeah? On the Massacre route, no direct mention of Masakado is made at all, but the rock still becomes the monolith; so unless he turns tail off-camera because he's spooked of a pair of teenagers, one can presume Masakado's spirit remains within the rock, as his reason for withdrawing in Bonds, the messiahs, is invalid on Massacre. Moreover, the game's producer Yamai confirms in the interview that it is "Masakado's power" that transports you to YHVH's Universe.


I'm quite happy the scope of this article means I can largely avoid talking about what happens in YHVH's Universe, but I can't ignore 4A's, uh, "different" take on the big guy himself. According to Stephen, who, in the words of the game's creators, is practically a Buddha and therefore to be trusted without question, YHVH is both the Great Architect of the Universe and a being who uses human Observation and Law/Chaos conflict with the sole purpose of perpetuating his own existence. However, even though he is the supreme being of the universe, YHVH becomes uniquely vulnerable to Observation-based logic strings introduced at the eleventh hour, is portrayed as a bit of a moron after his angelic robot creation Satan turns on him (gotta have that SMT2 reference), and is ultimately transformed into a chimeric mess of biblical plagues and a gecko to "give him a taste of his own medicine," all of which allows for a convenient human victory. Even through SMT2 portrays YHVH as the Old Testament's wrathful and jealous destructor, he at least had a plan to begin creation anew somewhere else. 4A's YHVH is characterized as an entirely egotistic entity and master manipulator, in the style of anti-Semitic canards like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that purport a self-serving Jewish cabal secretly runs the world. In trying to put a new spin on Megami Tensei II's and Shin Megami Tensei II's conclusions, they succeeded only in adding shameful insult to embarrassing injury.


YHVH has seen better days in SMT
So whether or not his spirit actually departs the rock, Masakado's body and "power" is the vehicle that aids and abets deicide of an unambiguously Jewish God, according to how Shin Megami Tensei portrays YHVH. In a game that goes to convoluted lengths to explain certain things, like Observation, there is precisely no explanation for why Masakado's rock transforms into a monolith and why it can warp you across the universe; it could have been written or justified any other way (utilizing elements established within the game world like Purgatorium as a gateway to "Heaven," something to do with the Yamato Reactor and the Expanse, uncovering some arcane gateway hidden somewhere in Mikado, whatever the hell is happening in the Massacre route Cosmic Egg and its space backdrop, or even riding the Shene Duque cocoon that's otherwise sitting there doing nothing), but the Maniacs Team staff specifically chose to incorporate the infamous samurai rebel, Kazuma Kaneko's anti-Semitic JJCAT "hero." They...knew what they were doing.


It's a bit too late for that defense
Outside of the main scenario, there's an extra Masakado miscue, alluded to earlier, that I almost overlooked. In the game's "Messiahs of the Diamond Realm" DLC that unites all the series' heroes, the Demi-fiend's given elemental defenses void everything but Gun and Almighty. Almighty is a given and Gun wasn't present in Nocturne--this means that he has the Masakados magatama equipped! This is an official endorsement of the Demi-fiend as Heir of Masakado, slayer of YHVH avatar Kagutsuchi (since this Demi-fiend dies in the subsequent Lucifer battle), and presumed future opponent of the Jewish God; the spiritual superiority of an anti-Jewish Japanese ghost is irrefutable, according to the game's authors. While this mostly affects and illuminates how we perceive Nocturne itself, whoever wrote this DLC scenario had other options, like the Neutral Freedom ending, that wouldn't read so poorly with JJCAT even if the Demi-fiend was still using Masakados.


Before we leave Apocalypse entirely behind, there's just one more anecdote about the game's development cycle that needs to be brought to light. In October 2015, shortly after the game's announcement, Atlus teased a special event planned for the end of that month at Kanda Shrine, and encouraged Tokyoites to apply for invites. So what was the event? On October 28, 2015, a prayer ceremony was held for the game's successful completion; this a tradition, as Kaneko makes mention of them in the Digital Devil Apocalypse interview. However, Kanda Shrine just happens to be where Masakado is enshrined as a deity, meaning that Atlus organized a group prayer meeting to extend invocations to the very spirit at the center of this entire problematic scenario, in a game where Masakado is expressed to be superior to YHVH. What would otherwise be innocuous prayers wrapped around a marketing gimmick is transformed by the implications and subtext of JJCAT into a creepy, cult-like show of worship. Does no one at Atlus Japan realize their Japanese-language materials and events are still scrutinized by their overseas audience?


Irony or JJCAT revelation: Masakado
has the "kado" of "Gad" in his name;
is he a "self-loathing Jew"?

Without the additional context of scenario writer Yusuke Miyata's comments about the game's JJCAT foundations and the particulars of Masakado's character, we would largely have another ambiguous, SMT2-like situation on our hands. However, any story that considers JJCAT valid, contains someone like Masakado who was famed for opposing something primary to that theory (like the imperial line/Jewish "interlopers"), and utilizes said character to assist in opposing the ultimate cause of JJCAT itself has absolutely had all of these pieces intentionally placed by its author. Taken along with the overt nationalism in SMT4 proper, Atlus' Maniacs Team has a serious problem with their approach to the series--if nothing else!


SMT HD and the Future


Cooperation is still possible
The SMT HD project for Nintendo Switch currently exists only as a minute-and-a-half trailer for an Ultraman collaboration, but it's probably a safe bet that Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory could rear its head somewhere in its scenario, and elsewhere down the line. Given the form it's taken with the last couple of Maniacs Team's games, this could be cause for concern. On the bright side though, surely they got Masakado and YHVH out of their systems, meaning there's no way they could drop the ball as hard as they did previously, right? For some reason, I'm not exactly beaming with confidence.


To conclude this extended survey of Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory and SMT, let me try to iron out an irony that may have emerged to some: The fact that many of my claims about JJCAT-SMT links contain evidence that's merely circumstantial rather than empirical, something for which I damned JJCAT and its proponents. While not every example has been compelling, and I've admitted as such, this would be a false equivalency; a video game's fictional history is a complete fabrication by living authors who can provide direct quotes and admissions of influences, while a theory about history obligates its theorists to provide credible proof since the peoples in question are far too dead to speak for themselves. JJCAT is the epitome of the aphorism "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," and thus far lacks the extraordinary evidence needed for it to be taken seriously. So while JJCAT itself may lack a smoking gun, the words of the likes of Miyata, Kaneko, and the others involved surely count as empirical proof that this alternate take on SMT is more than a mere coincidence.



Promised Land of the Rising Sun



Let us hope Atlus never finds the Takenouchi
bunken
; footnote from Jews in the Japanese Mind
Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is your classic crackpot belief system, offering an alternate "hyperreality" intrinsically more exciting or mystical than our own, hence its appeal. I've already compared it to ancient astronaut theory, but JJCAT is apt to rub shoulders with other fringe all-stars like the flat Earth myth, the Reptilian conspiracies and the works of David Icke, and New World Order conspiracy theories. There is a religious-like zeal common to all of these systems that hinges on selective evidence to be even remotely plausible. JJCAT's religious bent is more plain to see, but it offers little of value except to Japanese Christians, to artificially exalt their standing in the Christian world. Paradoxically, Jews are both primary and ancillary to JJCAT, a theory that, through ethnocentrism, also diminishes the historical accomplishments of Japan's own people.


This article's mission was to explore the question, "How pervasive is JJCAT in SMT?" I believe I have sufficiently answered that question with a resounding "elephant in the room." But, as a corollary, I discovered other issues related to JJCAT and SMT's usage, like "Does JJCAT contain racist elements?" (answer: there are absolutely some) and, subsequently, "Is SMT racist for including  JJCAT?" But that's not a very useful question, as not everything about JJCAT is inherently racist, and SMT doesn't incorporate the elements that are, like the "tengu noses," so I'd have to answer it with "no." I'm going to sound like a broken record with this, but context matters. Regrettably, SMT4 and 4A have their own original spin on the subject that's just plain gross and shouldn't be ignored.


But keeping Masakado's symbolism and role in mind, that leads us to the final issue: "Do established anti-Semitic JJCAT themes imply intentional anti-Semitism on the part of Atlus?" In other words, were Atlus' writers and staff completely aware of how the games' messages would read, particularly to Western eyes, or were these undercurrents present through sheer ignorance? Let's weigh the evidence.


Some obvious examples for the "intentional" cause include SMT4's deplorable anti-Chinese scenario and general Japanese nationalist overtones, Maniacs Team retcons as seen in Raidou and 4A's DLC, and Kaneko's controversial "Jew-opposing hero" quote. The "unintentional" defense is naturally more difficult to qualify. But consider that the biggest offending games, SMT4 and 4A, had difficulty keeping their mythical figures accurately represented, whether SMT4's "evil" Sanat Kumara or 4A's bodhisattva brawler Maitreya and death metal Dagda, and it's suddenly not too difficult to believe that the sloppiness could extend to the thematics and the treatment of JJCAT.


My own take leans towards a combination of both explanations. On one hand, Japanese writers would completely understand the political subtext of SMT4's Ikebukuro Chinatown "cleansing"; so if this was no accident, it's entirely possible that, under Kaneko's influence, the "patriot" Masakado's anti-Jewish purpose in SMT4 and 4A was no accident either. On the other hand, being Japanese games made by Japanese people for primarily a  Japanese audience in a Japan that has had a tumultuous history with monotheistic religions, it's quite obvious to see that their interpretations of these "foreign" ideas may be quite different than ours, and may naturally focus on perceived contrasts with their native Shinto-Buddhism. In other words, SMT4's and 4A's writers were making an intentional statement of Japanese ethnic and/or religious supremacy, but were ignorant to any interpretation of this statement other than the one informed by their own Japanese views. For a series defined by religious imagery from around the world, ethnically-charged Masakado fanfiction was the worst decision possible.


Bedeviling Japanese products once again is that old bugaboo of "lack of perspective"; usually this manifests in circumscribed cultural stereotypes, like the typical American being white, blonde, wearing American flag clothing, and eating hamburger(s), or, in an actually offensive example, the use of  the "Darky" image of people of African descent. But a lack of awareness of other cultural contexts is no defense for writers and artists from any country, especially when what they are making is a product intended to be sold globally. Similarly, just because something like JJCAT is preposterous in reality doesn't exonerate the authors who employ it without proper consideration for its implications, in SMT4 and 4A especially. If you're going to play around with other people's cultures, you need to be culturally informed.


Stupid Asura...
It's sobering to find a skeleton in the closet of something you love, and uncovering Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory in Shin Megami Tensei has been no different. But it follows the pattern that the more time you spend with a long-running franchise, the more likely you are to discover the not-so-great things that may be hiding somewhere within it, here illustrated in what I call the "Shin Megami Tensei Bell Curve," seen adjacent. Digging through SMT's crust reveals the true character of demons; braving the mantle nets you the series' rewarding spectrum of mythical symbolism; however, by the time you get closer to the center and the perplexing etymological obsessions, JJCAT is just around the corner, waiting to turn your brain into mush with a final strike. The best I can spin Shin Megami Tensei and its relationship with Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory is "hey, at least Baal Avatar finally makes sense" and "that Yatagarasu stuff is pretty weird, right?" But there's no looking past the sheer ignorance of its racism, xenophobia, and the fact that the most harmful, specifically anti-Semitic instances of it have occurred in Maniacs Team games, leaving me with the impression that Shin Megami Tensei's future may not be in the most capable hands. I want to be proven wrong in SMT HD.


