Real World Elements That Inspired The Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky

By Spencer . May 20, 2011 . 5:31pm


Falcom’s Ys games have roots in reality. The land that Adol spends the most time wandering in is inspired by Europe. With this in mind and Falcom fans on Siliconera curious about the origins of Zemura, I asked Toshihiro Kondo, President of Nihon Falcom, what parts of our world inspired the world of The Legend of the Heroes: Trails in the Sky.


"Since Liberl Kingdom is located between two political superpowers, yet still maintains its independence, we actually based it on Thailand. It even has a similar shape to Thailand," Kondo replied. "We also referenced the age of imperialism in Europe. And for the Septian Church, we based it on a typical Japanese impression of what the church represents, so I’m sure there are indeed some similarities to Catholicism."


Thailand? Ah, I think I see it now.


liberl thailand


Stay tuned because early next week we’ll post our interview Kondo.

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  • CleruTesh

    OK, I really need to play this game now. What is the “typical Japanese impression” of Catholicism? Genuinely curious.



      • CleruTesh

        Noted. Honestly, I sold my PSP awhile back as game releases were at a trickle. But I have bought P3P (just for the hat), so I have been looking for an excuse to buy PSP again. Guess it’s kinda inevitable at this point.

    • Well, “nuns as mikos” is one example, although the Church in Trails avoids any of the “evil scheming churchmen” cliches you find in so many other RPGs (at least in FC). If anything it comes across as an organization that really does care about people and inspires its members to good works – kind of like churches IRL.

      I really wish I’d thought to ask Kondo about LANGUAGE in Trails, though. It’s kind of unclear if the characters are “supposed” to be speaking Japanese or English or German or what (or if there are linguistic differences between, say, Liberl and Erebonia, etc.)

      • CleruTesh

        Well, I was raised Catholic, so there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Catholic church. However… In my old (er) age, I cannot help but look at things more objectively. I come to the inevitable conclusion that Constantine, aware of the increasing proliferation of Christianity, established Catholicism as an extension of the Holy Roman Empire, and as something of a hybrid of the two. I do not mean this as a negative, nor as a positive commentary on the Roman Catholic Church. As it is in most things, the reality is a middle ground: the organization is neither wholly benevolent, nor malevolent. I suppose that I just wondered whether or not the Japanese derived the same conclusion.

        • Not really. In all honesty, Christianity in its many forms seems to be something of a mystery to the Japanese, since there are so few Christians in Japan (I think it’s something like 5%). As a result, the Japanese view of Christianity is fairly shallow — it’s seen as exotic, slightly ritualistic, and… kind of “cool,” I guess! ;)

          More than positive or negative, I think the one thing most Japanese interpretations of Christianity have in common is that they consider it… a bit mysterious. It’s an entire religion — an entire way of life, even — that’s completely foreign and alien to them. And just as some fear the unknown, while others embrace it, Japanese portrayals of Christianity run the gamut from sexy nuns who know magic to, like… the Empire from Star Wars. ;)

          • jacedeedee

            I would actually disagree about your interpretation of how we in Japan view Christianity. There are actually a lot of Christians in Japan, but most of them won’t tell you they are Christian because it’s a “TABOO” topic of discussion and considered a personal matter. A lot of Japanese people have even read the Bible too, in fact. When foreigners come over and talk about Christianity, the Japanese people know what they are talking about (and trust me, it’s no mystery like you think as the Japanese people are an extremely well-read people), and many people have grown up going to Catholic boys schools or have become associated with Christianity through various other means. I assume you haven’t spent much time in Japan or you would know this. You will also notice how most weddings are held in the standard Christian style today (though some couples my opt to have a traditional and Christian style to satisfy all family members on both sides). If you mention the books of Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and even Revelation, I think you would actually be surprised at how much of a grasp we people in Japan actually have on these. I should also mention that 99.9% of foreigners have no clue that we in Japan realize we are, in fact, a remnant of the house of Israel given their all the modern-day “arks” carried around during festival time. So not to be rude or anything, but I think it’s the foreigners that lack understanding about the religions of those of us in Japan. I mean, what can most non-Japanese explain about Buddhism or Shintoism rituals that we take part in multiple times a year?

