Japan’s National Tax Agency releases Let’s Play vid of tax return “game”

Japan’s National Tax Agency has released a Let’s Play video on their YouTube channel for a “game” called Kakushin Simulator β version.

Kakushin Simulator β version appears to be a point-and-click adventure game. The protagonist is an average company employee who lives in Japan. The game’s prologue explains that he spent a lot of time in the hospital last year due to both sickness and injury, and as a result, he is under considerable financial strain. The game then begins in an office setting, and the player gathers items such as hospital receipts, an income tax statement, and other documents necessary for filing a tax return.

Once the necessary items have been collected, the game ends with the protagonist completing his tax return either using his smartphone or a paper form. In the smartphone route, he notes how simple it was to file the return on his phone. Deductions for medical expenses and other calculations are performed automatically, and its seems that you can get your tax refund without much effort.

On the other hand, the paper form route required the protagonist to calculate everything himself, and he also had to go to the tax office to submit all his documents. Although he can still get his refund, the protagonist lets out a sigh, and you get the sense that it was a long and difficult process.

Based on the video, you can reach the ending of Kakushin Simulator β version in around 2-4 minutes. The game apparently only costs 10 yen (around $0.08), but it doesn’t appear to be available on any storefront.

However, that actually isn’t surprising at all, as Kakushin Simulator β version is not a real game. The Let’s Play is nothing more than a publicity video designed to let people know that tax returns can be completed on their smartphones.

Kanshin games, the name of the “streamer” in the video, appears to have simply been taken from the name “Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Taxation Bureau,” a branch department of the National Tax Agency. The “streamer bewildered at a low budget game” storyline is completely fictional and was created just for promotional purposes.

Tweet Translation:
This is the PR department of the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Taxation Bureau!
We made some ginger pork, ate a lot of cheese dak-galbi, and streamed a game.
You probably have no idea what we’re talking about, but smartphones are really useful when filing your tax return.

The National Tax Agency posted the above tweet mentioning the Let’s Play video on their official account. The part in the tweet about making ginger pork and eating cheese dak-galbi are references to two other videos that they created and can be seen below.

It’s a very lighthearted message that you wouldn’t expect to see from the official Twitter account of a government agency, but this may be more effective at making people remember that they can use their smartphones to file tax returns than a bland, strait-laced advertisement.

Japan’s next tax return period takes place between February 16 and March 15. Those who are required to file a return should gather the necessary documents so that they can complete the process on their smartphones. It’s also about time for me (the original author of this article) to get off my backside and start preparing my own return. At least now I know that this year I can have a much easier time of it by using my smartphone.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-01-31 17:50 JST)