Tekken 7's Josie Rizal skirts line between controversy, approval

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Namco Bandai Producer Katsuhiro Harada unveiled new Filipina Tekken 7 character Josie Rizal to the public on Sunday, March 29, during the Tekken 20th anniversary livestream on Japanese streaming site Nico Nico.

While Harada said recently that most feedback regarding the reveal has been positive, at least one Philippine body is considering steps to mitigate any false impressiions Josie Rizal may give about the fictional version of the Philippines she hails from. 

According to a GMA Cebu report, Leodenito Cañete, Visayas coordinator for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' (NCCA) Bayaning Bayan program, said they may look for ways to correct any wrong impressions the Tekken 7 character may have given about national hero Jose Rizal and the Philippines.

While Cañete did not elaborate on any steps they would take, he did tell GMA Cebu, "Mahirap natin mapigilan ang ibang bansa na gumawa ng ganoong character kasi ang Pilipinas, sikat na sikat sa mundo." (It's hard to keep another country from making that sort of character since the Philippines is well-known around the world.)

In a statement on April 2, the NCCA clarified that while it is studying what actions it can take "on the issue of of the name and image of Dr. Jose Rizal being dragged into" the Tekken 7 roster discussion, the stance of Leodenito Cañete "is not reflective of the stand of the commission. This also serves to clarify that Dr. Cañete is not an NCCA official nor a member of any of our national committees."

The NCCA added, "The Commission shall issue an official statement soon on what actions it will take upon studying the legal aspect of this matter, in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP)."

NCCA Press Statement.© Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) Posted by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A 'minority' of negative feedback

Responding to feedback following the reveal of Josie Rizal, along with Tekken characters Jin and Devil Jin, Harada noted that around 94% of the feedback has been positive.

Already 94% is positive now. RT @MarkMan23 the reception has been amazing for Josie. Lots of fan feedback, go… http://t.co/2omiVhDrlE — Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) March 29, 2015

In a separate response to a Twitter user asking Harada to change the name of Josie Rizal, Harada said "No."

He added the company already got "tons of positive feedback about her. You are minority."

No. Because we got already tons of positive feedbacks about her. You are minority. RT @JEDDailyEDM please change the name of "josie rizal" :( — Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) March 29, 2015

No release date announcement for Josie Rizal has been made, with the producer teasing only a "soon" time frame for the character's release. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.