Kojima on Japan's 'losing' battle

Insight: MGS legend on the future of Eastern video games

Hideo Kojima is undoubtedly one of Japan's most prolific and respected video games designers.

So when the Metal Gear Solid creator says his mother country is fighting a "losing" battle against the Western games industry - and calls for a review of Japanese education - people take notice.

The Konami designer this week shared his detailed opinion on the state of the Japanese games industry. Kojima's full, unedited opinion follows...

With mangas booming to be very popular lately in the west, there was a special TV program featuring Kyoto Seika University's Manga Department. There are many foreign exchange students from Asia, Europe and the US visiting Kyoto. A professor in the Manga Department, Keiko Takemiya stated that "the foreign exchange students have a lot of motivation!"


The TV Show put the spotlight on female students from Europe and US. One lady mentioned she was inspired by Ranma and began studying Japanese and applied for the Manga Department in her University. She looks over her classmates' work during lunch break, heads to the bookstore after class, and reads a little of it before a purchase. She then goes to Karoake to sing her favorite anime songs. She really likes Manga!!

The Game Industry is very similar. The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing. The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true. So it is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing, we are lacking the motivation.

In contrast, the number of students that study abroad from Japan has decreased. There are very few Japanese students at the prestigious Harvard University, and in MIT...zero. The engineering population in Japan may be in jeopardy. We should first review our education system here in Japan.

Lately I have come to conclusion that, with highly motivated foreigners... it doesn't matter where they are from, working with highly motivated individuals is the only way to move forward. I am tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion.

Time is used differently between people who have and don't have motivation. They are willing to learn and study on their own. A programmer in our studio reads while he is walking, and finishes 2 novels a day. Another genius programmer we have plays COD, at the same time, eats his lunch during break.

The reason why the programmer plays "COD" during his cherished lunch time is because he likes gaming more than anything. Even if I am busy, even if I have to sacrifice something, I would... for movies and books. Saying you don't have time because of work, using work as an excuse, will not help you grow. Creating abilities, at it's core, is reliant on your love for the creation.