Fascinating tale of cultural differences in a game company's FAQ:
In the game I noticed that in the first game Abe and Mudokons have 4 fingers then in Abe's Exoddus they have only 3 fingers. What happened with the 4th finger?
A: Well, it's a long story that needs to be told. So here it is... Japan has a strict discriminating policy against any simulated characters entering their country with four fingers. Historically, Japan has had a subclass of meat packing workers that were typically looked down upon in their society. In later days, the blatant displaying of a four fingered hand gesture, intentionally directed at another, came to mean that you were calling them a member of the meat packing sub class. Which, we understand, was not at all a compliment.
It appears that the four finger connection with the meat packing class was due to work related accidents, but was so frequent that it came to symbolically represent the sub class. It seems as though this is a part of the Japanese history that some groups within Japan would like to see forgotten. Therefore, it is at great risk that you publish four fingered characters in Japan, as you may very likely end up in legal battles with a vociferous pressure group. This group claims that this type of representation is equivalent to and as degrading as the yellow star forced to be worn on Jews by the Nazi's during the Second World War.That is, it's offensive and degrading unless they can extort enough money out of you. Then it's all okay. Case in point: We were told that the Walt Disney Corporation is charged five million dollars a year by this group so that Mickey Mouse may live in Japan and retain his original four fingered design. Otherwise, old Mickey would need to see a surgeon and have something done about that insulting forth finger.
(Via Rambling Coyote)