The powerful portrayal of sexual identity in Persona 4

Gamasutra has an interesting op-ed piece up today discussing the portrayal of sexuality in Persona 4. In the game, tough teen Kanji Tatsumi confronts his sexuality in an “engaging and meaningful manner” inside The Midnight Channel, an alternate dimension where the main characters must battle demons both literal and figurative.

Although Kanji’s sexuality was purposefully left ambiguous, to more accurately portray homosexuality’s place within the greater Japanese social context, the developer does not reject the possibility that he might be gay. In order defeat his flamboyant alter-ego, Shadow Kanji, he must accept him as an essential part of his personality. And as the game progresses, he continues confronting the issue, dealing with jokes regarding his sexuality, his love of knitting, and his crush on a male character, who turns out to be a cross-dressing woman.

“We would like everyone to play through the game and come up with their own answers to that question; there is no official answer,” says Yu Namba, Atlus USA’s Persona 4 Project Lead. “What matters is that Kanji’s other self cries out, ‘Accept me for who I am!’ I think it’s a powerful message which many, if not all of us can relate to.”