If there are any examples of JJCAT in the series you think I missed, let me know in the comments!


Special thanks to Soren and Anonymous Furniture for proofreading and suggestions, and to the Anon who pushed me in the right direction with Yatagarasu.


This article would have never been written without the translation skills of Dijeh! Please show your appreciation by buying this beleaguered soul a coffee at this link!


The Tumblr blog post that initially inspired this investigation can be found here


Primary sources:

95 comments:

  1. You glossed over the fact that in overclocked's eighth day it implicitly relates the angels and the amatsukami together. The in game part of Okuninushi giving over japan to control of the angels parallels his own lore giving leadership to the amatsukami. Who are themselves conspicuously absent from the entire ordeal, with japan being depicted as under his rather than their dominion. This is one of the more obvious times they are associated together.

    Its kind of weird though. By lumping the amatsukami in with the foreign invading bad influences, they are implicitly demonizing a huge part of the actual japanese religion. Interestingly, neutral often involves law and chaos entities working together, which could imply that nationalist identity would involve getting the more tolerable amatsukami and kunitsukami to get back together rather than letting jewish forces make them opposed. Weird situations like this arise when most neutral figures in game are historical figures, and the actual gods of their religion are pushed to law and chaos, despite shinto being strongly associated with neutral.

    Its kind of weird that they depict the emperor and powers in japan as law forces, when nationalism leans more neutral and chaos. When the emperor was the very embodiment of classical japanese nationalism. Also, the law forces have close to no eastern aesthetic. Its interesting that even in the old games, the gaians have ninja units, but not really samurai ones. Which could imply being of the lower classes, to show them being the underdogs to law. Its also odd to depict the emperor as law and ascribe a class-aesthetic to this when chaos is openly depicted as associated with hierarchy and monarchy, whereas law worlds tend to resemble communism and getting rid of hierarchy.

    Of course, this may go a level deeper. Since atlus really hates yhvh, and on II even on the law route you end up against him, the backstory may imply that yhvh's original goal was more hiararchical oriented, and this potential salvaging of it into something coherent is likewise against the original law structure. Of course, most law endings don't imply that there's that much of the side against you even if you end up against yhvh. So if that's what they were going for its not clear at what point the shift happened, or why it was so easy. Only II really limits the good figures of the law side to so few that you can consider it a rebellion against the original nature of the side itself. But whatever that original nature might be it is rarely shown in the games itself save for the center going crazy (implied to itself be a deviation) and yhvh himself being of such a nature.

    This entire sub aspect of the games is just a little bizarre. Especially since atlus apparently wants you to make decisions based on what figures its depicting in general, when to most fans in the west it more obviously comes down to the ideological aspects. And who would sideline the ideological aspects in favor of the figures in such a situation anyways?

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    Replies
    1. Continuing, since there is a character limit.

      Its a little weird that they put so much work into things that most people will never notice, and the ones who do often don't until they spend a ton of time trying to find them out. When a lot of this should be more overt. Its also a little wierd how like you said, past SMTI the law side starts getting depicted almost entirely abrahamic. References are still made to it being more expansive than this. Random gods who aren't angels being alongside the angels in SJ, and purgatorium. The toilet goddess referring to the law side as "the gods." And this entire subtle plot of them being in league with the amatsukami. A plot that is most conspicuous in the absence of it ever being explicit. There's little reason for amaterasu to not overtly show up as a law figure by this light other than that she's too japanese, and so wouldn't work with the aesthetic of law as scary others. Even though they confirm in the interview that she is indeed on the law side.

      This is unrelated entirely, but it stretches plausibility for us to buy steven's depiction as a "big good" when in iva he straight up doesn't give a shit if you take dagda's plan even though its way more extreme and crazy than most other options in many of the games. At least dagda has the excuse that he believed in his plan. Steven had no strong feelings about it, but doesn't care about any of its negatives as long as it counts as sufficiently "humanist". Despite it having more in common with chaos than with standard neutral. Which is another aspect of atlus operating on weird wavelengths. If dagda's plan counts as hummanist solely because its pro human and anti demon, then what if there was an inverted world where law and chaos were pro human but neutral was demonic? Would steven support those then? Based on this redefinition to allow dagda to count we should in theory have to ask this, yet the game itself directly has steven implying that humanism and neutral are irrevocably interlinked. Despite neutral losing most context of its meaning if extremist versions like dagda can be included. Nevermind the fact that dagda's plan more or less casually seems to involve -permanent- genocide of most demons, even trying to cut them off from reincarnation by making it harder for them to maintain form from observation. Something that even when the game is depicting it as bad never seems to be one of the things it is depicted as bad for. Even danu handwaves this as something she is sympathetic with, despite strange journey being clear that to demons returning to your "original form" is analogous to death. So atlus ironically intersects real racist and nationalist tendencies with fantastic racism about prioritizing humanity above all else, more or less barely giving a shit what happens to these other alien races in the process. Which comes off even more cold when you consider that these demons are shaped by human thoughts and so represent the flow of human ideas. They are inherently interconnected, yet treated like parasitic outsiders.

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    2. Superb mini-analysis there. :) As for why Stephen would "support" Dagda's ending--I always presumed he doesn't! He's complicit in the monolith business because I suppose he has to be there, plot limitations and all. But after you defeat YHVH, he appears in the Cosmic Egg space along with the Tokyo goddess to tell you to watch out because she's going to come after you. Seems like an empty threat at that point, but at least it shows he probably wasn't on your side after all.

      So Devil Survivor, I completely forgot about the Amane 8th day, even though that's the one I actually did when I played Overclocked. Is there anything else to it besides what you said, the echo of the descent of Ninigi, only with Abel?

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    3. I'm curious as to how you can erroneously state that Yahweh is unambiguously the Jewish God when he literally espouses the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ in the Anarchy route. Seriously dude, what? Were you just uninformed about Christianity before arguing that point?

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    4. Well, well, well. Look what we have here. Another genuine Jarin Jove leap of logic. You accuse Eirikr of ignoring facts, but you're actually the guilty one here. In fact, I don't think you even read what he wrote that closely. If you did, you'd know that Satan's close alliance with YHVH in SMT means that his portrayal tends to be Jewish. Where else but in Judaism are Satan and YHVH on "good" terms?

      You're also ignoring other facts like that Metatron is fought just before YHVH. Metatron is only important in esoteric Judaism. You literally fight hordes of Metatrons right before the final gates to YHVH. Merkabah, the chariot of YHVH, is the ultimate Law representative in SMT4. Merkabah mysticism is only important in Judaism. That is also a big clue. Satan analogue Mastema is also only important in Judaism, etc.

      Moreover, if YHVH is Christian/Islamic, why do they still call him YHVH? If he was Christian he'd be called Jehovah, if Islamic he'd be called Allah.

      Beatitudes, Azrael--that's pretty weak evidence in light of Satan, Metatron, and YHVH's own name. The point about Azrael is literally nothing as SRAOSHA of ZOROASTRIANISM is angel in Purgatorium in SMT4; I don't hear you arguing that YHVH is Ohrmazd in SMT4. But as Eirikr already said and which you summarily ignored out of either convenience or ignorance, Christian elements are present in the Law faction. It's just that the big boss is Jewish. Unambiguously so. YHVH spouting off random Beatitudes is not proof of him being Christian, because there is a critical lack of context otherwise.

      But can YHVH represent more than just Judaism? Obviously he does in SMT, because there are Christian and Islamic elements in the series and both religions stem from Judaism. But this doesn't mean that his character in SMT is Christian or Islamic. He has Old Testament leanings, ones of a destructive nature only seen as "Yahweh," not "Jehovah." Going by Kaneko's comments and the context of SMT4A, YHVH is portrayed as the ultimate origin of monotheism itself--in other words, he's the Jewish God. If he were Jehovah, it would have been him who sent a messiah to save the world, not the Axiom. Or maybe not, because the messiah is a Jewish concept as well.

      That just goes to show that in real life there is sometimes an ambiguous relationship between the concepts of the Abrahamic religions. However, SMT chooses to portray YHVH alongside unquestionably Jewish elements. I don't agree with everything Eirikr says either, but I'd stop wasting your time nitpicking over the content of this article when it's clear you don't understand what it's saying and are responding only because it's obvious you were offended that something you like is being criticized by someone else.

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    5. The level of ignorance in this comment is absolutely astounding.

      1. Ancient Judaism doesn't believe in Satan as an entity. Satan is just a term used for people adversarial to the Jewish faith. The ancient Christian tradition had Satan work under God before he became known to be more nefarious and rebellious (Which is why they separate Lucifer and Satan as entities in SMT2).

      Jehovah is only important and recognized to Jehovah's Witnesses. It's a different translation of Yahweh. Yahweh is the forbidden name of the God of the New Testament in all other Christian subsets. The Islam comment was so bad, it could be conceived as borderline offensive. Allah is just the Arabic word for God. Allah akbar, often used by Muslims and insultingly by Westerners, just means God is Great. Islam believes in Yahweh, Christianity largely believes the name of their God is Yahweh, and Jehovah is simply a different tradition. Using Jehovah meant they'd be singling out and discriminating against one subset of the Christian faith, which is obviously why they didn't do that.

      Sraosha being there fit within Sraosha's background, which they tried to keep true.

      To argue the Sermon was out of context is just laughable. The Bonds group explicitly denounces Yahweh on New Testament grounds. The Beatitudes just make it more explicit that it's the New Testament God. If you hadn't noticed, it was criticism of the Hobbesian world being related to New Testament teachings - which many Christians today still believe.

      "That just goes to show that in real life there is sometimes an ambiguous relationship between the concepts of the Abrahamic religions. However, SMT chooses to portray YHVH alongside unquestionably Jewish elements. I don't agree with everything Eirikr says either, but I'd stop wasting your time nitpicking over the content of this article when it's clear you don't understand what it's saying and are responding only because it's obvious you were offended that something you like is being criticized by someone else."

      So basically, I don't agree with his opinion and irrefutably disproved it, so you're whining that I'm attacking him when an article is obviously subject to criticism like everything else on the web? Okay, buddy. lol

      Delete
    6. > As for why Stephen would "support" Dagda's ending--I always presumed he doesn't! He's complicit in the monolith business because I suppose he has to be there, plot limitations and all. But after you defeat YHVH, he appears in the Cosmic Egg space along with the Tokyo goddess to tell you to watch out because she's going to come after you. Seems like an empty threat at that point, but at least it shows he probably wasn't on your side after all.

      Before the split though he explicitly says that dagda and danu both represent the neutral path, but there is more than one neutral path. And he tells you "choose your own" and that he will help you if you choose a neutral path. He may or may not see the paths completely equally, but before the split he is definitely not making any effort to guide you to one over the other in a big way, but is telling you to take a neutral path in general. So at the very least he must somewhat support it as "good enough." If he chooses to not try to get you to choose danu over dagda, but at best kind of might hope you do. But if you don't he gives no indication that this was an issue.

      For the diamond realm dlc it specifically says "after nanashi chose his own path" whereas the epidemic in mikado dlc words it in a way that implies dagda's path. Which means the diamond realm dlc must be canon to either ending. And he acts friendly to you the entire time. Him warning you that the godess will be against you doesn't sound like he is against you per say. Just that he is mentioning how things will play out. He may even support both of you and just be resigned that you will end up fighting. Which only makes his character more mysterious, but in a dubious way.

