I believe that our name, The Pokémon Company, expresses what we do as a company more clearly than the names of most companies. No one who hears the name of our company thinks we are in the Doraemon business, right? As our name suggests, The Pokémon Company is a company that works only for Pokémon. To say it another way, we do nothing but Pokémon here. I named the company that way to make clear the role and function of our company.
I am often asked in interviews, “What does The Pokémon Company do for Pokémon?” When I answer, “We are a company that produces Pokémon,” I am often met with puzzled looks and asked, “What does it mean to produce Pokémon?” When this happens, I explain, “Imagine something like a talent agency. Talent agencies decide what jobs to give the people they represent, how to nurture their skills, how to cultivate them. In much the same way, our job at The Pokémon Company is to produce Pokémon, meaning that we think about what types of media our characters, such as Pikachu and Charizard, should appear in, what products to use them for, and how to nurture them,” and then the interviewer seems to grasp what it is that we do to a certain extent. But while this is an easy way to explain a part of what it means to produce Pokémon, it isn’t everything.
A slightly more accurate description of what it means to produce Pokémon would be to say that we play a leading role in creating the most appealing Pokémon products possible, and that we strive as a business to get the best possible results when these products are sold.
So, what makes for an appealing product? It’s hard to say because people have different thoughts and feelings on this. For example, some people want something they can keep for a long time, others want something that they can’t put down once they start playing with it, and others want something cheap and convenient. I personally think that the most appealing products are ones that make anyone who picks them up want to recommend them to other people.
Making appealing products is the first step toward successful business. It’s precisely because of appealing products that a company can receive widespread support and take its business to the next stage. Being involved in everything, from manufacturing to publicity and promotion, in order to create appealing products and maximize business—that’s what producing is, and you could say that this work demands our collective capabilities as humans.
As a result of our producing, the Pokémon brand has a reputation as a high-value brand and is supported by a great many people. Producing, the “brand management” of Pokémon, is the work we are meant to do at The Pokémon Company.
As the first Pokémon video games were launched way back in 1996, I am often asked what the secret to Pokémon’s popularity is and why it continues to be so well loved. I regard the universal functions involved with Pokémon—the collecting, raising, trading, and battling—as our strength and the reason Pokémon has been loved for so long. Not only our games, but all of our Pokémon products and services share this point in common, an element that all players can relate to no matter where or when they happen to live. As we evolve in accordance with changes in device and communications technology, what’s of greatest importance to us is to enable many people to experience, through Pokémon, the memories and excitement of things they likely experienced as children—things like bug collecting, growing plants, or raising a pet.
Something that stands out clearly in my memory even now is what happened the first time I played Pokémon Red and Green. A human character in the Vermilion City requested a Pokémon trade, and I received a Farfetch’d nicknamed Osho. Then, when I traded a Pokémon with a real-life friend in the same way, I understood that the human characters in the game and players in real life perform the same role, creating a mysterious experience of going back and forth between the real and virtual worlds. Today, Wi-Fi communications enable players from all over the world to trade their Pokémon, turning Pokémon into a medium that connects people across country and regional borders and cultures. Also, at Pokémon Centers – official stores for Pokémon goods – in Japan and abroad, fans get together to shop for products, download content, battle each other, or just to find like-minded friends. And with “Pokémon GO” it’s become possible to look for Pokémon in the real world.
Our mission statement, “To enrich both the real world and the virtual world with the Pokémon characters,” isn’t an ideal but a reality that is occurring right before our eyes. In the years ahead, we will continue to build and release ever better works so that all people can experience this enrichment.
President and CEO
Born in Toba City, Mie Prefecture, in 1957. Graduated from the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Art and Design in 1983. Involved in the development of various video games as a game producer before founding Creatures Inc. in 1995. In 1996, produced Pokémon Red and Green, which became the basis for all subsequent Pokémon related products, and after that, became the producer for all Pokémon video games. In 1998, founded POKEMON CENTER Co., Ltd. (now The Pokémon Company) and became the president and representative director. Currently, handles brand management for all Pokémon products, including video games, trading card game, videos, and apps.
MMCA Special Award, 13th Multimedia Grand Prix 1998
Member of the judging committee for the Entertainment category of the Japan Media Arts Festival since 2003 and chief of the committee in 2006
Digital Contents of the Year ’07 /
Distinguished Service Award, 13th AMD Awards
Special Award, CEDEC Awards 2011
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award, Japan Game Awards 2011
Soft Power Award, Japan Innovator Award 2016
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award for Pokémon Go, Japan Game Awards 2017
Grand Prize, Institute of Environmental Art and Design 2019
Cambrian Palace, TV Tokyo
World Business Satellite, TV Tokyo
Masterpiece for the Businessperson, TV Tokyo
The Professionals, NHK
Daisuke Tsuda: Japan Plus, TV Asahi
RAKUMACHI BIZ8, J-WAVE
TOPPAN Futurism, J-WAVE
Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, Keizai Kogyo Shimbun, Diamond Online, and Bloomberg, as well as television, newspapers, magazines, and the internet
“Productions That Entertain.” CEDEC 2010 Special Invitation Session (CEDEC)
“Healthcare x Gamification Forum: The Evolution of Healthcare Through Games” (Yokohama City University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Astellas Pharma, Inc.)
“Environment and Art 1964, Tokyo 2020”. Institute of Environmental Art and Design 20th Anniversary Conference (Institute of Environmental Art and Design)
Ryu Murakami. Cambrian Palace: Ryu Murakami x Financial ExpertsⅡ. Nikkei Business Publications
Naoto Yoshioka. 97 Things Every Game Creator Should Know. O’Reilly Japan
Shoko Nakagawa. Pokémon Taught Me the Meaning of Life. Shogakukan