A string of disputed islands in the East China Sea, claimed by both Japan and China, are the centre of a new, modern battle ground.

The disputed Senkaku Islands – which Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara recently stated that he wanted to buy to stop Chinese claims of sovereignty over them – are not yet the scene of war in reality, but in the heads and hands of Chinese gamers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The new game, called Defend the Diaoyu Islands, challenges players to defend Chinese military positions on the disputed islands – which are also claimed by the Japanese, who call them the Senkaku – with a variety of weapons and obstacles.”

There are 71 levels (there are also 71 islands in the chain) to the game which is perhaps more serious than could be expected. Its makers truly seem to see it that way, at least. Images from the game depicting the dismembering of Japanese soldiers have made the authorisation stage and are displayed on the iTunes store; though perhaps, given the popularity of WWII combat games that should not be surprising. Could we see a diplomatic incident due to an iPad game?