A little known Pokemon history

Created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996, Pokemon is one of the most enduring, lucrative, and recognizable video game based media franchises in the world. Over its 14 year reign at the top of the collectible game craze, Pokemon has sold over 200 million video games and been the inspiration for 14 different films, with Pokemon Best Wishes: Victini & The Black Hero to be released at some point in 2011.

Most people are aware that “Pokemon”  doujinis merely a transliteration of “Poketto Monsuta” (ポケットモンスタ-), but few are aware of the game property’s initial roots in its creator Taijiri’s love of insect collecting. The act of tracking down, catching, cataloguing and hoarding insects is very similar to the hunting process for trainers in Pokemon- though trainers end up pitting their Pokemon against each other’s collections, of course, whereas insect fighting is not a significant draw to the insect collection hobby at large.

Over the last 14 years, however, the Pokemon franchise has evolved into so much more than a bug-catching hobby. The game series, which has spawned Anime, manga, soundtracks, videogames, and countless other types of fan merchandise, has made an indelible mark on pop culture. In Japan, you can ride Pokemon-themed jets on Nippon Airways to the Pokemon theme park in Nagoya, Japan. Characters from the franchise have been balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and even made the cover of Time Magazine in 1999.

If nothing else, perhaps Pokemon is best known for being a franchise that captures the imagination of children everywhere; whether in Japan, America, Europe, or anywhere else in the world, it is impossible to miss cadres of friends of all ages who have chosen their favorite Pokemon, discuss ideal strategies for filling their Pokedex, or simply reminisce about their favorite childhood pastime.