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Autism is a complicated condition that causes problems with communication and behavior. But can someone with such a disorder achieve in life? Yes, Satoshi Tajiri proved that it is possible. 

He is known as a Japanese video game designer and is recognized as the creator of the Pokemon video game. It was Autism that helped him to create the most successful game in the world which was loved by many young children. There was nothing that stopped him from becoming a successful and popular person in the world. 

Read to know the inspiring life story of Satoshi Tajiri.

The early life of Satoshi Tajiri

Satoshi Tajiri the creater of Pokemon

Satoshi Tajiri was born on August 28th, 1965 in Machida, and lived in a suburb of Tokyo. Machida, situated in the west of the Japanese capital, was still a comparatively rural chunk of the city. His father was a salesman and it was his mother took care of him. While growing up, he had some characteristics of that autism. 

He did not enjoy school but was interested in collecting insects from fields, forests, and ponds and was constantly looking for new types of insects. And so he was called by his friend Dr. Bug. Machida was a perfect spot for him to indulge his love of catching and collecting insects. 

As he entered adolescence, he left the green idylls of his youth behind to focus on a new obsession – arcade games.

His father wanted him to become an electrical utility repairman, but Satoshi Tajiri didn’t show any interest in it. He was always distracted and bored in school. As he grew up, his interest was in video games, and this interest made him skip school just to play in the arcade. His parents were worried and they were not able to understand his obsession with games and thought that he is wasting his time. 

His interest in games

As a teenager, he became fascinated with arcade games, and particularly enjoyed playing Taito’s Space Invaders (1978), and this drew him into other video games. 


After playing Space Invaders and its video game clones, he wanted to make his own sequel to Space Invaders. Namco games are designed around a single specific action, notably, Dig Dug (1982) inspired him a lot.

His interest eventually evolved into attempting to plan his own games. He took his Famicom apart to see how it worked and won a contest for a video game idea sponsored by Sega.

Satoshi Tajiri education 

He took make-up classes and eventually earned his high school diploma. Tajiri did not attend university but instead participated in a two-year technical degree program at the Tokyo National College of Technology, where he majored in electronics and computer science.

However, he got his high school diploma but did a two-year stint at Tokyo National College of Technology studying electronics and computer science. 

The love Satoshi Tajiri had for video games 

In 1981, at the age of 16, he won a contest sponsored by Nintendo rival Sega for designing a game. Satoshi’s interest in video games made him start a magazine at the age of 17. 

He wrote strategies, hacks, and tips which were discovered by him and his friends, and called it Game Freak. He then partnered with an artist called Ken Sugimori for illustrations for the magazine. And so this became a bigger publication over time that reached 10,000 readers.  

When Game Freak reached many readers, Satoshi realized he could create better games. He learned to write software and learned to program for it. He decided to transform Game Freak from a magazine about video games into a creative company. 

The Game Freak continued to grow as a video game magazine publishing company, and others had begun to contribute to the magazine. To discuss video games, these contributors and Satoshi Tajiri would often come together. 

They had begun noticing what made a good game and what made a bad game, and saw a lot of the latter in many games released at the time. They came to the conclusion that Game Freak would need to start making their own games. Thus Game Freak, the video game magazine company, became a video game development company.

The story behind the creation of Pokemon

Pokemon being recognized as a worldwide phenomenon would be a gross understatement. Through the hordes of games, TV seasons, manga adaptations, toys, cards, and so much more, the franchise has redefined a generation.

Pokemon fans prepared for the release of Pokemon Sun/Moon or despair over Ash losing yet another Pokemon League tournament,  it was unknown how it all got started. Before Pokemon Go, the Johto region, Master Balls, and even Pikachu, there was a man named Satoshi Tajiri.

The fields and ponds that Satoshi went around searching for bugs later became parking lots and apartments. 

He wanted to give modern children a chance to hunt for creatures. He thought that through his experience, he could create a game. The concept he chose was a video game where players can collect and share different characters. 

Pokemon of Satoshi

This game was originally named by him capsule Monsters, but during the 1990s when he said the concept to Nintendo, they were doubtful, thinking that this project was too big for a startup company. But there was one person who loved the idea. He was Shigeru Miyamoto, who was the creator of Donkey Kong. With his help, Satoshi Tajiri began his work. He had to take irregular shifts for a 24-hour period of work and following 12 hours of sleep. 

He took help from Ken Sugimori to do the design and artwork. The 6-year effort of making the games bankrupted Game Freak and so five employees had to quit because of it. Satoshi gave up his salary and relied on the support of his father. They thought that the Gameboy was a dead console and so the media outlets didn’t give it a lot of press. They renamed the game Pocket monsters due to copyright issues and released it in 1996 in Japan.

