Thread: Shenmue III
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Old 07-06-2015, 06:34 PM   #19
Nebby. Back into the bag.
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That one actually annoyed me. ^^; I feel like there are really easy, really classy ways of addressing this specific to Shenmue:
  1. You could argue that since China is the home of the world's greatest martial artists that any martial artist worth his salt will learn Chinese and go to train in China. Iwao appears to have done this in his own youth. It's entirely conceivable that he would have taught Ryo some basic Chinese and/or that he would've encouraged Ryo to enroll in Chinese courses in middle school and high school. (It could easily be argued that Chinese would be more beneficial as a second language to the head of a karate dojo in Yokosuka than would English!)

    The analogy I would use here is, it's similar to how physicists, chemists, and other scientists in the early 20th century would study German. 50% of all scientific literature was coming out of Germany at the time, and all of the world's greatest minds in physics and chemistry at the time were either based out of German-speaking nations like Prussia and Austria or else were educated in German like the French. Similarly, it makes sense for a martial artist in the 1980s to pick up Chinese. No one's writing anything particularly profound in English! But you've got people like Yuanda Zhu writing the Wulinshu. And you've got thousands of years' worth of ancient Chinese scrolls and texts on the subject.
  2. You could argue that Ryo's mother is Chinese. We have never met Ryo's mother, and iirc she hasn't even been revealed yet. Is she living or dead? If dead, how did she die? Is she Japanese, Chinese, or other? As far as I know, none of these questions have been answered yet. She has been revealed to have died when Ryo was three years old, my mistake. Been a long time since I've revisited Shenmue 1. Anyway: why not have her be Chinese!? It would make sense in a way: if Iwao met Ryo's mother while he was studying in China, as frequently happens with students studying abroad, it'd make sense for her to be Chinese. And then it'd make sense that Ryo might've learned Chinese either:
    1. directly from his mother, if alive well we can cross this one off the list now
    2. from his father who wanted to honor Ryo's deceased mother and teach their son both of his parents' native tongues
    Back to the topic of Iwao having had intimate relations with a Chinese woman, it could even shed some light on what happened between Iwao and Sunming Zhao. We still don't know what led to their duel. While I'm perfectly okay with it not having anything to do with a woman, and have never even clung to such a theory all these years I've been a Shenmue fan, I'm just putting forward that it would still technically be a viable theory at this juncture. It's also possible that she ties in less directly, e.g. what led to their duel was a difference in ideologies but as a consequence of this Ryo's mother made clear her loyalty to Iwao. Who knows.
Personally I've always just assumed it was 1. I'm comfortable with 2 though as well. Either of these could explain away the "plot hole" that Suzuki seems to be embarrassed by. It doesn't have to be a plot hole, Sensei!
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