"A game isnít something that can be made by one person alone. Well, itís possible that a really hard-working game creator could finish a game all alone, but even then he would still need a player. Games grow and mature when theyíre created, played, and conveyed over and over." "Being free does not lead to decadence. It brings out potential."
Shigesato Itoi (糸井 重里, b. November 10, 1948) is a Japanese essayist and copywriter whose works are widely considered to have had a defining influence on modern Japanese culture. He's dabbled in pretty much everything at some point or another over the past thirty years or so - he's done books, he's done songwriting, he's done websites, he's done voice acting, he's done film, he's done television, he's done day planners
... The man is an endless font of variety, really, and Japan loves him for it.
Of course, that's not what he's known for
in the western world. No, the west knows him better for something that to him and to Japan was little more than a little experiment in storytelling he did on the side. Around here, he's best known as the brilliant mind behind the MOTHER
trilogy of Nintendo
video games, namely MOTHER
and MOTHER 3
. He's a good friend of Shigeru Miyamoto
, Hirokazu Tanaka
and Satoru Iwata
(who singlehandedly reprogrammed EarthBound
from scratch midway through development, rescuing the entire project when all seemed lost), he served on the board of Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratory
for a while, and he is an occasional participant in the Iwata Asks
interview series. Other video game endeavours of his include bass fishing video games for the Super Famicom
and Nintendo 64
(he was really
into bass fishing in the late 90s) and a health diary for Nintendo DSi
In 1998, he established the Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun
(Pretty-Much-Daily Itoi News, commonly called Hobonichi
), a strange news site-hybrid themed around the idea of brightening peoples' days. It's partially a news site, but its biggest draw is its status as the home of his essays and thoughts on life, living, philosophy and his dog, and interviews with interesting people. On that note, he really
loves interviewing people - his interviews never fail to be long and interesting and he's filled multiple books with them. This is pretty much why Iwata sometimes gets him to do important Iwata Asks
interviews instead - because he's really, really
good at it.He has a Twitter account
, which is quite the interesting read if you're versed in Japanese. It's pretty easy to tell whenever he mentions MOTHER
, because the title is always written in English.
Things Itoi has worked on
Tropes associated with Itoi:
- Bishōnen: Dear God, just look at him on this magazine cover from 1983!
- The Cameo: He appears as an NPC in For The Frog The Bell Tolls, mining for gold.
- Celebrity Endorsement: Sort of, because he obviously created it - in Japan, the big selling point of the MOTHER series was always the fact that he, a rather popular celebrity, made it; the ads for MOTHER made a point of pointing that out. Also, he likes to endorse food he enjoys (several of these crop up in the MOTHER trilogy), with a curry restaurant actually using a page full of his praise (and scribbles) as its packaging.
- Cloudcuckoolander: If MOTHER wasn't enough to convince you that this is the case, the rest of his body of work will!
- Cool Old Guy
- Gold Fever: He tried his hand at gold mining in the early 90s; this later inspired the Dusty Dunes Desert mining site in EarthBound, which was in development around that time.
- Harmful to Minors: Again, the story about Giygas's creation.
- He Also Did: Unsurprisingly, many people in the west aren't aware of his non-MOTHER work; it's kind of inverted in Japan, where MOTHER is just another thing he dabbled in and comparatively obscure.
- Heroes Love Dogs: A whole section of Hobonichi is essentially a blog devoted to Itoi's dog, Bouillon.
- The Merch: This is how his site is supported, as it contains no advertisements. Memorably, his line of customizable Hobonichi day planners has sold over 300,000 copies (that's right, Itoi can make day planners sell like hotcakes). And yes, there have been MOTHER shirts at some point. Also, ramen.
- Nice Hat: They're quite common in photos of him from the past three years or so.
- Nightmare Fuel: In-universe example, you could say - pretty much everyone knows the story behind him and the film that ultimately inspired Giygas, but in case you don't...
- Renaissance Man
- Signature Style: His work is always offbeat yet borderline poetic, carry its point well, and will demonstrate a deft mastery of Mood Whiplash.
- Tagline: Once his primary job; he's responsible for many particularly famous Japanese ones.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Croquette rolls. Inevitably they showed up repeatedly in MOTHER.
- Widget Series: Quite a bit of his work.