          • Apollonis

            You lost me with the bit about the Japanese being the remnant of some Jewish tribe, reminds me of some weird conspiracy theory I heard years ago.. maybe it’s gained some traction.

          • I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Japan, actually, and I can tell you right now that NONE of that was true in the Sendai City suburb where I lived for 2 years. Maybe it’s changed since 2003, and maybe it’s different in larger city areas, but what you’re saying contrasts quite thoroughly with my own experiences, as well as with what I’ve been told by countless Japanese professionals.

            Regarding Christian weddings, too, most everyone I knew in the Sendai area got married in the traditional Japanese fashion, but had a Christian-style “photo op” at one of many fake churches designed solely for wedding pictures. That seemed to be the norm in that particular area in 2003, at the very least!

            Also, please understand that I’m not trying to put down Japan or the Japanese in any way. I love Japan, and I find cultural differences like these fascinating. I’m also well aware that they’re not universal, and I have no intention of stereotyping — I’m simply going by what I’ve heard and seen from my time in Japan and the many Japanese professionals I’ve spoken with, as well as what I’ve seen in games and anime that depict Christian-like religions. It sounds as if you’ve read into my words as a judgment or prejudice, and nothing could be further from the truth. I’m truly sorry if I’ve offended you.

          • Apollonis

            @Thomas (cant reply directly)

            Also note the difference between knowledge of doctrine and true understanding of culture. As the poster above noted, many might have read at least parts of the bible and know general outlines of doctrine as laid out in the Gospels and Mosaic books– in similar manner, I’d think most non-Buddhist Westerners are at least aware of basic doctrines of Buddhism– the 4 Noble Truths, the Eight-fold Path, Nirvana, and so on. However, this knowledge is distinct from an understanding of how the religions historically and in everyday practice affect the lives of both believers and non believers living in the cultures that they played a crucial part in shaping. I think that was more the issue here, rather than some assertion that a segment of the population is unaware of the beliefs of a major world religion. The marriage thing also strikes me as merely a superficial copying of forms without context, rather than a true understanding of culture. As for the carrying of ‘arks,’ processions are common in almost all world religions and in no way indicate even a tangential connection with Judaism. It’s simply not an unusual or difficult thing for a culture to come up with, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

          • jacedeedee

            @Apollonis:disqus (No reply option)
            I think you are mistaken about the tangential connection with Judiasm and the Japanese people. The Japanese people make no connection to being of the tribe of Judah, but rather the tribe of Mannaseh, one of the lost 10 tribes. No conspiracy theory there, just a lot of cultural evidence to support it, but given the lack of historical documents due to no written language at the time, we have to rely on what exists such as actual symbols carved into the stonework, measurements that are exactly the same as those sacred structures listed in the Bible, or what we dig up.

            @yahoo-2BOP4Z5KE5N7T5MUGIV6TEFMT4:disqus Thomas (No reply option)
            No offense taken, but please be careful what you deem as a “fake” church, because according to the Bible if you don’t have apostles and prophets and Jesus isn’t the head of the church, the church is a fake.

            Ephesians 2:19-20
            Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

            And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

            Which would mean that 99.9% of the Christian churches out there regardless of them being in either the East or West are potentially fake and built up for the sole purpose of profiting on Christ’s name. For example, St. Peter’s church would not be Christ’s church, but in actuality it would be Peter’s church and therefore considered a fake. So what leg would that leave, let’s say, the Catholic church who is the biggest major Christian entity to stand on either? They have no prophets, no apostles, but rather the pope and cardinals and so on which clerical positions didn’t even exist in the time when Jesus Christ set up his church. I’m not trying to get into a big religious discussion or anything, but with all the angels and miracles that appeared and happened in ancient biblical times, if there were a true church, wouldn’t they believe in those things today? Most Christians believe that those things ceased, but I find it very interesting that in the Bible it says:

            Hebrews 13:8
            Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

            So if this is an eternal truth, this would potentially mean that these things would still happen today, but given this is a blind and faithless generation of people, we get no miracles or visitations of angels?

