Computer Entertainment Rating Organization

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Computer Entertainment Rating Organization
Nonprofit organization
Industry Video game content rating system
Founded June 2002; 16 years ago (2002-06)
Headquarters Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Key people
Kazuya Watanabe

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), or 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.


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
CERO A.svg 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.

Range is 0-11. Games rated A generally equate to an EC for Early Childhood (educational games for pre-school children), E for Everyone (video games for all ages), or E10+ for Everyone 10 and up (video games for ages 10 and up) from North America's ESRB.

CERO B.svg 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.

Range is 12-14. Games rated B generally equate to an E10+ for Everyone 10 and up (video games for ages 10 and up), or T for Teen (video games for ages 13 and up) from North America's ESRB.

CERO C.svg 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.

Range is 15-16. Games rated C generally equate to a T for Teen (video games for ages 13 and up), or M for Mature (video games for ages 17 and up) from North America's ESRB.

CERO D.svg 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.

Range is 17. Games rated D generally equate to an M for Mature (video games for ages 17 and up) from North America's ESRB.

CERO Z.svg 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.

Range is 18+ only. Games rated Z generally equate to an M for Mature (video games for ages 17 and up), or AO for Adults Only (adult games for ages 18 and up) from North America's ESRB.

CERO Kyouiku Deitabeisu.svg 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.
CERO Shin Sa Yo Tei.svg 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 Kitei Teikikou.svg 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 Icons

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". Some parents have imported games from Japan for their children and have sometimes been confused by the content descriptors. For example, the Sexual Content descriptor on a B (Ages 12+) rated game. Some parents have wondered why there would be sexual content in a B rated game so they play it to make sure but find nothing. The reason for the descriptor is probably because there might be outfits that show some cleavage or maybe there are mild suggestive comments in the game. You can guess by the age rating on why the descriptor is there, and how strong the content is. If the game were rated D (Ages 17+) or Z (Ages 18+ only), the game could contain Sexual Content that parents should be concerned and worried about. The Sexual Content descriptor does not just apply to sex, it applies to anything suggestive, sexual, and/or nudity. The Violence descriptor is another example. It does not just apply to violence, it also applies to violent references, blood, and/or gore. These examples apply to all content descriptors.

Content Descriptors Corresponding Ratings Reasons
CERO Love.png Love CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svg Kissing, hugging, embrace, etc.
CERO Sex.png Sexual Content CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svg Underwear exposure, sex, nudity, sex references, swimwear/costume, etc.
CERO Violence.svg Violence CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svgCERO Z.svg Violence, blood, gore, violent references, animated blood, etc.
CERO Fear.png Horror CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svg Jumpscares, scary images, scary sounds, etc.
CERO Tobacco and alcohol.png Drinking/Smoking CERO C.svgCERO D.svg Drinking alcohol, smoking, vaping, alcohol references, tobacco references, etc.
CERO Gambling.png Gambling CERO C.svgCERO D.svg Gambling with virtual currency, depiction of illegal gambling, etc.
CERO Crime.svg Crime CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svgCERO Z.svg Murder, theft, kidnapping, incest, human trafficking, rape, street racing, gangs, etc.
CERO Drugs.svg Drugs CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svg Use of drugs, drug references, illegal drugs, etc.
CERO Bad language.png Language CERO B.svgCERO C.svgCERO D.svg Use of profanity/cussing, 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 controversy

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 C rating from CERO. Its B (Ages 12+) rating was revoked and it was given a C (Ages 15+) 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). There is also a scene at a tavern where the characters talk to some drunk people who drink beer and have slurred speech. The game was originally rated for ages 12 and up 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 (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 it's English and Japanese releases, it got a T for Teen (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+) 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 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.

External links

  • Official English CERO Website
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