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Satoshi Tajiri

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Satoshi Tajiri
Satoshi Tajiri.jpg
A photograph of Satoshi Tajiri in February 2016
Born August 28, 1965 (age 57)
Employer Game Freak
Occupation Game designer, director
Years active 1989–present

Satoshi Tajiri (born August 28, 1965) is a Japanese video game designer and director, and is best known for creating the Pokémon franchise.


Early life

As a young boy, Satoshi lived in a suburb of Tokyo and loved to collect bugs. In order to complete his collection, he would also trade with his friends. A passion for video games was also familiar to Satoshi from an early age. As he had grown up, he became a video games tester for magazines.

Satoshi did not like school. His father wanted him to be an electrical utility repairman, but this is not what he wanted. His ideas for Pokémon grew, as he wanted to give modern children the chance to hunt for creatures as he did. Satoshi got into games when he was at technical school, spending all his time in arcades. He was such a big fan that one local arcade gave him a Space Invaders machine to take home.


In 1982, Satoshi decided, along with his friends, to create a magazine about new video games and comic books entitled "Game Freak". The magazine became very popular and Satoshi was encouraged to write and publish two books, named "CAP Land" and "Catch 'em all CAP land". In the 1980s, the crew of "Game Freak" made the decision to develop video games of their own. The entire crew left its one-room office and moved to one in one of the Nintendo buildings in Japan, and developed new video games such as "Yoshi's Egg".

Tajiri first conceived the idea of Pokémon in 1990. The idea came together after he saw a Game Boy and the ability to communicate between Game Boys, so Tajiri decided Pokémon made the most sense on a handheld console. When he thought about the Link Cable being able to interact with two Game Boys, he envisioned bugs crawling back and forth, recalling his childhood love of bug collecting.[1]

When Satoshi Tajiri first pitched the idea of Pokémon to Nintendo staff, they could not quite grasp the concept, but were impressed enough with Tajiri's game design reputation that they decided to explore it. Shigeru Miyamoto began to mentor Tajiri, guiding him during the creation process. Pokémon Red and Green took six years to produce, and nearly bankrupted Game Freak in the process; often, there was barely enough money to pay the employees. Five employees quit, and Tajiri did not take a salary, instead living off of his father's income.[2] Investment from Creatures Inc. allowed Game Freak to complete the games, and in return, Creatures received one-third of the franchise rights.[3]

Once Pokémon Red and Green were completed, very few media outlets gave it attention, believing the Game Boy was a dead console; a general lack of interest of merchandising convinced Tajiri that Nintendo would reject the games. Rumors of a hidden Pokémon named Mew, who could only be obtained by exploiting programming errors, increased interest in the game.[2] Following the release, Pokémon gradually became an international phenomenon, turning Game Freak from a small company into a prominent video game developer.

After the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions, Tajiri stepped down from game development and focused on being a manager Junichi Masuda took over as the main director. Tajiri later supervised the entire development process of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen Versions.[4]

Game works

Special thanks


  • Ash Ketchum's first name in Japanese is Satoshi, named after Satoshi Tajiri.


  1. ^ "The Ultimate Game Freak". TIME. Published November 22, 1999.
  2. ^ a b "Beware of the Pokemania". TIME. Published November 14, 1999.
  3. ^ "Monster mash". Forbes. Published July 26, 1999.
  4. ^ "E3 2004: The Pokemon Creators Speak". IGN. Published May 13, 2004 (archived).