Tsunekazu Ishihara

Tsunekazu Ishihara (Tsunekaz also seen; Japanese: 石原恒和 Ishihara Tsunekazu, born November 27, 1957) is the president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, a producer of Pokémon, and the founder and former CEO of Creatures, Inc. He manages all aspects of the Pokémon franchise including the anime, games, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Ishihara in 2023.[1]

History

  This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Better citation needed for the section on Cabbage.

Ishihara graduated from the University of Tsukuba in 1983 with a master's degree in Art and Design.[2] While earning his degree, Ishihara studied various mechanisms of visual expression, gravitating toward computer-generated art.[3] After graduation, Ishihara worked at the advertising agency SPN, owned by the Seibu Saison Group, for two years. Following this, he transferred to Sedic (Seibu Digital Communications), a film production company with a background in computer graphics also owned by the Seibu Saison Group. At Sedic, Ishihara produced shows about video games for Fuji Television, including Shigesato Itoi's TV Game Museum and TV's TV.[4] During this time, Ishihara, Akihiko Miura, and other Sedic staff developed Toshio Iwai's first video game Otocky, which released in 1987. While making television programs, Ishihara interviewed various figures in the video game industry, including Shigesato Itoi, Koichi Sugiyama, and Satoshi Tajiri. Ishihara was particularly impressed by Tajiri's knowledge of video games as well as his skill in playing them, and the two became close.[5][6]

In 1988, Ishihara published Denshi Yuugi Taizen - TV Games, an encyclopedia of video games, with each game documented in a phylogenetic tree map. To produce the book, Ishihara traveled across Japan, as well as to the Soviet Union and the United States, and conducted interviews with prominent video game developers. Itoi and Tajiri contributed essays to the book.[7] Ishihara also began playing Tetris, which led to him writing How to achieve 100,000 points in Tetris, published in 1989. Ishihara intended to visit the Soviet Union in order to secure the rights to release the game in Japan, but was beaten by Henk Rogers, whose company Bullet Proof Software published versions for PCs and the Famicom toward the end of 1988. The limitations of Bullet Proof Software's port inspired him to make his own version of Tetris.[8] Ishihara and Akihiko Miura pitched different ideas to Alexey Pajitnov, who selected "exploding Tetris" as a promising idea. Development took two and a half years, and the Ishihara-produced Tetris 2 + Bombliss released in 1991, with puzzles contributed by Miura and Kouichi Ooyama.[9]

Afterward, Ishihara joined Ape Inc., where he produced titles such as EarthBound and Mario's Picross. After Ape Inc. ceased production activity, he would later found Creatures, Inc. in November 8, 1995,[10] with the assistance of Satoru Iwata.[11][12]

In the early 1990s, Ishihara assisted in the development of Pokémon Red and Green. Shortly after, he was inspired to create a trading card game based on the titles, ultimately resulting in the creation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

In April 1998, The Pokémon Company was established as Pokémon Center, Inc. and Ishihara was given the position of representative director.[2] In 2001, he was named the president.

Announced in 1997, Ishihara was part of a team developing a game with a working title[13] known as Cabbage (Japanese: キャベツ Kyabetsu) alongside Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata and Shigesato Itoi. Originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64DD, Cabbage was a breeding simulator[14] where a player was able to raise a pet-like creature, known simply as a Cabbage, a name originating from Itoi.[13] It began development in 1996 and was designed around the 64DD, requiring the use of its real-time internal clock.[14] Cabbage would also have compatibility with the Game Boy, where a player could connect to the 64DD and interact with their pets there.[14] No builds or gameplay of Cabbage ever surfaced throughout its development, and while many sources say Cabbage was intended to make an appearance at Space World 2000, this is often made in error, citing an IGN article from 2000 where they expected Cabbage would make an appearance.[14] Ishihara's role in Cabbage's development is incredibly vague; it is unclear what Ishihara actually contributed to the game's development, only that he (along with Itoi) became too busy with other projects, according to Miyamoto in 2006.[15][citation needed] It is likely that joining The Pokémon Company in 1998 affected his time spent on Cabbage's development.

