SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Gamic Orientalism and Virtual Ninja Theory

IMG - 20150114 - Christopher Goto-Jones
Prof Christopher Goto-Jones (Leiden University) and Dr Florian Schneider (Leiden University)

Date: 14 January 2015Time: 5:05 PM

Finishes: 14 January 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Seminar


Orientalism has been (and remains) one of the most influential and controversial critiques of Europe’s engagement with Asia.  In this lecture, Goto-Jones asks what happens to Orientalism when it is deployed as a means to interrogate interactive, digital media such as video games.  Rather than functioning as a representational critique, Goto-Jones argues that ‘Gamic Orientalism’ participates in a 'fantasy of becoming.’  Using the case of Bushido and the martial arts as an analogy, Goto-Jones explores the fantasy of enlightenment through the medium of video games, leading to the development of ‘virtual ninja theory.’

Speaker Biography

Prof Chris Goto-Jones is the inaugural chair professor of Comparative Philosophy & Political Thought at Leiden University and a Professorial Research Associate of the JRC, SOAS.  He was previously Professor of Modern Japan Studies and director of the Modern East Asia Research Centre, Leiden.  Goto-Jones is co-founder of the Political and Philosophical Arts initiative ( and a ‘VICI’ laureate of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).  He is principal researcher of a 5-year (1.5 million euro) project to analyse the contributions of visual, interactive, and performance culture to political philosophy in Japan and East Asia (  He has published widely in the fields of political thought and comparative philosophy; in terms of popularizing publications, he is author of ‘A Very Short Introduction to Modern Japan’ (Oxford University Press, 2009), which has been translated into many languages worldwide.

Dr Florian Schneider, Lecturer in the Politics of Modern China at Leiden University, and Editor of Asiascape: Digital Asia (Brill).  Florian is a ‘VENI’ laureate of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), running an extended project on ‘Digital Nationalism in China.’�

A reception follows the talk.

Organiser: Japan Research Centre

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893

Sponsor: Co-sponsored by JRC together with Asiascape: Digital Asia as well as the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)