      > Is there anything else to it besides what you said, the echo of the descent of Ninigi, only with Abel?

      Most of the other aspects don't seem much relevant to shinto lore. There is a midboss against susano o though. There's the brand of death, which details two level utilitarian thinking. There's biblical lore talking about cain and why he's angry, but there's no tie ins to shinto made there that I recall.

      http://images.oreillyauto.com/parts/img/large/sef/bbg1.jpg

      I think you might need an exterminator though. Fsst fsst.

      Delete
    7. >Before the split though he explicitly says that dagda and danu both represent the neutral path, but there is more than one neutral path. And he tells you "choose your own" and that he will help you if you choose a neutral path. He may or may not see the paths completely equally, but before the split he is definitely not making any effort to guide you to one over the other in a big way, but is telling you to take a neutral path in general. So at the very least he must somewhat support it as "good enough." If he chooses to not try to get you to choose danu over dagda, but at best kind of might hope you do. But if you don't he gives no indication that this was an issue.

      Actually, it's easy to miss, but he explicitly advocates only Bonds with the line "This is the Goddess of Tokyo. I'd like for you to protect her." - Anarchy sees her only in the context of a nuisance while Bonds does protect her.

      Video evidence:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBsvS1rLXHI&t=6m17s

      Stephen says you can choose your path, but it would be wrong to assume that he means that he wants you to pick Anarchy. It's why he sends those memories of Akira to brainwash Nanashi. It's a freedom of false choice. The Bonds ending is a deliberate attempt to create the world that Stephen wishes for.

      Delete
    8. Also, one more thing. Your picture asks why asura, ahura mazda, and virochana are the same thing. In hinduism, virochana is considered by some groups to be the king of asuras. So despite just being called asura, the one from I is apparently meant to be the king. And since he has a near identical name to vairochana, he is depicted the same as him. But also because in zoroastrianism ahuras are good and devas are bad, but in the vedic religion it reverses it with asuras being the violent gods, and devas being more peaceful. So by that light since they are inverted versions of similar titles, its counting it as the same as a demonization. Since the asura we see is implied to be the king of asuras by being virochana, this makes him a parralel of ahura mazda, the leader of the ahuras. So its not necessarily about him as a specific figure, but about ahuras / asuras as a whole.

      Interestingly, this could also be in reverse the same reason why ahriman is the god of shijima. Shijima is buddhist based, and in buddhism devas are good. So the king of devas would be a good figure. Even though it inverts it by using the zoroastrian king of devas. Unfortunately, nocturne is a bit handwavey with some of its themes, so I'm not sure if that was intentional.

      Delete
    9. Oh yeah, that I know. It's an idea that seems prevalent in Japanese thinking, but I've never seen a convincing and sufficiently cited scholarly reference for the connection anywhere. I had Dijeh look over it for me too: https://dijehtranslations.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/579/

      But until I see otherwise, I think the connections are dubious. Just because there's an etymological connection doesn't mean there's a direct link between religions or ideas. The Mara of Buddhism and the Mara of European folklore are not the same figure just because of a shared linguistic root.

      SMT treats the Asura-oh as identical to Ahura Mazda and it is his goal to become Ahura Mazda again--but then he's also equated with Virochana, who is equated with Birushana, who is equated with Vairocana. Wouldn't being a celestial buddha like Vairocana be good enough? Why go "backwards" to Ahura Mazda? It's oddly specific to this one demon when guys like Mitra/Sraosha also exist, which has always been bizarre to me.

      Anyway, the whole thing is absurd. People taking things literally and twisting facts to tell the story they've convinced themselves is true. Ya know?

      Delete
    10. "Anyway, the whole thing is absurd. People taking things literally and twisting facts to tell the story they've convinced themselves is true. Ya know?"

      Or, like with the Black Monolith and Sanat Kumara remarks - you just didn't understand it.

      The Zoroastrianism isn't real Zoroastrianism, it seems to just be used as a basis to portray Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy of the Ubermensch.

      For more on that:

      http://tophatting.tumblr.com/post/45648345399/nocturne-and-nietzsches-ubermensch

      Delete
    11. With some the connections are tenuous. But for zoroastrinaism / vedic religion there is a real connection between the good and bad figures being inverted. That doesn't make all the figures literally the same or direct analogues, but they're going for more than individual figures, but larger thematic trends. Since the nature of figures having an "exalted" and a "demonized" form has been around from the beginning, they'll probably take what they can get.

      Trying to make him also the same figure as the buddha is a bit more bizarre, despite the similar names. But since buddhas and buddhism are strongly associated with chaos I guess they thought it adds to the lore of the in game figure for him to have all these natures.

      But making maitreya become a wierd cow version of mitra was definitely the biggest mess up. They try to salvage it by saying that that's his buddha form, but that doesn't even make sense, since buddhas having animal heads is out of left field. The best way to salvage it is to read it as a kind of "wrathful deity" incarnation. But nothing actually implies this, and with how random it was alongside dagda no less, its not clear that that was even what they were going for.

      Also, its odd how there's things they don't even bother offering explanations for, like the zoroastrian figures being split. Are we just meant to assume that ahura mazda and mitra were defeated and only the lower figures went over to the angels? If the implication is that said figures were like angels, its a little odd that the main figures would be fighting for chaos. Not that we can't assume that they might have changed natures or switched sides at some point, but even so. I wish that a little more effort was taken to expand the law side to having more things that are like angels alongside angels. Like theppanom. Or if the tengu looking jewish is meant to imply that they might be incarnations of angels or something, that could work. (not that the figures match that closely, but whatever). I hate how they downplayed the association of other gods having a big role right after SMTI. If not other gods, at least some appearances that imply more syncretism. Like hugo's robe looking buddhist. I mean, it makes sense for it to be primarily about angels, but they could at least have looked for more a few more things to pass off as being able to be like angels. Also, they missed out on including some historical christian saints.

      Delete
    12. Jarin, no one is listening to you. Nothing you say makes any sense to anyone but yourself. No one on Reddit cares, and in fact you are actively disliked there. No one reads your blog. Your followers on Twitter are almost all fake. Know when to quit.

      Delete
    13. "
      But making maitreya become a wierd cow version of mitra was definitely the biggest mess up. They try to salvage it by saying that that's his buddha form, but that doesn't even make sense, since buddhas having animal heads is out of left field. The best way to salvage it is to read it as a kind of "wrathful deity" incarnation. But nothing actually implies this, and with how random it was alongside dagda no less, its not clear that that was even what they were going for."

      Theosophy, much like how the other divine powers were utilized most likely.

      "Jarin, no one is listening to you. Nothing you say makes any sense to anyone but yourself. No one on Reddit cares, and in fact you are actively disliked there. No one reads your blog. Your followers on Twitter are almost all fake. Know when to quit."

      Lol, a childish personal attack based on one's self-absorbed views instead of evidence. I was thinking of dismissing your claims, but that'd be falling for the trap of behaving as if I care what you believe about me.

      What you're really saying is: "Anyone who makes a disagreeable opinion to eirik's blog and takes the thoughtful amount of time to read and point out the flaws isn't worth listening to and is a bad person." is that it?

      The reason he hasn't responded to any of my criticisms is because he can't argue against them, so instead we have a bunch of childish users making personal attacks for some inane "victory" over a perceived troll. And what are the contents of my apparent "trolling"? Taking the time to thoughtfully read and refute his arguments and pointing out to the problems with specific paragraphs that hold more pretentiousness than they do facts.

      Delete
    14. "Lol, a childish personal attack based on one's self-absorbed views instead of evidence... Taking the time to thoughtfully read and refute his arguments and pointing out to the problems with specific paragraphs that hold more pretentiousness than they do facts." Bwa ha ha ha, seriously, think loooong and hard about what you just typed here, look in the mirror, and realize how absolutely ridiculous this looks coming from you.

      "Childish personal attack", huh? Let's look at a history of Jarin Jove's extremely mature, non-confrontational rhetoric: "Your opinion is shit and thoughtless." "You clearly just wanted to shit on a great game that's superior to your shitty, worthless piece of crap old-school nostalgia goggle filled crap known as SMT1."
      "This literally happens in the fucking beginning, you idiot."
      Boooy, real mature, high-level stuff there from the elocution and debate master Jarin Jove! Nobody does it better.

      As for why he isn't responding to you, I can't speak for him, but I'll hazard a guess: He realized long ago you're either a troll (which is giving you the benefit of the doubt) or, as I'm not afraid to say, a deluded, belligerent asshole who has amply demonstrated they aren't capable of actually debating anything. Hey, I call 'em like I see 'em.
      When you refute any argument anywhere, you cherry-pick certain bits that you think you have a response to and then present your evidence in a way that REALLY puts people off wanting to talk to you, let alone respecting or considering what you have to say. When you have anything valuable to add at all, and most of the time you don't, listening to you is like listening to some kind of bizarre parrot: RAWRK RAWRK YOU CONTRADICT YOURSELF RAWRK RAWRK HIJIRI MEANS SAINT RAWRK WASTE OF SPACE RAWRK

      I seriously hope you ARE a troll. For God's sake and for the sake of everyone on Reddit, just go away. You'll be happier and everyone else will be too.



      Delete
    15. What does reddit have to do with anything? This is blogspot. And, fyi, I was kinder, and reddit users kept on trolling and trolling and indemnifying themselves with the same response: "you're a SJW special snowflake cuck for whining about when someone insults you or acts obnoxiously rude with curse words and insulting you with every sentence." I kid you not, any attempt at kindness and compassion was met with mockery and insults.

      As such, I began to make a habit of responding in condescending, obnoxious, and rude mannerisms on reddit's r/megaten. Guess what happened? I got a HEFTY stream of upvotes. I'm not joking. The moment I responded rudely and aggressively in return, I kept getting more and more upvotes. The harsher the phrase, the higher the upvotes. That's been my consistent experience throughout the majority of reddit. The only places where this doesn't happen are the so-called "SJW Cuck" areas mocked by the majority of reddit. On those specific subreddits, kindness and compassion is upvoted. Take the P5 subreddit, it's all politeness, kindness, and compassion; I wouldn't dream of acting that way on there. Those people will actually give others respect from the get go - it's not some stupid war of "manly" pride (I'm using the term manly derisively). I've long since realized that it's simply a difference in education level. Those who seek knowledge - college majors and higher - will engage tactfully and with factual responses. The rest of society has been reduced to 4chan levels of stupidity masquerading some bizarre ideology of internet toughness. I suppose it's the difference between the wealthy people and the poor people in general.

      Now to the crux of the issue: Why behave in that manner here? Well, those self-described alt-righters of r/Megaten are the very people that eirikjrs blog appeals to. Now, why would that be? When you get right down to it, the main thesis of eirikjrs blogposts are: "Atlus and Japense culture are inferior to Western culture and that's why they're mocking us" and in this context "us" means Western culture. It's to argue for the sake of this sense of cultural superiority over the East that the West likes to celebrate routinely.

      Delete
    16. @higharolla

      Moreover, you claim I'm cherrypicking... while ignoring all available evidence I bring forth to then go on personal attacks. How, precisely, do you expect me to take that seriously?

