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Published: February 21, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov


  • Japanese esports organization fires Tanukana, a professional Tekken player, for an inappropriate comment
  • The Japanese online community was deeply outraged by the comment
  • The organization and player issue formal apologies

Osaka-based esports team Cyclops Athlete Gaming fired one of its Tekken players Tanukana for controversial statements regarding men’s heights during a live broadcast.

Tanukana Says Something Controversial

The world of professional Tekken was shaken after a pro player said that men under 5’7” “have no human rights” and was fired for that comment. Tanukana, who competes in first-person shooters like PUBG, Call of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege, and fighting games like Tekken, recently made a controversial statement, which in her being fired from Cyclops Athlete Gaming.

In a livestream on February 15, Tanukana said “Men who are under 170 cm (5 ft 6.9 in) don’t have human rights.” She also added they should look into getting bone-lengthening surgery. “We here at Cyclops Athlete Gaming apologize deeply for the inappropriate statements from our sponsored player Tanukana,” announced the organization in an official statement, “and the pain her words have caused people, as well as all the distress and trouble caused to the fans who support our team and the sponsors involved.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time the pro player has said controversial things. As reported by Kotaku, Tanukana has also taken a jab at women, saying people A-cup sized breasts also didn’t have human rights.

Tanukana Apologizes

The professional Tekken player’s comment sparked outrage in Japanese social media, with many calling it discriminatory. In a now-deleted tweet, Tanukana explained that this was not her intention and that she poorly expressed her love of tall people. She apologized, but Japanese culture often expects a more formal way of doing things, so Tanukana’s apology made people even more upset.

As the tradition demands, Tanukana apologized once again, this time more formally, addressing both the fans as well as the organization’s sponsor Red Bull. “I have deep remorse for this statement, which is unbecoming of a pro esports athlete and a member of society,” she wrote.

The whole situation blew up massively in Japan on the backdrop of the definition of “pro gamer” in Japan. According to the Japan Esports Union, one of the main points that define a pro gamer is “self-awareness of being a professional.”

So Why Did This Blow up So Much?

After the story was picked up by J-Cast News (Note that J-Cast provided a transcript from the stream, and only the height comment is mentioned.) Tanukana’s comment quickly spread throw-out Japanese social media. Even one of the country’s major news stations ANN News reported on the incident.

YouTuber and pro wrestler Shibatar explained Tanukana’s comment caused such a ruckus.

“The issue isn’t the sponsor Red Bull, but rather, what’s before that, which is the customers,” said Shibatar. Since most Tekken players are men, that means that most of Tanukana’s customers are men. Shibatar gave an example with TikTok and if Tanukana was a fashion model. If she would have said the same thing it would not have been such a big issue because most of her customers would have been women. “So, the issue becomes, who are Tanukana’s customers?” he says.

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