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Computer Entertainment Rating Organization

The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (Japanese: 特定非営利活動法人コンピュータエンターテインメントレーティング機構, Hepburn: Tokutei Hieiri Katsudō Hōjin Konpyūta Entāteinmento Rētingu Kikō) (CERO) is a Japanese entertainment rating organization based in Tokyo that rates video game content in console games with levels of rating that informs the customer of the nature of the product and for what age group it is suitable. It was established in June 2002 as a branch of Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association, and became an officially recognized nonprofit organization in December 2003.

Computer Entertainment Rating Organization
Nonprofit organization
IndustryVideo game content rating system
FoundedJune 2002; 17 years ago (2002-06)
HeadquartersChiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Key people
Kazuya Watanabe


On March 1, 2006, CERO implemented the latest revision of its rating system. The symbols that CERO uses are stylized Latin letters, named after academic grading, except "F" is replaced with "Z". Each is meant to convey a game's suitability for minors. Age classification marks include the following five marks. One of the marks is indicated on the left bottom of the game box front, and a corresponding color bar is also shown on the box spine. (Bar colors: black for "A"; green for "B"; blue for "C"; orange for "D"; red for "Z")

Abbreviation Rating Description
  All Ages (全年齢対象, Zen nenrei taishō) Expressions and content subjected to age-specific limitation are not included in the game, thereby being suitable for all ages. All games that used to be rated All go into this category.
  Ages 12 and up (12才以上対象, Jūnisai ijō taishō) Expression and content suitable only to 12-year-olds and above are included in the game. All games that used to be rated 12 go into this category.
  Ages 15 and up (15才以上対象, Jūgosai ijō taishō) Expression and content suitable only to 15-year-olds and above are included in the game. All games that used to be rated 15 go into this category.
  Ages 17 and up (17才以上対象, Jūnanasai ijō taishō) Contains some adult material. Anyone under 17 cannot buy video games with this rating without parental consent. Expression and content suitable only to 17-year-olds and above are included in the game. Some games that used to be rated 18 go into this category.
  Ages 18 and up only (18才以上のみ対象, Jūhassai ijō nomi taishō) Content is clearly adult. It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy video games with this rating. Expression and content suitable only to 18-year-olds and above are included in the game. Some games that used to be rated 18 go into this category.
  Educational/Database (教育・データベース, Kyouiku Deetabeesu) A special rating applied only to non-game, educational/utility software (e.g. books) released on consoles aimed to older audiences (games like this aimed to children are rated A instead). Despite having education in its name, it can still feature expressions and content that might not be suitable for minors.
  Rating Scheduled (審査予定, Shinsa yotei) The game has not been assigned its final rating. Used in trailers and advertisements for games that have not been assigned their final rating from CERO.
  CERO Regulations-Compatible (規定適合, Kitei tekigō) Applied only to trial versions of games. Titles with this rating do not have all of the expressions and content featured in the full game.[1]

Content Descriptor IconsEdit

In April 2004, CERO defined the following "content descriptor icons".[citation needed] These icons are displayed on the back of all game packages except on those rated "A" or "Educational/Database".

Content Descriptors Corresponding Ratings Reasons
  Love      Kissing, hugging, embrace, etc.
  Sexual Content      Underwear exposure, sex, nudity, sex references, swimwear/costume, etc.
  Violence      Violence, violent references, blood, gore, animated blood, etc.
  Horror      Jumpscares, scary images, scary sounds, etc.
  Drinking/Smoking      Drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, alcohol references, tobacco references, etc.
  Gambling      Gambling with virtual currency, depictions of illegal gambling, etc.
  Crime      Murder, theft, kidnapping, incest, human trafficking, rape, street racing, gangs, etc.
  Drugs      Use of drugs, drug references, depictions of illegal drugs, etc.
  Language      Use of profanity, discriminatory language, etc.


According to Kazuya Watanabe, CERO's senior director, the group of assessors is composed of five regular people unaffiliated with the game industry. They are trained by rating past games. The rating process is determined by 30 different types of content ranging from sexual content to violence. In addition six types of content are not allowed. Each content is rated using the A to Z scale that the labels use. After the group evaluates the game, the results are sent to CERO's main office where the final rating attempts to use the majority of the evaluators' ratings.

Scandals and controversyEdit

One month after the initial release of Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland, shipments of it were halted due to it having been mis-rated.[2] It was re-released a few days later with a B rating from CERO.[3] Its A (All ages) rating was revoked and it was given a B (Ages 12+) rating instead, due to some provocative scenes featured in-game. One of these features several female characters in a hot spring with their genitalia covered, and most of their cleavage and buttocks hidden by towels and heavy steam effects. There are also some outfits that reveal moderate amounts of cleavage, and slightly see-through articles of clothing throughout the game. The in-game camera can also be scrolled to view female characters' underwear (lingerie). The game was originally rated for all ages due to Gust allegedly not providing them with the complete content of the game for them to review.

CERO has been criticized by other rating boards for being more strict on content (other strict rating boards include Australia's ACB, South Korea's GRAC, etc.) in games while other rating boards have been known to be more lenient on content (other lenient rating boards include North America's ESRB, Taiwan's GSRR, etc.) in games. One example of this is the game Dragon's Crown. While it was left uncensored for both its English and Japanese releases, it got a T for Teen rating (Ages 13+) from the ESRB while it got a D rating (Ages 17+) from CERO. Normally T for Teen (Ages 13+) games equate to a B (Ages 12+) or C (Ages 15+) rating from CERO. The reasons the game didn't get one of those two was because the Japanese felt that the game's content goes too far to get one of those ratings. Some of the content in the game that got it the D (Ages 17+) rating includes acts of crime considered to be on a D (Ages 17+) level, a scene showing a creature's head being cut off with some blood shown, the outfits some of the female characters wear reveal large amounts of cleavage (which jiggle in an exaggerated manner) and buttocks, a picture of a female showing her exposed buttocks to the camera, and a picture showing the front part of a naked female with her body barely being covered by heavy steam effects.


  1. ^ "CERO - Ratings Wiki Guide - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Atelier Meruru game held back in Japan due to rating". Anime News Network. 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  3. ^ ""Atelier Meruru PS3 RPG age rating changed to 12+"". Archived from the original on 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2011-07-31.

External linksEdit