      Eirik's basis for why Nocturne is anti-Jewish is the argument that it's the Jewish God that they're fighting. Further examination utterly refutes that argument. He argues that literally killing the Jewish God in SMT2 isn't anti-semitic because there are no JJCAT connections. In Nocturne, the Masakados that appears claims that it's not even his Tokyo, the background information mentions Hikawa killing the Gaeans and Messians at Yoyogi park (i.e. the same background as SMT1-2 which he himself said was not anti-Jewish), and then claims it is anti-Jewish because Masakados gave Demi-fiend the Masakados Magatama. So apparently, JJCAT connections are irrelevant here, it's just the fact that Masakados gave him the magatama. Yahweh never actually appearing doesn't exonerate this supposed JJCAT anti-Jewish conspiracy - which is never even mentioned in Nocturne and has absolutely no bearing on the story since they used the Gaean vs Messian divide back in SMT1-2. Moreover, Demi-fiend becoming the Anti-Christ figure should somehow not be used as proof that it has nothing to do with this anti-Jewish nonsense that Eirik is espousing. The themes regarding Demi-fiend's ascension parallels the Anti-Christ and Nietzsche's ubermensch philosophy. The Menorah's being in the Amala labyrinth is indicative of Demifiend obtaining the full enlightened knowledge, Magatama is a Japanese mythological tool meant to be utilized for humans to ascend to godhood, and the entire narrative is about self-overcoming and self-mastery. If you want to argue the TDE was being presented as "good" - even though, Atlus repeatedly states it's always up to player interpretation - then why did they even have the Menorah's representing Demifiend obtaining full knowledge of the universe and enlightenment? Moreover, should the Lady in Black be called Anti-Irish for clearly paralleling the Goddess Morrigan with encouraging Demifiend to surpass death through struggling, to join their Scriptures of Miroku prophecy, and to accept her love and aid? Is Demifiend anti-Christian because Atlus wanted to present a reversal of the End of Times from the opposing viewpoint in the Labyrinth of Amala explanations?

      Oh, and evidently, I'm "cherrypicking" when I say that Satan was never used as a fallen angel concept until Christianity. Evidently, using the ancient Christian context of Arbiter for Satan is proof of anti-Jewishness - even though this is an ancient Christian concept and Jewish people only defined Satan as "Ha-Satan" - the adversary and the enemy but not as a fallen angel. But I should ignore the fact that you're literally arguing that using a Christian concept for Satan is anti-Jewish, when I've pointed out that it's a Christian concept. I'm "cherrypicking", despite the fact that you don't even seem to be aware that you're literally arguing a Christian concept is proof that it's Jewish and anti-Jewish at that, when all I'm saying is that using a Christian concept isn't proof of anti-Jewishness.

      Then we come to Yahweh himself and his mannerisms: in the Anarchy route, he's clearly espousing Jesus Christ's teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and you're denying the teachings of Jesus to destroy him. Evidently, this is me "cherrypicking", and using Jesus Christ's teachings is "proof of anti-Jewishness" and my opposition to this by pointing out that they're literally using Jesus Christ's most famous teachings in the Bible is somehow "not relevant" or that Atlus somehow did it to intentionally deceive players and "hide" the anti-Jewishness, somehow maybe. You've yet to explain your argument there.

      Delete
    17. @highrolla

      Atlus containing a series of side quests where the major revelation is that a lunatic ultra-conservative jingoist and Japanese ethnocentrist was responsible for the world's nuclear holocaust is... "cherrypicking" and "hiding" the anti-Jewish nature too. Evidently, going out of their way to listen to fans about the problematic anti-foreign narrative and providing a massive backstory about how this one raving Japanese ethnocentrist politician is largely to blame is somehow "hiding" the anti-Jewish nature and it's actually about Japanese people being better than others. Even though the narrative is clearly saying the opposite - especially when you're trying to stop a psychotic Izanami from wiping out the current population to make a more "pure Japanese" one. Clearly, this is not admitting their own wrongdoing and pointing out their culture can have these problems too. No, no, this is trying to hide their "anti-Jewishness" by providing a counter narrative that criticizes themselves so they can keep hiding their anti-jewishness. Oh, and this creates "plot holes" that Eirikjrs never bothers to get into about the National Defense deities. Despite the fact that nothing about their background was really ever told to us in IV, this more fleshed out background creates "plot holes" despite that, evidently.

      To top it all off, all this anti-Jewishness is based on JJCAT in the 1800s basing connections between Tengu and Jews off of a racist remark about Jewish noses and Kaneko saying that he likes flawed heroes which is why he has Masakados opposing the Japanese royal family, based on a theory that says the royal family has Jewish origins - which Masakados himself must also have since he was a part of the royal family. Kaneko, a Japanese artist who personally loves Masakados, is evidently unaware of this anti-Jewish narrative that he's perpetuating of the Japanese royal family being descended from a lost Jewish tribe and JJCAT making a racist remark back in the 1800s.

      Evidently, the JJCAT theory is morally equivalent to the racist Elder of Zion conspiracy which argues that Jews are responsible for all major wars, faked the Holocaust, own all the banks and control all our money, and are responsible for slavery of blacks and wish to kill all Christians is morally equivalent to a bunch of Japanese Christian fundies making a distasteful remark about Jewish noses to argue that Jews are part of a divine Japanese bloodline and divine gods who helped people. Yes, this is all somehow morally equivalent. Oh, and using Jewish culture to portray ultimate wisdom and enlightenment in IV and Nocturne against an opposing side that has a mix of Abrahamic artistic elements is anti-semitic and somehow morally equivalent to saying that Jews are responsible for all wars, faked the holocaust, and own all the banks to hurt Christian people as still touted by the KKK and other neo-Nazi groups.

      Let's further ignore the warning on practically every Atlus game that explicitly states that none of their story depictions are meant to reference real people or events. But, let me guess, I'm cherrypicking that too?

      Delete
    18. wwww Ha ha ha, so now playing the "My fragile ego was hurt by people making fun of me on reddit so I got rude card", huh? What a whiny douche. The internet is full of assholes, learn to suck it up. Claiming this place "appeals to the alt-right" smacks of desperation and name-calling. I'm assuming that much like you always like to accuse others of doing, this site says things "you don't like", and therefor you get angry; I guess it's the norm in the US now to accuse everything one doesn't like of being either "fascist" or "libtard", huh? I swear, the modern left and right in America are the same fucking thing, they are so dogmatic and incapable of actual critical thinking outside of their respective dogmas. How can anyone sane in America even stand it?
      Considering what I've seen from you, your "kindness and compassion" was probably you acting in an extremely paternal manner and talking down to everyone, as you seem to be more or less incapable of conversing in any other manner. Your thinly-veiled self-boosting and bragging about education and wealth had me literally rolling my eyes here. Are you THAT insecure with who you are? I bet you don't even actually have a sister, you probably made that mousepad for yourself and posted it in some kind of bizarre attempt to garner praise online to boost your self-esteem in some bizarre way that only makes sense to people who live on the internet.
      Personally, I have never detected any anti-Japanese sentiment here. This article more or less makes clear to me that the writers didn't even realize the game ended up having some arguably anti-semitic context, because one of the points of it is that the scenario writers just didn't think very hard about what they were doing. I.E., it's bad writing.
      And yeah, you still do a lot of cherrypicking, and although I'm not as well informed about a lot of this stuff as either of you two, a few things I DO know about or have opinions on I tend to find that you make severe logic leaps or just spout other nonsense that certain other writers tend to support with better evidence. Also, the name is "Masakado", not "Masakados", which is an item... OOPS. YOU CONTRADICT YOURSELF RAWK YOUR OPINION IS SHIT RAWRK RAWRK
      Now, considering I'm clearly not going to be swayed by you because I find you to be a pretentious and arrogant dickhead, are we done here, or are you the type that just absolutely, DESPERATELY needs to get the last word in to assuage your overly-sensitive ego and sense of self-worth?

      Delete
    19. Well, generally speaking, I don't try to assume things about people's behavior outside of the web, especially if I don't know because it would be as if I was projecting my own insecurities onto them like some people tend to do online. Specifically, when they assert how the other person that they've spoken to briefly - whom they have no way of truly knowing - must somehow be in such and such manner. I did get a good laugh from your comment so thank you for that.

      Delete
    20. Changed my mind, I think I'd rather not get involved in the fight between these two.

      Delete
    21. I will say ONE thing, though: Kockamamie is right, you ARE an arrogant prick, Jarin.

      Delete
    22. "Now, considering I'm clearly not going to be swayed by you because I find you to be a pretentious and arrogant dickhead, are we done here, or are you the type that just absolutely, DESPERATELY needs to get the last word in to assuage your overly-sensitive ego and sense of self-worth?" Thank you, we have an answer! Give your sister (I.E., your hand) a kiss for me! Now go away and talk to someone who cares, if you can find any.

      Delete
    23. I'm curious as to how you find no irony in these insults that you're making. Also, that comment about sisters and hands is just... bizarre. I don't even want to know how you define sister now. It would be one thing if you said girlfriend, at least that would have made sense...

      Delete
    24. How many times will Jarin try to get the last word? Is "Irony" the new Jarin parrot phrase? Speaking of which, as I've already pointed out multiple times, one of the most hilarious things about you is that you are so lacking in self-awareness that you don't even realize how absurd you look throwing all these accusations about. I said it before, I'll say it again: look in a mirror. Also, hopping back a bit, for someone who doesn't do any "assuming" outside of the web, you sure did a lot of assuming when you claimed this place "mainly appeals to the alt right". That's some serious conclusion-jumping right there, and it makes you look like a stupid asshole. Did you ever stop and think that maybe politics has nothing to do with any of the people who pick on you, and maybe it's just that you're a dickhead?
      As for the sister thing, I was clearly trying to imply that you have a fantastical incestuous relationship with a non-existent sister! An imouto complex, if you will! Was there any evidence at? No! But it's JARIN JOVE, so it doesn't matter! You are impervious to logic, reason, civil discourse AND insults! The only thing that gets through to you is people brown-nosing you or showering you with praise. At this point I'm quite confident you have one or more mental issues, DEFINITELY autism, so I'm starting to feel a bit bad yelling at you. In the end it's all wasted breath anyway, as I've already said, you've long proven yourself impervious to any sort of attempt at communication, reasonable or otherwise here and elsewhere. It's like talking to a wooden post that occasionally makes smarmy, arrogant comments. I still can't believe that shit you said about "education" and "wealth" back up there. Really, what kind of arrogant prick thinks like that other than some of the absolute most narcissistic, arrogant types on Earth? Say, you wouldn't happen to be some sort of illegitimate Trump kid, would you? Now for God's sake, go away back to whatever hellhole you came from.

      Delete
    25. "Higharolla KockamamieJuly 8, 2017 at 5:20 AM
      How many times will Jarin try to get the last word? Is "Irony" the new Jarin parrot phrase? Speaking of which, as I've already pointed out multiple times, one of the most hilarious things about you is that you are so lacking in self-awareness that you don't even realize how absurd you look throwing all these accusations about. I said it before, I'll say it again: look in a mirror. Also, hopping back a bit, for someone who doesn't do any "assuming" outside of the web, you sure did a lot of assuming when you claimed this place "mainly appeals to the alt right". That's some serious conclusion-jumping right there, and it makes you look like a stupid asshole. Did you ever stop and think that maybe politics has nothing to do with any of the people who pick on you, and maybe it's just that you're a dickhead?
      As for the sister thing, I was clearly trying to imply that you have a fantastical incestuous relationship with a non-existent sister! An imouto complex, if you will! Was there any evidence at? No! But it's JARIN JOVE, so it doesn't matter! You are impervious to logic, reason, civil discourse AND insults! The only thing that gets through to you is people brown-nosing you or showering you with praise. At this point I'm quite confident you have one or more mental issues, DEFINITELY autism, so I'm starting to feel a bit bad yelling at you. In the end it's all wasted breath anyway, as I've already said, you've long proven yourself impervious to any sort of attempt at communication, reasonable or otherwise here and elsewhere. It's like talking to a wooden post that occasionally makes smarmy, arrogant comments. I still can't believe that shit you said about "education" and "wealth" back up there. Really, what kind of arrogant prick thinks like that other than some of the absolute most narcissistic, arrogant types on Earth? Say, you wouldn't happen to be some sort of illegitimate Trump kid, would you? Now for God's sake, go away back to whatever hellhole you came from."

