Minecraft is often referred to by many as the greatest game of all time. The game has one of the biggest open worlds among all forms of media, and it is every gamer’s dream to one day explore the lush plains and terrifying caves of Mojang’s masterpiece of a game.
In recent years, however, some aspects of Minecraft have started to change. While some have been for the game's good, the community has frowned upon other changes. A sandbox title this big attracts all kinds of people, and a small number of these community members tend to contribute to some of the more toxic aspects of the game through in-game chat, like using the word “Jap”.
Using such offensive language has forced moderation by the developers and the eventual banning of such words. However, the ban has branched into other facets of the game's chat system, some of which will be discussed in this article.
Minecraft’s latest chat ban results in users not being able to write “Japan”
Recently, Mojang banned the use of the word “Jap,” as it is a racist slur that people use to insult people of Asian descent or, most commonly, the Japanese people. The slur originated during World War II, before and around the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Whenever someone chooses to type any word with "Jap" in it, it changes to "Jaan."
In the years after the war, Japanese people living in countries like the US have found the term “Jap” quite offensive. Due to the rise in toxicity in online Minecraft servers, Mojang has decided to ban the word from the game.
This, however, has led to players having problems typing the parent word “Japan” in chat as well. Players who try to communicate and talk about using words like “Japan” or “Japanese” are met with restrictive messages from Minecraft.
In addition, the word “Jap” means “yep” in German, which has led to instances of German-speaking players being unable to talk in-game. Of course, alternatives to this exist, with the most common one being the option for German-speaking players to partially communicate in English and say “yep” or “yes”.
The ban on the word took place in mid-2022, and it is clear that many players are not happy about it. One player took to Twitter and pointed out that Microsoft was “forcing moderation on the game” instead of working to remove toxicity.
There are a few other downsides to the introduction of this ban. Aside from restricting people who want to write statements with words like “Japan '' in them, the ban might also discourage people from the affected communities to stop playing the game.
For example, Japanese and German players can respond negatively to the hindrances caused by the ban. As of August 2022, “Jap” is a part of 12 words that have been banned from Minecraft chat.
The ban on the term "Jap" is similar to another chat ban that took place some time ago. The word "Paki" was banned from the game as well. Just like “Jap” refers to the people of Japanese and Eastern Asian descent, “Paki” is a British slang for Pakistani, Indian, and other people of South Asian descent and is considered an offensive slur.
While the move does shield people from the two slurs and essentially takes a stand against racism, Microsoft must figure out a way to make words like "Japan" and "Japanese" accessible to players, thus allowing them to communicate effectively.