            Now don’t quote me or anything because I am surely no prophet, but I find most Christian churches, regardless of tradition or culture, to lack the basic principles of the church Jesus Christ set up during his ministry on earth as outlined in the Bible, but what do I know anyway?

            Just for the record though, I should point out that many of these Japanese professionals are actually the least religious group in all of Japan and probably not a good indicator of the general population’s knowledge about religion as these rich Japanese men’s only gods are their BMW and their filthy lucre. I don’t know if you ever noticed how these guys are out washing their expensive cars or feather dusting them several times a week, but it’s pretty ridiculous and makes all us men look like a bunch of fems the way they daintily brush every dust particle off the hood, the roof, and bumpers. I hate to say this about the country where I live, but these Japanese professionals are often professional scam artists too. I think this country dwarfs America in terms of Ponzi schemes and other dishonorable fraud…

          • When I say “fake,” I mean that no church services are EVER held there. The building literally exists solely to provide backdrops for wedding photography. I’ve seen buildings like that throughout Sendai, and even in Tokyo, so I’m fairly certain that’s not an uncommon practice, and the mere fact that such buildings exist says a lot about Japan’s connection with Christianity.

        • Apollonis

          This is a bit late and OT, but I thought a short history lesson/correction might be in order. First, Constantine did not in any way establish the Catholic church, he merely issued a declaration of tolerance meant to end persecution of Christians in the empire, and contrary to popular belief remained a pagan himself and only perhaps converted to Christianity just before he died. Even then, later emperors did not suddenly become christian, but there were both pagans and Christians, and Christian Romans were even given a bit of trouble again despite constantine’s ‘toleration.’. The Catholic Church itself is the result of centuries of bickering between Christian groups over whose interpretation of things was “true.”

          Also, the Holy Roman Empire is not the Roman Empire of Constantine’s day, but a much later Medieval European development centered around modern Germany.

      • I wish I could go into the topic without really diving into spoilers, since a lot more on the church gets revealed in SC and 3rd. They’re a pretty influential power, but in ways that are different from what many people may expect.

        I can say this… While there’s a lot of truth on the statement in your comment, there’s another comment on this thread that, in my opinion of the Septian Church, hits it a bit closer to home for reasons that you have stated in your comment.

        (Sorry for being confusing! XD)

  • Interesting >8O, i really want to know everything i can about this game, its just too great and sexy and awesome and sexy 

  • Hours

    This series has one of the most in-depth worlds that I’ve ever experienced in an RPG, and I’ve only played the first one so far.

    The wait for the next game is already super brutal, and we’ve still got a long way to go.

  • PrinceHeir

     awesome map :D

  • Zero_Destiny

    I hope that means someone knows Muay Thai :D That would make TiTS even more awesome!!!!!!! (Which I didn’t even think was possible. lol) XD

    • CleruTesh

      Acronyms FTW.

    • This made my day. Rethink your comments next time.

  • Ladius

    Trails in the Sky is the best jrpg I have played in years, I really can’t wait to delve into the sequel!

    Great article by the way, one can always trust Siliconera to deliver! :D 

  • FireCouch

    I would look into this game, but the visuals just seem incredibly muddy.  Is this just because of the screen shots or what?

    • Ren

      The game is just old. The visuals are pretty decent on the PSP screen. I’ll just say that even if it’s visuals aren’t up to stuff you should play it, it’s worth it. 

    • jacedeedee

      Yeah, the visuals are actually pretty bad so it’s not just the screenshots or anything. The game is alright though, nothing mind blowing if that’s what you’re wondering. Falcom basically used the technology they ripped off of Sonnori (a Korean company) when they localized Arcturus in Japan to create the Trails in the Sky games, so that’s why it looks all pixelated the way it does.

      •  Hmmm? Where’d you hear that? Far as I know, Trails uses a modified version of the Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim graphics engine…

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