      Eirikjrs supporters, folks. You've seen it here.

      Delete
    26. I wonder whether Eirikr ever suspected that his comment section was going to turn into a place for a single person to basically sperg out while talking to themself.

      Delete
    27. ^The Identity Crisis 3 and Hijiri comment sections gave me all the preparation I needed. :p

      Delete
    28. Ah, I see you've been familiar with him for awhile. For awhile on reddit after it came out we had to deal with him constantly sperging out that nobody cared about his bizarre interpretations of what the plot of iva was meant to be getting at. Which were so incoherent that they came off almost like surrealist art pieces. But he eventually got chased off by the bead man and his lackeys.

      He also doesn't seem to grasp that something can be inspired by more than one thing at a time. He made a huge thread that was nothing but ranting about christianity for twenty paragraphs that nobody understood why he made or thought was relevant to the games until they realized that he thought that the law side was literally meant to 1:1 depict christianity in real life so closely that trying to describe actual christianity explains the plot in game.

      Delete
    29. @Anonymous

      Yeah, something's gotta give with this mess of a comments section. That's all I can say.

      Delete
    30. " Eirikjrs supporters, folks. You've seen it here. "
      Out of smarmy comebacks? Or did pointing out how shockingly narcissistic you are hit too hard and you can't think of slight-of-hand tricks to avoid it as usual? Good, maybe everyone can finally be rid of you.

      Delete
    31. @Eirikr

      Supporting personal attacks instead of looking at evidence and judging arguments from there? Wow. My opinion of you has declined even further. It seems you can't handle any criticism that I've given related to this topic after taking the time to read and give honest feedback, keeping it within the context of the topic itself.

      @Anonymous

      Then you've never read anything I've said. I've repeatedly mentioned how Law in IVA takes after Hobbes theory, the topic you mentioned had to do with beadman suggesting that Law would allow for technological growth - which was ridiculous so I made a topic disputing that point. Beadman and I worked in tandem on a lot of those topics and "those lackeys" are people I actually know and who enjoy my content just as much as his.

      I'm not talking to myself either. Higharolla - judging from the comments - is likely the same person enthusiastically posting 50 comments every day on one of my recent blog posts about how they worship garfield and ALF television shows on a topic that has nothing to do with television. Perhaps you shouldn't cast false aspersions?

      Delete
    32. Considering you still haven't come up with any sort of reasonable response to the the actual core issue at play, I'll do a little copy-pasting here:
      Ha ha ha, so now playing the " Claiming this place "appeals to the alt-right" smacks of desperation and name-calling. I'm assuming that much like you always like to accuse others of doing, this site says things "you don't like", and therefore you get angry."
      Considering what I've seen from you, your "kindness and compassion" was probably you acting in an extremely paternal manner and talking down to everyone, as you seem to be more or less incapable of conversing in any other manner. Your thinly-veiled self-boosting and bragging about education and wealth had me literally rolling my eyes here. Are you THAT insecure with who you are? "
      In addition, for someone who claimed "Well, generally speaking, I don't try to assume things about people's behavior outside of the web, especially if I don't know because it would be as if I was projecting my own insecurities onto them like some people tend to do online. " you sure to seem to be making a lot of assumptions on a lot of different issues about people's political leanings, posting habits, etc. etc. " I don't think you need to project your insecurities anywhere, they're out in the open where everyone can see them.

      Delete
    33. Okay Jarin and Higharolla, I got a little lax moderating the comments and this is what happens. Of course, should have seen this coming. You are making things toxic for everyone else.

      If either of you comment again, even one more time, I will delete all of your posts from this comment section. I'd rather not do that. As it stands, I am going to be deleting most if not all of the comments in this current thread.

      So, your choice.

      Delete
    34. I was going to share my thoughts but after seeing this I think I'd rather not.

      Sorry whatever your name is, but you seriously come off as an asshole here. I find it strange that you didn't bother to answer any posts disagreeing with you up until two people just randomly came in to insult the only person disagreeing with you so that means you probably faked those two accounts since you didn't respond before then. This is Sargon and Onision levels of shitty.

      Delete
    35. @Anonymous

      Please feel free to respond.

      There is a history here with the user in question that it seems you aren't familiar with. Research around or look at some of my other posts with high comment counts. I'd rather the comments remain rather than be deleted.

      But as an Anonymous commenter, I'm also painfully aware from past experience of the possibility that you yourself could be an alt of that particular user. The magic of the internet at work. :)

      Delete
    36. This was a crazy read! Do you think it's intentionally anti-semetic though? I really like the game, so I find that possibility really depressing... :(

      Delete
    37. Yeah, I'm thinking of contacting my local news station about this game. I was interested in this series but not anymore thanks to this blog. I think we should just ban it, if it promotes antisemetism. It sounds no different from rapelay in terms of objectionable content.

      Delete
    38. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    39. @Rampage McRage

      I know exactly what you mean. Couldn't have put it better myself.

      I have already written my congressman and have started working on a White House petition. This scourge must be stopped.

      Delete
    40. @AnonymousJuly 9, 2017 at 5:38 PM

      Well, that issue is tackled in the conclusion. The short answer is no, I don't think anyone at Atlus Japan actually hates Jews. However, they specifically intended to make a pro-Japanese product and without thinking of the consequences and interpretations of that theme, it ended up having the overt subtext as discussed above. I bet if you pointed this out to them, they'd probably be embarrassed. But shame doesn't change the intent.

      And apologies, due to abuse I had to turn off anonymous comments.

      Delete
    41. They didn't make pro-Japanese anything. That's just your racist anti-Japanese beliefs.

      Delete
  2. So, this was an interesting 4 hours of reading. Thank you for the fascinating history on how colonialism and Christianity tried to steal Japanese culture and claim it as it's own. Overall, I enjoyed reading it, but I find your argument dubious and poorly made. Essentially, my counter argument is thus: Just because they're utilizing JJCAT as an occult background doesn't mean that they're anti-Semitic at all. The SMTII version of Yahweh is the Old Testament one - which you yourself assert wasn't involved with JJCAT or anti-semitic in anyway, but the SMT3 - IVA Yahweh is clearly derivative of, and quite explicitly, the New Testament version of Yahweh. The Christian-Islamic Yahweh of the Abrahamic faiths.

    I'll respond to the most relevant paragraphs that I found objectionable:

    "But aside from the changes to the game's (or the series', really) entire ancient backstory, the biggest retcon introduced by this quest has to do with the Kunitsu curse's approximate 100-year sealing. Since the Raidou games take place in the early 1930s, the passage of about 100 years would unleash the curse around 2030, canonically after the events of SMT1 and during the lead-up to SMT2. Surely no coincidence, this otherwise completely arbitrary number means it's intended to provide an alternate explanation for why the Kunitsu betrayed the Amatsu with YHVH in that game, as discussed prior. But as explained above, this retcon is completely unnecessary because mythology already has a built-in reason why the Kunitsu might act that way, given the chance. Additionally, read between the lines of this curse and you'll find that it exonerates the Kunitsu with an insanity defense, characterizing them as essentially good little deities who only experienced a lapse of rationality because their brethren cavorted with a foreign pantheon to gain the upper hand. Ahhhh, that good ol' Maniacs Team nationalism and xenophobia!"

    This is an entirely dubious claim. Raidou is working for Yahweh and keeping the peace in Japan. He's stopping the use of and violence made by Chaos deities and even faces off against deities with Japanese motifs and backgrounds for the sake of helping Yahweh preserve Japan's safety. Sure, it follows the divide that you speak of, but he's still protecting Japanese people via taking down dangerous Japanese deities.

    http://imgur.com/32qUBhi

    In short, Mem Aleph is the Mother Earth principle or the primordial goddess of the Goddess movement, yet given a form that corresponds to JJCAT. Her profile also fits Kaneko's Nocturne-era comment about YHVH being the source of everything as well, if her Hebrew name in relation to the dissemination of the "ma" particle around the world is anything to go by. However, just by being Chaotic and female, she is intrinsically YHVH's inverse even as she is also, by JJCAT reckoning, his "bunrei."

    This one is totally contradicted within the main plot of Strange Journey itself, the Mother Goddesses created the universe, world, and the first humans in SJ. Yahweh came after and deposed them and sealed them away. Mem Aleph is the real creator and is distinctly stated to precede Yahweh. So, you are totally wrong in this passage.

    1/3

    ReplyDelete
  3. "5. Apocalypse's comparative myth freewheeling. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is notable for its liberal, let's say, interpretation of various mythical elements, like the relationships it implies for certain demons. Some have basis in real-world anthropology, like the Gallo-Celtic Dagda's similarities to the Germanic Odin/Wotan. But many others stretch the limits of credulity, such as Danu being an echo of Inanna, or whatever the hell is happening with Maitreya's transition to Mitra Bosatsu. Of course, this isn't the first time Shin Megami Tensei has pulled some of these comparisons out of its you-know-where (nor is it even the first time with Mitra), and it won't be the last. However, JJCAT makes SMT's fascinations with tenuous connections easier to swallow, as 4A's proprietary setting of biblical literalism means that all other gods are derivative of YHVH; therefore, everyone is connected, somehow."

    Hoooboy, this is completely, irrefutably wrong.

    Maitreya and the Mitra-Bosatsu connection comes from Theosophy, the very religious-spiritual ideas that you were criticizing as wrongly portrayed. They very liberally use Maitreya as a go-to messiah and make the assertion that the death of Krishna's Kalki form will signify the emergence of a new world under the process of kali yuga (sound familiar?). So, we can ascertain that Atlus was simply using theosophy throughout the story of IV and IVA (the White and the Divine Powers).