It became tremendously successful and saved the dipping sales of Nintendo. It spread to the U.S. audience. But the name got his copyright issues and so the Pocket monsters were shortened to the term Pokemon. During the 2000s, Pokemon exploded in the U.S. and it became popular in the world. Although the Game Boy hardware was becoming outdated, the game still grew and became popular because the younger children turned to inexpensive game boy games instead of buying brand-new console games. 

Satoshi used his unique perspective to create a toy that few could have imagined. With Autism, Satoshi spent his childhood exploring, discovering, and collecting things. And this made him create Pokemon with the same excitement he had during his childhood. 

It became an international phenomenon

During the years of 2000s, in the US and around the world Pokémon exploded. It just started off as just a Game Boy toy, and the franchise today later included an animated TV series playing cards, comics, apps, and a live-action film that was scheduled for release in May 2019. 

But while its fame has spread, its roots are still in the childhood adventures of Satoshi Tajiri, the creator.

The main character is Ash in English, while in Japanese,  his name is Satoshi, named after Tajiri. Ash’s rival in the series is Gary, known in Japanese as Shigeru, an homage to Miyamoto, Tajiri’s mentor who first believed in the project. Satoshi used his unique perspective to create a toy few could have imagined through it all. 

And that viewpoint, which few in the game industry shared at the time, catapulted a simple idea into a multi-billion dollar franchise. 

How famous is Satoshi Tajiri? 

Satoshi Tajiri story

In the field of creative expression, during modern times, Satoshi Tajiri is regarded as one of the most important figures. He is the president of video game developer Game Freak, which is best known for its Pokemon series. 

Little did Pokemon know that its fans would one day go on to collect bugs long before the game was released on Game Boy in 1996, when a young boy from Machida, Tokyo, was obsessed with collecting bugs. 

Tajiri was responsible for the seeds that would lead to the rise of video gaming. Starting his own DIY publication, Game Freak, when he was 17 years old, he made it become a fanzine. Ken Sugimori was a fan of the original Pokémon games and drew the creatures that would later be used in the first game. Tajiri was forced to disassemble his Nintendo Famicom home console, which was pre-occupied with him.

For six years, the game was created by developers but they were unable to make it work. Shinji Tajiri, the creator of Game Freak, enlisted the assistance of designer Shigeru Miyamoto in his development.

At one point,  the creator was working on other projects and so the project was nearly canceled. Tajiri never gave up on the project and reached its final destination in the mid-’90s. When Pokemon Red and Blue was released in 1996, it was widely regarded as a long shot. 

The title was sold in Japan for a total of 10 million copies before being exported to the United States. Its franchise was so popular that it ended up on the cover of Time magazine.

Achievements of Tajiri

Satoshi Tajiri has a $10 million net worth and is among the world’s wealthiest men. 

Mobile versions of the app for iOS and Android are available as of September 22, 2021, and  Pokemon Unite is a new update for Pokemon Unite, which is now available for download from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. 

The free-to-play MOBA game is now fully integrated with cross-platform play and account linking across Switch and mobile devices. Pokemon Unite, a franchise first, is available for Android and iOS users. 

The game features a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mode. The Pokemon Company and Ti Mi Studios’ new mobile offerings are free-to-play, with optional in-game purchases, just like any other game. In terms of sales, with an estimated $100 billion in sales worldwide, the Pokemon brand surpassed other media brands. 

The Walt Disney Company owns three media franchises in the top five with revenue of $210 billion. According to a heavily sourced list on Wikipedia,  it is more popular than Star Wars and Hello Kitty. 

The Pokémon franchise has since grown to become one of the most popular and successful media franchises in the world and Tajiri has won numerous awards for his work on Pokémon, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards. He was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2011.

Satoshi Tajiri personal life

when it comes to sharing his personal life, makes it a point to stay out of the public eye and remains relatively quiet. But the Japanese 57-year-old game designer is married but has no children.

Satoshi Tajiri had at least a few relationships but not everything is known about Satoshi Tajiri’s past relationships and partners. It is usually simple to find out who is Satoshi dating, it is harder to keep track of all his breakups, hookups, and flings. Even in 2022, celebrities manage to astonish us with the ways they keep their lives private.

Final thoughts

Tajiri still works at Game Freak and oversees the development of the main Pokémon games. None of his other games ever matched Pokémon in popularity but he deserves recognition as one of the most important designers in history for his work in bringing the series which is one of the most recognizable and popular in all of gaming to life.

Autism did not ever be obstructed the success of Satoshi Tajiri, instead, it was the reason Satoshi became successful and famous enough for us to know about him. No matter what the situation is, try to view it in a positive way, learn from it, and use it for your success in life. Having an interest and passion can make you reach more success in life. 

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