crime

Man arrested after forcing 9-year-old stepson to play violent video games

24 Comments
By Philip Kendall

Police in Kyoto have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of coercion after it was claimed that he had repeatedly forced his nine-year-old stepson to play violent and age-inappropriate video games over the course of six months whenever his mother was absent.

Video games often get a bad rap in the media. Although the majority of today’s reporters, critics, medical professionals and parents grew up with televisions in their homes and will happily stare at the idiot box for hours on end each day, video games are a far younger medium of entertainment and as such are often misunderstood or blamed for all manner of atrocities as soon as it becomes clear that an offender – as well as owning a television set, watching movies, reading books, and eating food every day – plays video games.

Even the most ardent of gamers would doubtless agree that there are plenty of video games out there that are simply not meant for kids. "Grand Theft Auto V," which sold 29 million copies in its first six weeks alone and went on to become 2013′s most popular game, is packed with graphic violence, foul language and scenes of a sexually explicit nature.

Critically acclaimed survival drama "The Last of Us," meanwhile, thrusts players into a post-apocalyptic world in which the protagonists are set upon by everything from cordyceps virus-infected mutants to vicious groups of survivors with cannibalistic tendencies. The games are clearly labeled 18+, or “CERO Z” in Japan, meaning that they are strictly for adults only.

Kids sometimes get away with playing games that aren’t meant for them, and many parents, knowingly or otherwise, often allow their offspring to pick up titles that governing bodies deem inappropriate for minors. But one man in Nara Prefecture currently stands accused of not just allowing a child access to such games, but actively forcing him to play them over a period of six months.

The unnamed male, who worked as a care giver in the Nara area, allegedly subjected the elementary school boy to games such as "Grand Theft Auto IV," "Tekken Tag Tournament 2," brawler "Kenka Bancho" and "Metal Gear Solid IV," all of which feature scenes of intense violence and strictly not for children.

Police said that the boy’s stepfather would force him to sit close beside him and play the games, sometimes up to three times per week for two or three hours at a time, even though the boy was uncomfortable doing so.

Police also said that, whenever left alone with the boy, the man would suddenly hurl insults at him, swearing and telling him that he was “not wanted” in the home and that he wished he would die, as well as making ominous statements such as “I have yakuza [gangster] friends.”

Yahoo! News reports that, after months of worrying about the effects of the man’s behaviour and the content he was exposing her son to, the boy’s mother separated from the 28-year-old care giver in April last year. Speaking with medical professionals, it became clear that the boy was suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress. It was then that the single mother went to the authorities, who arrested her estranged husband in January this year on suspicion of coercion.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News

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24 Comments
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Police also said that, whenever left alone with the boy, the man would suddenly hurl insults at him, swearing and telling him that he was “not wanted” in the home and that he wished he would die, as well as making ominous statements such as “I have yakuza [gangster] friends.”

This actually has nothing at all to do with video games. This man was abusive and would have been abusive even if there were no video games to use.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

So he's a "care giver" who:

...would suddenly hurl insults at the boy, swearing and telling him that he was not wanted in the home and that he wished he would die, as well as making ominous statements such as I have yakuza [gangster] friends

Kudos to the mother who ditched him and did something about it, pity for the people he's "caring" for wherever he works.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This guy deserves to be locked in a cell with his "yakuza friends" to see how buddy buddy he really is.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Why did it take months for the mother to kick this scum out? But better late than never.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A happy ending relatively speaking for Japan. I hope the boy is okay and finds a good male figure who can give him confidence.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow. Jesus. What a rough time he had. Being forced to play video games, eh?

Call the cops, this is where the real abuse is happening.

Surely all the other stuff he did was a lot worse. Why is the video game aspect getting the headlines? Oh, yeah, because video games are the root of all evil, I forgot, sorry.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

No more Plants vs Zombies for my boys!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not a The Onion piece? Amazing... You'd be hard-pressed to find 9 year old boys who don't want to -voluntarily- play games like Tekken or GTA.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

wait a sec...he's arrested for forcing the kid to play video games but not for the physical and emotional abuse part? priorities. the kid is likely conversely being coerced by the mother to play up the 'post-traumatic stress' in any case, cause any 9-yo boy would be thrilled to be able to play those games instead of study for juku all day. tsk tsk

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

He is certainly scum, and should not be around kids, if the following is true:

whenever left alone with the boy, the man would suddenly hurl insults at him, swearing and telling him that he was “not wanted” in the home and that he wished he would die, as well as making ominous statements such as “I have yakuza [gangster] friends.”

But the games? Oh come on! GTA IV can be violent, but it doesn't have to be. I let my young son play it, he loved driving around the city, he never got to do anything violent (except accidentally running over a few pedestrians).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Step children in Japan do not fare well for not only they will not have love, they are being abused.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I hope the kid can go back to playing Kamen rider, one piece and Naruto!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So he wasn't arrested for forcing the kid to play video games as the title of the article says.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Violent video games do not harm children. Abusive & criminally insane stepfathers do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm sure that in his twisted little mind he thought he was doing the kid a favor by exposing him to this stuff.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am a bit surprised that there are so many people here who accept the police story at face value. For those people, 99% conviction rate will not be a news.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What bothers me is that this criminal was released without indictment on January 28th this year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can see this as being very bad parenting, but how is this a crime?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But the games? Oh come on! GTA IV can be violent, but it doesn't have to be. I let my young son play it, he loved driving around the city, he never got to do anything violent (except accidentally running over a few pedestrians).

Yeah, while you were watching him.. the moment you left the room he was probably murdering prostitutes with a grenade launcher. I suppose you could just drive around.. then the game would be as interesting as, well, driving around.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I suppose you could just drive around.. then the game would be as interesting as, well, driving around.

Yeah, and little boys like driving around.

GTA IV can be really violent only if you choose to make it so.

Anyway, as far as this guy is concerned, who knows what really happened.

I am a bit surprised by the title; I guess its more appealing than "Man arrested after verbally abusing stepson"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Such a sick guy! I can't imagine the kid growing up as a belligerent person if it continued.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'll ask the question that no Japanese even think to ask. Where is this kids real father?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

he's arrested for forcing the kid to play video games but not for the physical and emotional abuse part?

The police tried to arrest the step father for the PSTD the boy suffered from, but the doctor who gave his second opinion said that it wasn't PSTD so the police couldn't arrest the man for that reason - however, they understood the seriousness and wanted to make sure that the man was punished so they decided to use the fact that those violent video games were strictly for adults - it was just an excuse for the police to arrest him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, the father had obvious issues projected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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