    As proof, here is a relevant passage:

    “He will appear as Maitreya Buddha, the last of the Avatars and Buddhas, in the seventh Race. This belief and expectation are universal throughout the East. Only it is not in the Kali yug, our present terrifically materialistic age of Darkness, the “Black Age,” that a new Saviour of Humanity can ever appear.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., pg. 470, 1888)

    “The Buddhist teaching of the coming of Maitreya, the future Buddha, actually refers to the same future event as the coming of the Kalki Avatar prophesied in the Hindu scriptures and the Soshiosh or Saoshyant of the Zoroastrian tradition. They are different names for one and the same thing.” (Theosophical Glossary)

    “It is true, as the Hindus say, that the Kalki Avatar (i.e. the Buddha Maitreya) will not appear on Earth until the very end of the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is the “Dark Age” through which mankind is presently passing. It began 5,000 years ago “at the moment of Krishna’s death” and will not end until sometime around the close of the 6th Root Race. We are currently still in the 5th Root Race and even the dawn of the 6th Root Race is still thousands of years in the future.” (see Maitreya in the Light of Real Theosophy)

    Source: https://theacademiciantheosophical.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-truth-about-the-future-maitreya-buddha-in-theosophical-writings/

    To reiterate: They're just using Theosophy. If you recall, Flynn's humanity is the Fifth race since he's called the Fifth Son by the White. It's a reference to Theosophy and a subtle note that Flynn is the Fifth Son of Passover. As is the series tradition, minimalist and brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "4A tries to atone for the nationalism, and in the process admits it was a problem, with its questline about the "Patriots" and the extant brain of a man named Tamagami, a racist who was secretly behind every instance of xenophobia in the previous game (except the Sinophobia and "foreign" demons; those are apparently still OK). It even goes so far as to demonize (no pun intended) the National Defense Divinities, who are now the result of cruel experiments on humans. Needless to say, these retcons contradict aspects of SMT4's established narrative, the basis of which is still "canon" in 4A; given that SMT4 featured a noticeable quality disparity in mythological portrayals between the lows of its main scenario and highs of its sub-scenario quests, it's possible that this questline was spearheaded by the sub-scenario writers to address something they saw as "not in the spirit of Megaten." Regardless of who was responsible, it's laudable that someone on the staff went to these course-correcting lengths even though it's alarming that these cringeworthy themes weren't addressed during the production of SMT4."

    I find that last comment to be mean-spirited. They corrected their mistake and acknowledged it. When was the last time CoD developers acknowledged their wrongdoing in shooting and bombing mosques in their games while making sure Christian churches couldn't be damaged? If you want racism and xenophobia, play any CoD game. However, more to the point, how does this contradict the narrative? We were never told the National Defense Divinities histories or why they were unique or why they had items that controlled them. I don't see any evidence of ruining any backstory mentioned in IV, because it doesn't seem like anything such as that happened. They were formed to protect the country, that's all that we were told.

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  5. "I'm quite happy the scope of this article means I can largely avoid talking about what happens in YHVH's Universe, but I can't ignore 4A's, uh, "different" take on the big guy himself. According to Stephen, who, in the words of the game's creators, is practically a Buddha and therefore to be trusted without question, YHVH is both the Great Architect of the Universe and a being who uses human Observation and Law/Chaos conflict with the sole purpose of perpetuating his own existence. However, even though he is the supreme being of the universe, YHVH becomes uniquely vulnerable to Observation-based logic strings introduced at the eleventh hour, is portrayed as a bit of a moron after his angelic robot creation Satan turns on him (gotta have that SMT2 reference), and is ultimately transformed into a chimeric mess of biblical plagues and a gecko to "give him a taste of his own medicine," all of which allows for a convenient human victory. Even through SMT2 portrays YHVH as the Old Testament's wrathful and jealous destructor, he at least had a plan to begin creation anew somewhere else. 4A's YHVH is characterized as an entirely egotistic entity and master manipulator, in the style of anti-Semitic canards like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that purport a self-serving Jewish cabal secretly runs the world. In trying to put a new spin on Megami Tensei II's and Shin Megami Tensei II's conclusions, they succeeded only in adding shameful insult to embarrassing injury."

    This, by far, is the most illogical leap and the most problematic of your paragraphs. There was no mention of any Jewish conspiracies, there was no attempt at blaming the people of Mikado for what was happening, there is no attempt at saying Jews are somehow responsible for all or any issues in IV that the people of Tokyo suffer through, and I frankly find this "connection" to be utterly disingenuous. They're using JJCAT occult as a backdrop, but they're not saying JJCAT was right or that Jews are culpable of any wrongdoing. Furthermore: They're using the New Testament God, they are very explicitly using the New Testament God. The Bonds group is arguing against the NEW Testament God being a God that does absolutely nothing. Yahweh explicitly preaches the Sermon on the Mount - Jesus Christ's teachings - in the Anarchy route. The evidence is explicitly and clearly presented to be the New Testament version of Yahweh. Yahweh of IV-IVA is not unambiguously the Jewish God, he's unambiguously the Christian-Islamic variant of Yahweh. He preaches the Sermon on the Mount and they have Azreal as a boss fight in Mikado.

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  6. "So whether or not his spirit actually departs the rock, Masakado's body and "power" is the vehicle that aids and abets deicide of an unambiguously Jewish God, according to how Shin Megami Tensei portrays YHVH. In a game that goes to convoluted lengths to explain certain things, like Observation, there is precisely no explanation for why Masakado's rock transforms into a monolith and why it can warp you across the universe; it could have been written or justified any other way (utilizing elements established within the game world like Purgatorium as a gateway to "Heaven," something to do with the Yamato Reactor and the Expanse, uncovering some arcane gateway hidden somewhere in Mikado, whatever the hell is happening in the Massacre route Cosmic Egg and its space backdrop, or even riding the Shene Duque cocoon that's otherwise sitting there doing nothing), but the Maniacs Team staff specifically chose to incorporate the infamous samurai rebel, Kazuma Kaneko's anti-Semitic JJCAT "hero." They...knew what they were doing."

    The Black Monolith is a reference to 21 Space Odyssey:

    https://starreviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/2001-monolith.jpg

    https://filmgrab.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/21-monolith1.png

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MSo6s_xrj4c/hqdefault.jpg

    The Film ends with a God Child presumably changing the world:

    http://sites.psu.edu/hoffmanrclpassion/wp-content/uploads/sites/34445/2015/10/2001-Starchild-and-Earth.jpg

    Akira was a reference to "God Child" Akira from the Film/Manga Akira. The Film's ending is commonly interpreted to mean that Akira left with Tetsuo so as to help Tetsuo form a new universe. Akira is perceived a God Child in the story.

    https://1l5umu3rds2b2masq81ui5c2-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/akira-manga-4.jpg

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fc/c3/06/fcc3060a0e7767a5b2b76f81154a579a.jpg

    http://www.tboake.com/film_06/akira2/AKIRA-114_resize.jpg

    Also, how can you possibly think Stephen is seen as an ultimate good after playing Anarchy? He gets innocent Tokyoites slaughtered, he brainwashed them into forgetting about his doctor appearance (talk to Fujiwara, Skins, and the guy guarding the Shesha radar door, after Shesha-Flynn's reveal), and he laughs about trying to brainwash Nanashi. He even knew Shesha-Flynn was a phony and did nothing to warn you, essentially letting Asahi become a victim just like Dagda did. The memories of Akira were given to you by Stephen and in Bonds, he implies it's a natural consequence of fate. But in Anarchy, he subtly admits to trying to brainwash you into picking Bonds. Nanashi was never destined for anything but dying with Nikkari and Manabu in the start of the game. Stephen was deceiving him throughout the entire story and presenting a false narrative about fate via sending him Akira's memories.

    Also, as a final point, while Baal is seen as a negative light in Nocturne, it's not only given a more positive interpretation in Devil Survivor, but the story reference is actually reversed to Baal returning to his normal state and abandoning the demonization in Apocalypse. So while they show certain negative interpretations, they're not opposed to showing the reverse as well. Also, Kagutsuchi is clearly referencing the End of Times, what with Demifiend being an Anti-Christ allusion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruXy9nkRfAA&t=26s

    Overall, I apologize for the harshness, but your analysis is bunk.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Also, forgot to add, as I mentioned on twitter, the deities come from the Axiom. Yahweh is just one of many who could skid the laws because his name was forbidden as time went on. The Axiom is what all gods and goddesses are derived from and not Yahweh. So, again, your argument completely fails. It isn't just the Bible that has literalism, but all ancient religious stories too, because of how humans perceive and understand phenomena. Humans attaching religious meaning and deity worship to events is what makes them "real", so it's not the case of the Bible exclusively being real or that everything is derived from Yahweh since the narrative clearly states that it's the Axiom.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A small thing, but Demifiend's use of the Masakados magatama being canonized happened long before Apocalypse's dlc. It was back when you fought him as a bonus boss in Digital Devil Saga 1. You had to do damage with earth spells since those didn't exist in Nocturne. And then in 4's dlc Sanat had similar resistances and moves as a seeming reference to that fight, though I'm not sure why that would be.

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    1. That's true, someone on Tumblr corrected me on that one. Still, 4A's is the one that matters, as also more directly references Nocturne's TDE narrative, which is where the problem is.

      Delete
    2. No, that's just the most preposterous and poorly argued theory that you pulled out of nowhere. You haven't responded as I've repeatedly informed you of how factually wrong you are, because you have nothing to disprove my points.

      First and foremost, there's no proof of the JJCAT events having even happened in Nocturne. Kagutsuchi has no relation to it. Demifiend's Amala Labyrinth journey and joining Lucifer are all indicative of becoming the Anti-Christ, the Magatama's cultural significance is attaining godhood within Japanese religious lore, and the fact the Candelabrum/Menorah - representing ultimate wisdom and enlightenment - is even on the side of Chaos in what's implied to be the abode of the deathless means that there was never any attempt at this anti-Jewish narrative that you've nonsensically tried to throw on narratives that have no bearing to it whatsoever. Even if Yahweh is the one behind Kagutsuchi, the evidence is clearly in favor of the New Testament interpretation of Yahweh. Demifiend's entire transformation is indicative of the Anti-Christ motif. This "problem" is pure nonsense that you made-up and you're too cowardly to accept any evidence to the contrary.

      Delete
  9. When you told me JJCAT was going to be forehead slapping, I didn't expect to deeply think about it and the majority of the franchise. It took me weeks to process everything, and I'm still... blegh. I have this indescribable feeling of disgust, confusion, and interest from this topic.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Tell me about it! I've been living with JJCAT for most of the year...

      Delete
    2. And I just recently got into SMT after shifting my interest from Persona, so something like this really... makes things uncomfortable for me.


      Oh yeah, and since I'm fairly new to your blog, the hell is Jarin Jove's deal? Just reading his post feels like he's directly yelling in my ear, and it's unpleasant.

      Delete
    3. If you must know, I am simply frustrated that he simply takes his opinions as fact and has made absolutely no effort whatsoever to have any discourse with anybody who points to problems with this theory. I'm trying, but Eirikr seems keen on threatening to simply delete everything because I'm being blamed for another user's behavior. It's ridiculous.

      Delete
    4. Well, again... as a long-time lurker, I think I see Eirikr engage in dialogue with people who don't necessarily agree with him all the time, provided they approach in a reasonable way... when somebody approaches in a patently hostile way, like you tend to, Jarin, I can't blame him for just ignoring you as a troll. Really, you come across as not willing to have a reasonable discussion or listen to varying perspectives, you just seem like you have a grudge and want to pick a fight. As for people who simply takes their opinions as facts, well... I said it before: step back and look in the mirror and think about what you're accusing somebody of doing, and think about how you present your own arguments... I'm not trying to pick a fight here, you just really need to chill out and think about why you seem to rub so many people the wrong way. Please try and listen to somebody a little and don't just lash out in a defensive manner, okay? :(

      Delete
    5. No, only people on a certain discord feel that way because they're incapable of seeing their own racist verbiage as worthy of scorn and instead scorn anyone who disagrees with their racist words which they continue to defend as being "ironic" - whatever that means.

      Delete
    6. You completely ignored what I said, and somehow bring up racism? :( What does that have to do with anything at all? All I'm trying to say is you need to tone down the obvious chip on your shoulder and at least try to approach people in a non-confrontational manner...
      Well, I tried, folks... I really did. Bye, everyone!

