Last Friday, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, was shot dead during the election campaign of a candidate for the Upper House of Parliament. News of the murder spread quickly, and in a frenetic news cycle, game director Hideo Kojima was falsely identified as the person behind the murder. Kojima Productions is currently considering legal action against those who perpetuate false information about Kojima’s involvement in the shooting.
Hideo Kojima was noticed in the news about Abe because of a lot of bad actors and “trolls” supporting racist posts that said that Abe’s killer and Kojima are very similar. After all, the far-right French politician Damien Rieu repeated one of these posts with the headline “The Far Left is killing,” showing images of Kojima. At this point, Kojima’s story went viral. Shortly after, ANT1 News, a Greek news station, picked up the story and used images of Hideo Kojima discussing the confessed murderer Tetsuya Yamagami. Rieu and ANT1 News have since deleted their posts and withdrawn their statements on the matter.
After a lot of viral posts that scattered yesterday, Kojima Productions announced its intention to sue those who continue to spread this false information. In a message from Kojima Productions’ official Twitter account, the company states that it “condemns the spread of fake news and rumors transmitting false information.” The company also states that it will not tolerate defamation and will consider the possibility of legal action. To what extent Kojima plans to sue and against whom is unknown at the time of writing this article, but this tweet can also be considered a general warning for those who persist in false accusations.
False accusations to such an extent are damaging and potentially life-threatening at such a vulnerable time after such tragic news. Fans on the Internet are shocked and upset that slander has spread to such an extent so quickly and confidently against one of the most famous developers in the video game industry. Many are showing their support for Kojima Productions and are glad that some kind of justice can potentially come to the parties involved.
On the other hand, Hideo Kojima is often called one of the most prolific and thought-provoking storytellers in the industry. His works often reflect social issues or how culture will move forward. In 2001, Kojima directed Metal Gear Solid 2, a game with serious themes concerning the dangers of disinformation and how quickly it can spread as humanity enters the digital age. Many fans note the parallels between Kojima’s MGS2 and recent events, which makes the game even more poignant twenty years later. Despite a string of bad news and misinformation, fans have rallied around the author and continue to find new ways to evaluate his work.