This academic analysis examines the incorporation of Japanese religious philosophy in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a video game by FromSoftware. The analysis focuses on the concepts of kegare, samsara, and stagnation, exploring their portrayal in the game's narrative, characters, and symbolism. Sekiro represents the Shinto concept of kegare through the "Dragonrot" disease, prompting players to understand the significance of spiritual impurity and the need for purification rituals. The game also delves into the Buddhist concept of samsara, depicting the protagonist's cycle of death and resurrection, inviting contemplation on identity and the pursuit of transcendence. Stagnation is portrayed through the land of Ashina, trapped in perpetual war and clinging to outdated traditions. The protagonist's actions challenge this state of stagnation, aiming to restore equilibrium.
Based on the academic approaches of influential scholars such as Vít Šisler, Xenia Zeiler and Lars de Wildt, this analysis highlights the educational value of video games in teaching Japanese religious philosophy to non-native players. Sekiro's immersive world and gameplay provide an accessible platform for players to engage with and comprehend these complex concepts, promoting reflection on spiritual purity, the cyclical nature of existence, and the need for societal transformation. We conclude that including Japanese religious philosophy in video games facilitates cultural exchange and fosters intercultural dialogue, broadening cultural horizons and promoting a deeper understanding of Japanese religious thought. Through its integration of Japanese religious philosophy, Sekiro offers an immersive and interactive experience that enhances players' appreciation and comprehension of these philosophical ideas, transcending traditional educational approaches.
Geoffrey Fernandez, Indian Institute of Technology, India
Rashmi Gaur, Indian Institute of Technology, India