      Delete
  10. Also, there's another element of indirect dubious implications. In SMTI at the beginning, you obviously get the parralel to world war II, with someone who sounds like truman, gotou being based on a real life nationalist who supported imperial japan, and the nukes falling on japan. Then later in the game lucifer identifies chaos as explicitly social darwinist, making it tie heavily to axis powers association, especially when law at the beginning is america.

    On the flipside of this, law is based heavily on new world order conspiracy theories. Being for a hidden conspiracy, even called a conspiracy in I that acts subtly across the globe to eventually create a one world system that is meant to be the final stage in human progress, and once you are in the system it is difficult to even conceptualize anything else. Certain law units even use the pyramid with eye symbol, and others have a templar aesthetic. Which is a funny double joke because those are both christian things as well as NWO conspiracy symbols. This is why nationalism gets depicted as chaos, since its "inter group" chaos, and chaos represents that as much as interpersonal chaos. With the universalist globalist system being the opposite of intergroup chaos.

    The racism comes in in that chaos is depicted as the underdog, and law is depicted as very jewish. So we get a plot where the uber nationalst social darwinists were right all along that there was a jewish conspiracy to undermine their individual culture, that they were the victims of and fighting back against. Even if chaos is depicted as "too extreme" it is still depicting the extremist nationalists as having a point about a jewish globalist conspiracy.

    When you combine that with its depiction of pro japanese neutral jingoism its essentially implying that its good to fight back against this, but hitler just went too far with it. Okay. It doesn't help that during the ps2 era lucifer was depicted much nicer, and in nocturne before tde was added was more of a representative for the neutral analogue than anything else. And that in some games even the law path involves going against much of the law side for whatever reason. Implying that the side if yhvh and whoever is on his page is totally wrong even if you think you can salvage something from it.

    To add onto the real racism, there is also an element of fantastic racism. Neutral generally acts like demons, no matter how docile are fundamentally incompatible with humanity and need to stay away and interact with it indirectly if at all. And that as a human you should by default prioritize human interests. IVA is literally a race war between humans, angels, and gods, with it being depicted as "obvious" that the right answer is prioritizing humans. It even acts like ideolgy doesn't matter as long as you do this. where law neutral chaos humanists are all fine, but gods or angels of those alignments are inherently incompatible with humanity. Somehow we can instantly forgive the ring of gaia and the ahurah kai who both are depicted as routinely killing children (in gaias case for no actual reason) just so long as they're not led by gods anymore. These are some of the elements that are a bit played out and really need to be toned down in future installments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It didn't support any fantastic racism. For one thing, Bonds has Gods and humans working together - which thoroughly repudiates your invalid point. Moreover, there is the narrative of humans clinging to hope instead of assessing facts. As a result, on any objective standard, Dagda is the one proven right.

      Delete
  11. I'm not even sure if Raidou is necessarily working for YHVH. After all, the Infinite Abyss was YHVH's plan, and no matter what ending you get in Raidou, you still stop Abbadon in it, don't you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll probably evidence to suggest the opposite, I have no doubt. However, Raidou follows a canon where the Yamato gods are in collusion with YHVH, Yatagarasu included. Hence why by being in this organization he implicitly is under order of pro-Law forces.

      Again, sloppy writing plagues a lot of Maniacs Team games. Even if the Infinite Abyss was YHVH's plan in the game, it was still a product of an Atlus writer's imagination first, someone who probably wasn't aware of how the expanded backstory can be interpreted.

      Delete
    2. But wouldn't inference then say that Radiou's commanding officers then going against YHVH's plan imply that they cut ties at some point?

      Delete
    3. Not if Okuninushi is still angry at the Amatsu after 2000 years for their collusion. Probably. Besides, even angels sometimes go against YHVH's plan in various SMT games.

      This could be easily retconned, but it hasn't yet.

      Delete
    4. I mean, I wouldn't blame him for still being angry. Just because the Amatsu cut ties with YHVH doesn't mean they suddenly made good with Okuninushi.

      Delete
    5. Well, this article really isn't written to take these in-universe connections as holy gospel. Okuninushi, the Amatsu, and YHVH can be written any way they want, so whether or not certain things can be justified or refuted based on the text alone I think is the wrong angle because it's ultimately all arbitrary! It's why I stress the importance of the authors and authorial intent. As it stands currently though, Raidou is a representative of Yatagarasu who is bizarrely a representative of YHVH in SMT.

      Delete
    6. Me personally, I can't for the life of me come to the conclusion that the authorial intent behind the Kuzunohas was to paint them as serving YHVH. I can view the Yatagarasu as being a messenger for YHVH in a lot of other parts of the series, but judging by how Radio's higher-ups don't seem to mind him thwarting a plan made by YHVH, I can't really see them as being aligned with him, or even being intended to.

      Delete
    7. Well, I admitted as such that JJCAT is some pretty bizarre stuff. :p

      And no, this isn't a hill I want to die on, either. But when you look at the body of evidence--the games and their contents--it suggests the relationships between the various characters and factions in the "prime" SMT as stated above.

      Bad writing, bad retcons. Those are the real problems here. Blame Kaneko for thinking Yatagarasu is a messenger of YHVH.

      Delete
    8. Well, as far as I'm concerned, the difference here is mainly just in how much either of us is able to buy into certain aspects. And if Raidou is going around actively opposing YHVH without interference, all I can infer from knowing that the Hebraic gods also helped the Amatsu faction at some point in the past, which the Yatagarasu was once a part of, is that it was a temporary alliance. And considering that the alliance was not alluded to as being permanent, it feels easy to buy into. Now, Yatagarasu is obviously YHVH-aligned unconditionally in other venues, but considering that SMT as a whole is kind of a multiverse, I can buy that one universe has a non-Yhvh yatagarasu.

      Delete
    9. Yeah, it makes sense the alliance wouldn't be permanent. That happens by SMT2's place in the timeline in any case. Unfortunately, there's nothing in the Raidou or Devil Summoner games that suggests the alliance is broken. I don't think they would have included the Okuninushi quest if it wasn't intended to be still active. Taken together with the Yatagarasu stuff, you just have to make too many assumptions to claim otherwise. Yes, SMT is a multiverse where usually things aren't connected, but in this particular instance they are, and Yatagarasu becomes the central conduit of continuity between the ancient backstory with Jimmu up to Raidou's present. The Infinite Abyss's provenance does not shift the implications of Yatagarasu.

      Again, inconsistent writing quality is to blame!

      Delete
    10. I would be willing to bet that the alliance would be worth bringing up from Okuninushi's perspective even if it weren't still there simply because that was the way things were at the time. Now, of course, that does call into question why it's mentioned in the game itself, but considering that Raidou is actively allowed to mingle with Lucifer and throw a wrench into YHVH's machinations, all I can say is that the possibility of the Herald of Yatagarasu being subservient to YHVH makes substantially less sense than if she doesn't. And maybe inconsistent writing quality is to blame, but I can't interpret this combination of events this way.

      Delete
    11. In the law ending in raidou the angel never tells you not to fight shinado though. He's pretty chill with you doing it.

      The thing about a lot of the games is that there is that the law side is not monolithic in the way you might normally think. Introduced in II, and later on becomes a bigger plot, the law side has a disconnect with yhvh. In II they turn on him, but he seems to be a law figure, just a darker one who wants the plan for his own benefit, whereas gabbriel has in mind a world for the people themselves. If we are meant to assume he is behind the scenes in nocturne, the ambiguous order side in nocturne doesn't care what the ruling philosophy of the world is, only that one exists. In strange journey, demiurge who is meant to be more or less yhvh isn't that strongly affiliated with law. Even on neutral you can unseal him and he says he will protect your neutral world.

      In IV its ambiguous, since its not clear if "god" means yhvh. But the white do say that even if you don't go law, you will inadvertently play into god's schemes. IVA I think explains it rather well. What a lot of the games have been hinting at before, but shown explicitly. Obviously not every world has the same backstory and relations, but in iva what we are shown is that yhvh doesn't seem to even give a shit about the law world. Merkabah acts like he is doing it in yhvh's name, but yhvh is more like allowing it rather than specifically wanting it as an outcome. The divine powers even seem to imply that yhvh never wanted it to happen. Only for the sides to fight and wear eachother out into a stalemate, and for the cycle to repeat itself.

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    12. There's actually three groups of angels in iva. The ones with merkabah, the fallen angels, and the higher ones guarding yhvh's universe who satan when reformed was ostensibly meant to be one of before turning on him. The higher ones ironically being the ones who in christian lore spend more time glorfying god rather than dealing with humans. I almost didn't know the third group existed because in the first two areas you fight illusions, and its doesn't tell you at first when the crossover happens. This can give some context to the law side as a whole, even in earlier games. Angels or no, a staple of the law "path" seems to be that yhvh and whoever is a diehard servant of his is part of their own plan. One that in II seemed to be a law world that he ruled in an oppressive way it seems, but which in later games has more to do with him keeping power, and less about what the world is like other than for it to have some kind of structure that points back to him having power. Those who truly care about the law world in the peaceful egalitarian format that exists for the people themselves and which the endings lead to are a subset of the larger group of angels and gods that compose the side. And their main figure is really more the archetype of the messiah, rather than yhvh. So when dealing with angels or figures on the law side, you always have to take into account the ambiguity over where they are on that gradient in game. In some games, this more explicit law world side may or may not be tolerant of yhvh staying around than others, but that still doesn't make that plan associated with him specifically.

      If you think of it in terms of real monotheism. In christianity god creates the world. But if everyone in it went to hell, instead of heaven, he would still ultimately be the one in power. He doesn't -need- anyone to go to heaven per say. In the later games it implies that this carries over into not really caring that much whether they get a law world, because that may have not even been his plan to begin with. Some of the angels who are his bunrei may have came up with it themselves, with varying positions on whether they are doing it in his name or not and trying to usurp him in secret, but which he may allow / try to make use of without really necessarily being on the page of. Whether in the games where you aren't specifically going against him means that he, despite not really caring about it is not incompatible with it, or whether they might target him too at a later date is left ambiguous. Like in real christianity where he isn't stopping everyone from going to hell instead, but if you go to heaven he'd be there. That is translated to in game apathy about the actual state of the human world itself. But mixed with some gnosticism and things, where sometimes the messiah is meant to supplant him in the end.

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    13. This is fascinating and all, but it really doesn't have anything to do with what we were discussing. And I have some problems with the Law endings of various games regardless of whether or not YHVH is directly in charge of what's going on, but that's beside the point.

      PS. Just to note, Demiurge will only join your party in SJ if you're Law Aligned. Yes, you can fuse him, but THE demiurge will only join you there. Just though you should know.

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    14. I mean, I guess you could say that the Herald is just Law-Aligned and not YHVH-aligned by this logic, but OP was trying to steer it primarily as being YHVH adherent, which is why I responded as such.

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    15. @phantombroker

      Remember, the conclusion of this whole article is that while you can insinuate racist undertones from the JJCAT theme, I believe they only come about because of sloppy, inconsistent, ill-considered writing. :p

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    16. I can buy that, and my problem isn't with claims to racism or about the quality of the writing here. I suppose that whoever was proofreading the various lines just didn't think through the implications of the Amatsu faction allying with the Hebraic faction against the Knits gods in the context of what Raidou was doing in-game.

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    17. Demiurge only outright joins you on law, but if you go neutral he doesn't act like your enemy. He acts like he is chill with your choice, and will protect it from afar. Someone told me he even acts okay with your choice on chaos, but I've never seen that scene.

