I had a very rare chance to meet with Agness Kaku over the weekend, a professional writer. If you enjoy console games, you’ve probably seen her work in Metal Gear Solid 2, and the Katamari Damashii games. I don’t have many peers or mentors in the same line of work that I’ve been in or may want to continue in, but when I read about her localization work in a HardcoreGaming101 interview, it reminded me of what little localization experience I had in game development, where silly problems like character and page limits would restrict translations, and I would have to request for more concise or even watered down translations in order to fit into what was essentially a final product. Reading her interview gave me insight on the other side of my requests, as the wall between a developer and translator is pretty thick. It takes so much work and understanding for a translator/writer to strike the perfect balance in the text in order to make a Japanese game succeed in the West, and Agness is very skillful at this, as she is very well-read, and a total lit nerd. She is mellow, observant, and thoughtful about the world around her, and calls out injustices in a calm, but firm manner. To be around this unique, yet familiar presence while discussing our game industry history and experience was amazingly sublime, and I’m just incredibly humbled.
For almost a year, she’s been involved in a libel suit with the guy who kickstarted The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, with whom she originally had backed, as well as personally introduced to a group of interpreters with class A resumes and credentials. Due to the business relationship gone sour, followed by continued unprofessional online defamation against the interpreters by the KS (Kickstarter), Agness has taken it upon herself to take responsibility for that introduction and is suing for libel after realizing that things did not get better after
2 *5* months of staying silent about the way business was conducted, and when KS did not respond to her request to remove or retract the libelous update. She received harassment emails from KS backers who believed she was out to destroy the project, as was stated on a KS update after she notified the KS interviewees, coordinated by the interpreters, of the defamatory remarks for transparency and protection of their reputations.
In a few words, the situation is like a hodge-podge of Julian Blanc white privilege/misogyny in a foreign country and GamerGate witch-hunting. For what it’s worth, I hope that Agness wins her case.