In April 2023, Ishihara stepped down as CEO of Creatures, Inc., being succeeded by Yuji Kitano.[16]

Game credits

Anime credits

Executive producer

Production supervisor

Supervision

Appearances in games

Ishihara (Japanese: Mr.イシハラ Mr. Ishihara) appears in the Game Boy Color spin-off of the Pokémon TCG, Pokémon Trading Card Game, as a Pokémon card collector. Ishihara owns over 10,000 cards. He's also written many books about the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

In the game, Ishihara can always be found in his house on the cape to the northwest after being told by someone in the game where he is. He will trade very rare promotional Pikachu cards to the player for rare colorless cards. In order, he will trade a Surfing Pikachu for a Clefable, a Flying Pikachu for a Ditto, and an alternate design Surfing Pikachu for a Chansey. After all three trades have been completed, Ishihara will leave in search of someone who will give him the Phantom Cards.

In Pokémon Trading Card Game 2: The Invasion of Team GR!, Ishihara moves between his house and a new area, his villa. He will still trade cards with the player, but this time, he will be available to duel in his villa after all his trades are completed. He uses the Very Rare Card Deck, which contains many rare promotional cards.

Sprites

         
Main sprite from Pokémon
Trading Card Game 2
Win sprite from Pokémon
Trading Card Game 2
Loss sprite from Pokémon
Trading Card Game 2
Overworld sprite
(GB1)
Overworld sprite
(GB2)

Appearances in the TCG

Tsunekazu Ishihara appears in one promotional card.

Ishihara 
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a green background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Expansion
Rarity # Japanese
Expansion
Rarity #
Ishihara    Black Star Promos   TPCi01      
 


Appearances in animated series

 
Tsunekazu Ishihara in Pokémon: Path to the Peak

Tsunekazu Ishihara makes a cameo appearance in the Pokémon: Path to the Peak episode Worlds.

Interviews mentioning Pokémon

October 26th, 2023
Famitsu (Issue 1819) - "Detective Pikachu has Returned"
feat. Hiroyuki Jinnai

Videos

#Pokemon20: The Pokémon Company's Tsunekazu Ishihara

By The Official Pokémon Channel
This video is not available on Bulbapedia; instead, you can watch the video on YouTube here.


Trivia

References

  1. Image from Famitsu issue 1819.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mr. Tsunekazu Ishihara wins the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award | Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association
  3. Hatakeyama, Kenji; Kubo, Masakazu (December 10, 2000). ポケモン・ストーリー [Pokémon Story]. Nikkei BP. p. 79. ISBN 978-4822241995.
  4. Hatakeyama & Kubo (2000), p. 80-82.
  5. Hatakeyama & Kubo (2000), p. 82-83.
  6. Interview: Tajiri and Ishihara on Pokemon’s Beginnings, translated from July 2000 issue of Nintendo Online Magazine
  7. Hatakeyama & Kubo (2000), p. 83-88.
  8. すべては『ドアドア』から始まった――チュンソフト30周年のすべてを中村光一氏と振り返るロングインタビュー【前編】 Chunsoft 30th Anniversary Interview, translated by Shmupulations
  9. “I made that!” – 1991 Developer Interviews, from the October 1991 issue of Famitsu, translated by Shmupulations
  10. Creatures Inc. Company Outline
  11. 社長が訊く『ポケットモンスター ハートゴールド・ソウルシルバー』
  12. Iwata Asks : Pokémon HeartGold Version & SoulSilver Version : Just Making The Last Train
  13. 13.0 13.1 64Dream article on Cabbage.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 The IGN article discussing Cabbage's appearance in 64Dream.
  15. Article discussing Miyamoto's comments on Cabbage in 2006.
  16. Creatures Inc. sees leadership change as CEO and president step down
  17. (February 9, 2000). "ABC News Pokémon Chat Transcript." IGN.
  18. (November 2002). 1-5. 開発者よりみなさまへのメッセージ。 『ポケットモンスター ルビー・サファイア』大特集。 Nintendo Online Magazine (N.O.M). No.52.

External links


NPCs in the Trading Card Game Islands
Dr. MasonRonaldMr. IshiharaImakuni?SamAaronTap
Club MembersClub MastersGrand MastersTeam Great Rocket
Enigmatic MasksDungeon MastersGhost Masters