Finding the Post-Postwar Japan in Death Stranding's Sublime Ruins


  • Yasheng She


the sublime, Death Stranding, post-postwar Japan


This paper uses the sublime as an aesthetic condition and a political apparatus to locate echoes of Japan's post-postwar modernity reverberating throughout Death Stranding's story about unifying the postapocalyptic United States and struggling against the end of the world. It will first establish qualities of the sublime and explore how the game stages the sublime through its ruins and encounters. It then considers the political affordance of the sublime, namely its potency in disrupting official narratives, by exploring how the game meditates on themes intimately linked to Japan's post-postwar modernity, a blend between reflections on Japan's wartime trauma and anxieties towards future precarity. Closely reading encounters with the sublime in Death Stranding, this paper dwells on the frightful pleasure and the dreadful allure of the ruins and situates the sublime as a visual and political framework.





@Conference{digra1910, title ="Finding the Post-Postwar Japan in Death Stranding's Sublime Ruins", year = "2023", author = "She, Yasheng", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}