      What my point was meant to be is that the yatagarasu might be law, and raidou might work for it, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's working for yhvh. If law isn't monolithic, then the disconnect here between why the angel and yatagarasu are fine with you going against abbadon is that they might simply disagree with it, despite being part of a loose association people might think is connected. There is afterall plenty of infighting among people on the law side, like in iv where mastema still identifies as being an angel and following "god", despite swinging all the way over to working for neutral.

      For that matter, nobody really addresses in game that since abbadon was activated by deliberate scheming rather than naturally that it seems to imply that the system is broken. At that point even yhvh might want to stop it, because someone is using it wrong. Or might let it play out as some kind of test to see if you could overcome it.

      Also, I forget, but did the game ever even explain who shinado was? Was he always king abbadon and chosen as the core of the system, or did he become king abbadon at some point.

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    18. I'll let the wiki explain what YHVH was doing, "The Infinite Abyss is a system set up by God to either punish or restore faith to him in the world through fear of him. Since humans despaired of the world and despairing over the world is the same as losing faith in God, a portal will open up to the Infinite Abyss. The Apollyon horde act as agents to bring humans back to his side. Shinado's Anger aspect uses this system set up by God as a means to bring what he considers salvation to mankind. Camael also mentions the lord watching the events from afar. In New Game Plus, after doing a Chaos playthrough, Lucifer will reveal during the third bonus fight against him that the future is currently determined by God and states that only Raidou can free the timeline's control from him."

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    19. And, well, considering the track record that the angels have with generally serving God up to the point where they don't need his backing anymore, I don't think the angels are going against him just yet, especially considering that Radiou's games canonically take place in the same time branch of games that lead to SMT 1 and 2, where he does do so. Now, Raidou does fight an angel, Camael, so long as he only takes the natural or chaos routes, so there might be a bit of overlap here. I haven't seen the law route of Raidou 2, so I don't know the circumstances of his approval in the law route, or why he approves of Radio's actions there compared to his actions in the chaos route. It's possible that the Kuzunohas actually are Law-aligned, and Raidou, i.e. the player, has to choose whether or not they're doing their job for the sake of God or for their own sake. Or YHVH is going through an SMTIVA deal right now and doesn't really give a shit about the angels and is just fucking with everyone.

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    20. Though, only that last one would reasonably explain most everything. And by the time Devil Summoner prime rolls around, it seems that there really isn't any Herald calling the shots anymore. Maybe there was some internal reworking within the Kuzunohas? I'm no expert on Japanese history, but I'm aware that while Japan used to heavily buy into state Shintoism, they're not particularly religious anymore. Does the absence of the Herald of Yatagarasu in later Kuzunoha endeavors reflect Japanese attitudes towards religion over time? I might have some of these facts wrong, but I'd be happy to be corrected.

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    21. Also, Shinado is the representation of mankind's despair. It isn't inherently King Abandon, since Dahn is able to become King Abandon in the Law route. And even though Dahn was responsible for awakening it, that's kind of the point. Mankind was the one being judged with the apollyon horde.

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    22. Actually Eirikjrs is the only one being racist here. Nazis declared Jews a race, but there is no biological basis for it. They're only considered an ethnic background legally in the US, for example, because they needed a protected class due to the overwhelming Christian discrimination for their religious background. A distinct cultural identity and religion, but not an ethnic background. To say such is to support Naziism according to many Jewish people themselves. I've seen the opposite argued by Jewish friends and professors, and I would obviously defend their cultural identity and religion, but unfortunately the Jewish "ethnic" identity is based on Nazi propaganda. So it seems Eirikjrs is the one solely at fault for unfortunate implications.

      https://www.algemeiner.com/2015/04/28/british-ethnologist-richard-dawkins-jew-is-not-a-race/

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    23. Jarin, not that I don't try to see what you're saying here, but this really doesn't have anything to do with this.

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  12. Well, that escalated pretty dramatically! Man, Jarin, I've lost all respect for you. You're clearly just trying to pick a fight.

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    1. The worst part is that he's not though. He's legitimately so arrogant that the second he sees someone disagree with him he spouts insults at them, followed by incoherent ranting about vague associations he made up in his head, and he legitimately expects this to be followed by the person agreeing apparently.

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  13. Uh oh, here come the nazi accusations! I tell ya, I like SMT4 and all, but this Jarin fucker sure is making it difficult.

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  14. As a complete outsider, I had to say that Jarin pointed out some intresting facts, and counter argument that is beneficial to strengthen and to widen the whole SMT's backlore, to show that while JJCAT seemed like the main inspiration for a lot of things in SMT lore, ITS NOT the only inspiration. Eirik mistake seemed to stem from his attempt to rounded up those other inspiration into his predetermined mould of "SMT is JJCAT" theory, no matter how easily and identifiable those ends would make sense if you had used other explanation that Jarin mentioned.

    In the end of the day, after throughout reading, I have to disagree with Eirikr conclusion, at how problematic this JJCAT usage in SMT. There are no blatant wrongness in different interpretation, as long as it used in context that is appropriate, which in this case, was a fictional setting for a fictional game. At its core, Japanese devs are going to make japanese game, full of japanese ideas, that may or may not be in tune with other group's ideas. It was a bit of a letdown that after all those research, Eirikr conclusion wasnt to acknowledge and respect that, but instead how unsatisfied he is that a group of people from other part of the world was going to have a different thinking than him, and if they dont change that, there's going to be a grave consequences (tm).

    Ah well, good luck to you and these band of users which only nods at your one-sided interpretation because they didnt have time to think for themselves, I guess. I mean, echo chamber is a nice place to live in, especially if you're the one tailoring it. Altough I had to say that you did come here by process, which is by becoming one of the most, if not, the most well read, most diligent, most passioate and most researched fan in the whole SMT internet fandom.

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    1. Hey Rizki, thanks for commenting, but I in no way said that JJCAT is the only inspiration for SMT. I also mention in the conclusion about it being a Japanese series for a primarily Japanese audience. But I'm of the mind that a fictional context does exonerate authors of their intentions, particularly when they have resonance with real world culture like SMT does.

      JJCAT is also not universally condemned here. Most of the things I found led to interesting discoveries; the use in SMT4 and 4A, however, is to me just more examples of sloppy writing on the part of that team.

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    2. Eirikr didn't say that jjcat is the only or even main thing smt is based on at all. In fact, he said it doesn't seem present at all in earlier games. So how would it be? It also makes no sense to dismiss him pointing out that intentionally or not it has unfortunate implications. Appealing to japan being a different culture doesn't change anything, since some of these unfortunate implications are -part- of japanese culture. Making a fictionalized WWII parallel where lo and behold the jewish (((globalist))) conspiracy is real all along, and highly dangerous, as much so as the nazi analogue, and that has "subtle" racism weaved throughout is dubious no matter what way you spin it.

      Also, where is this echo chamber? It doesn't actually exist. Its born of the fevered dreams of jarinjove's madness. Its not an echo chamber for two perspectives on something to exist, and so half of users to agree with the op.

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    3. Rxcept absolutely nothing concrete supports this so-called globalist conspiracy. The Archangels were the ones responsible, YHVH explicitly preaches the New Testament's Sermon on the Mount, and we're shown forms of Japanese ethnocentrism being denounced. The premise cannot possibly be supported so he presupposed it and offered no real evidence.

      Where in this bizarre fever dream of his, could he have possibly interpreted YHVH being referenced as Jewish in Nocturne? That is literally a visceral attempt at the Christian End of Times.

      Why, for instance, was Akira even made King by the Angels -- who explicitly say that he had unclean blood, if JJCAT is true?

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  15. @Eirikr Great work on your blog, had a good binge on your content after finding you on an offhand YT comment. First, no matter how rude these comments get, the research done to keep these arguments fueled is astounding.

    However, as much as you hate SMT4, I notice you don't mention the "Literature of Mikado" arc at all, despite the plot holes, in your earlier work. From what I took from that arc before Tokyo, the scenario reminded me of the Russian revolution being spurred by poorly-cited articles such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Likewise, the Black Samurai was taking advantage of how poorly educated Mikado was (as Mikado only had nonfiction held by Luxurors and Samurai) to exploit a society where fiction was a novelty only owned by those who know of Naraku. Although it was eventually enough of an incensed incident that Gabriel was tricked into starting a purge (proving the conspiracies right), it does go to show there is SOME self awareness in SMT4, as we're better off with fiction in society due to understanding what makes a lie tick...such as JJCAT.

    This next one is unrelated to JJCAT and more towards your criticism of SMT4, but the Reds may have been more of a jab at child prostitution, in a game crammed with too many ideas. Despite Tokyo in desperate need of kids to raise the next generation, the demons can't help but feel intoxicated by living vicariously through memories in a child's eye. Therefore, kids are stolen off the street to live as sacred cattle, valued more for their innocence than their potential to grow, and cursed to live in eternal infantilism growing dumber by the day. Whether Red addicts turn into demons through the knowledge of robbing another's age, or projecting their defensive fantasy upon themselves, it's a vicious cycle that eventually leads to Infernal Tokyo with a full master/slave system. Besides the brain matter, I'm also tempted to say that Magatsuhi's gas may also trigger horniness along with an ego spike, as Johnathan starts acting like a furry when high and Flynn drops his pants to do that thing with his "nose".

    Although there may be signs that SMT4 has themes more sinister to reflect upon the audience, I'm going to err on a negligent creator than a malicious intent. Keep in mind that shortly after SMT4, Index corp went under, leaving a sea of poorly implemented DLC boss fights & costumes (the P2W farming areas come to mind), new redesigns for a new car smell, several new settings that were underutilized, absurdly self-referential for half an audience that don't know the references, and Europe was still left out cold for a long while. You can even argue the Furigana was a leftover when they weren't sure about localizing SMT4 to the west, throwing Japanese learners a bone. If Wikipedia is to be believed, there was even an internal debate whether to let Persona's lighter tone shine through with more women in the cast - in that light, keeping the protagonist male would dissuade Walter and Johnathan from being romanced. I don't blame them for trying to retcon SMT4 in 4A to the point of an alternate canon. With that said, I'd be willing to call SMT4 a guilty pleasure that has all the ingredients of a fun world (seriously, I never realized how much I wanted a STALKER-esque Tokyo until I played this) that came at the wrong time. Here's hoping to SMT5 for Atlus to get their shit together.

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    1. Pat,

      ...Okay, looks like the coast is clear. :P

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you survived the negativity onslaught with your wits intact. :P

      Just a few things, I only mentioned the literature in regards to how the books transform people into demons, and how that opens up the worst cans of worms about what the demons are; any social effect on the populace of Mikado is irrelevant because it doesn't affect the main plot. Likewise, I guess I'm more conservative in my approach on themes and don't like to expound unless there are quotes from the developers. That said, Ishida mentions in the SMT4 artbook that they originally wanted the Roppongi section to be a lot nastier, so you could be on the money.

      I do hate JJCAT, though it's no less dumb than any other garden variety conspiracy theory. I will admit that some of the rhetoric I used here was a little harsh and that I conclude in saying that there's no true malice--but they had to have been aware of the implications of the scenario. But again, given how the Chinese stuff in 4 is presented without irony, maybe not. Here's hoping SMT5 is a lot better about it, but I can only think I may have to update this article sometime in 2019. :P

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