One of the fears that big decision-makers had in the ‘80s and ‘90s when it came to localizing games was whether or not it would appeal to Western audiences. We hadn’t been indoctrinated with enough anime and Pocky yet, so ideas like tatami floors and bowls of rice were thought of as alien and terrifying to Westerners.
If we did get one of these too-Japanese-for-market games, typically, changes would be made. For example, Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki, which was localized as Legend of the Mystical Ninja in the West, replaced onigiri with pizza to prevent confusion. After all, we universally understand that pizza makes you healthier, but what even is an onigiri? A ball of rice? Rice goes in a burrito and that’s it.
The other alternative was to just not localize it, and because this option was often the one taken, we missed out on entire series of games. We luckily got a few of the Ganbare Goemon games in North America, but the lion’s share skipped our shores. Not least of which were the Famicom titles.