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'Pokemon is always with everyone,' says its creator

By Spiros Tzelepis, Greece

Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokemons, speaks about them

The Pokemons are toys which have entered our lives to such an extent that it is difficult to say that we don't know about them. As a profile of their creator, Mr. Satoshi Tajiri, in Asia's Shapers 2001(http://www.zdnetindia.com/news/specials/25movers2001/stories/18291.html) mentions very successfully: "Love them or hate them, chances are you've seen them. They've invaded your television, disrupted the lives of parents as kids yell and scream for the latest Pikachu doll."

The Pokemons are a fad, and last year they created a huge paranoia all around the world. My aunt who teaches in a primary school says that last year her students were so obsessed with their Pokemons that they didn't speak about anything else. Their talks continued inside the classrooms making it difficult for her to teach. Then, I also attended the 3rd World Summit on Media for Children where I discovered that teachers spoke angrily against the Pokemons arguing that they promote violence and that their students don't care about anything else. Moreover, I can tell I had the experience of verifying myself that some children were obsessed to an unhealthy extent when a couple with two young kids moved in a new apartment block next to my house. Every day I could hear them chatting vehemently about the latest Pokemons -actually the word "Pikachu" is the one they used to repeat all the day- while they were frequently dropping these toys in my garden, and I or my parents were kindly asked to pick them up. Later a friend from France wrote me that his little brother was crazy about Pokemons, which indicates that children worldwide share the same hysteria. Of course, like every fad, the Pokemon madness slowed down eventually so I thought that it was a good time to have their creator, Mr Tajiri, speak about them. At this point, I want to mention that this was one of the most difficult interviews I have attempted since at first I was misguided by people who didn't have the kindness to tell me about how to reach Mr. Tajiri. On the contrary, they told me, "If you are adequate, find a way yourself". Luckily, not everyone is like that, and thanks to those who have always supported my effort, I was able to contact Mr. Tajiri who I need to mention was most helpful. Let's listen to what he has to say.

  1. Would you please introduce yourself a little to the readers?

  2. How was Pokemon created? When did such an idea occur?

  3. What is the background of "Pokemon"?

  4. What does Pokemon bring to the children?

  5. As a creator of toys, what do you think would be the ideal toy or entertainment is?

  6. In conclusion, what would you like to say to the children of the world?

It is almost 23:00 in the night and as I am reviewing the piece for a final time before I send it to be published, the window is open because of the heat and the children playing in a yard opposite my house are screaming "Pikachu". This is the only clear word I can make out of what they say. Perhaps this shows that the Pokemon fad hasn't yet disappeared despite the slowdown. Of course, nothing is permanent and some day the Pokemons will give their place to another toy; but whatever may happen, one thing is sure: the Pokemons will have marked the childhood of a whole generation of children.

Profile of

Satoshi Tajiri, Representative Director, GAMEFREAK

1965 28 Aug. Born in Tokyo
1981 At the only contest which SEGA ENTERPRISES organized, TV game idea award, got the excellent prize (first prize)
1982 When he was Kunitachi industrial special high school student, he introduced the arcade game information and conquer method, published the GAMEFEAK magazine, and got fanatic readers in Japan
1983 Energetically wrote the game commentary and critics in TV and radio programs, in popular magazines, in computer magazines, and in family computer magazines
1987 Started to develop the family computer soft "QUINTY" by self-production. Had been developing it for 3 years
1989 In April, registered GAMEFREAK as a corporation, inaugurated as a Representative Director
1990 Wrote the adolescence novel of the game generation "Catcher in the Packland" (JICC publish)
1991 Guest instructor of "game general studies" at the cyber faculty in Vantan Design Laboratory Super family computer soft "JELLYBOY" got the character design prize at the multi media award
1992 Appointed to the judge of the multi media award
1995 Published "New Game Design", the way of TV game thinking, from ENIX
1996 Guest instructor at human creative school
1997 MMCA artist prize at the multi media grand prize ?e97
1997 Game boy soft "POCKET MONSTER" got the prizes below:
  • At CESA Academy Award '96, in New concept award, got special prize
  • At 5th Japan software award, got grand prize in the entertainment section
  • At 5th Japan software award, got 1st prize of the RPG in the entertainment section
  • At '97Asahi digital entertainment award, got prize in home section
  • At '97DIME trendy goods award, got prize in hobby-leisure section
1998 At 98 Nikkei good products & service award, got 1st prize and Nikkei marketing journal prize
2000 At 4th Japan game award, got superior prize (POCKET MONSTER gold and silver)

History of works

27 Jun. 1989 "QUINTY" (family computer/namco)
13 Sep. 1991 "JELLYBOY" (super family computer/SONY ME) 24 Dec. 1991 "YOSSHI'S EGG"(family computer, GAME BOY/Nintendo)
27 Aug. 1993 "MARIO&WARIO" (super family computer/Nintendo)
28 Apr. 1994 "WITH NON-TAN KURUKURUPUZZLE" (Game boy/Victor Entertainment)
25 Nov. (Super family Computer/Victor Entertainment)
22 Jul. 1994 "PULSEMAN" (mega drive/SEGA ENTERPRISES)
27 Feb. 1996 "POCKET MONSTER red green" (GAME BOY/Nintendo)
5 Jul. 1996 "BAZAR de GOZA?R noGAME de GOZA?R"(PC Engine/Japan electricity HE)
15 Oct. 1996 "POCKET MONSTER blue" (GAME BOY/Nintendo)
17 Jan. 1997 "BUSHI-Seiryu Legend" (Super family Computer/T&E Soft)
12 Sep. 1998 "POCKET MONSTER Pikachu" (GAME BOY/Nintendo)
21 Nov. 1999 "POCKET MONSTER gold silver" (GAME BOY/Nintendo)
14 Dec. 2000 "POCKET MONSTER crystal version" (GAME BOY/Nintendo)

The word "thank you" is very meaningless to express my gratitude towards Ichiya Nakamura. This piece wouldn't have been feasible without his help in reaching Mr. Tajiri and offering to translate from English to Japanese and vice versa.

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