The Pokémon Company

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The Pokémon Company
Native name
Joint venture
Founded April 23, 1998; 18 years ago (1998-04-23) (as The Pokémon Center Company)
Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan
Headquarters Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Bellevue, Washington, United States
London, United Kingdom
Seoul, South Korea
Key people
Tsunekazu Ishihara
Products Pokémon franchise
Services Brand management
Number of employees
400 (2016)[1]
Parent [2]
Entrance of The Pokémon Company in Tokyo
The International Branch of The Pokemon Company

The Pokémon Company (株式会社ポケモン Kabushiki gaisha Pokémon?) is a Japanese company that is responsible for marketing and licensing the Pokémon franchise. It was established through a joint investment by the three businesses holding the copyright on Pokémon: Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures.[2] It began operating in 1998 and adopted the moniker Pokémon Ltd. in October 2000.[3] The company is headquartered in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo.[4]

The company has separate divisions that handle operations in different areas of the world, with The Pokémon Company International supporting the territories outside Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. In South Korea, the operations are handled by Pokémon Korea, Inc.[4]


In 1998, Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak established The Pokémon Center Company in order to effectively manage the Pokémon Center stores in Japan. After the popularity of Pokémon Gold and Silver, they received many merchandising proposals from around the world. Companies were interested in working with the Pokémon brand. At that time, Tsunekazu Ishihara of Creatures was the person in charge of approving licensed products. Because of the sheer volume of products, Ishihara thought it was too much work for one person to handle. At the same time, in order for the franchise to continue, Ishihara wished to further expand the franchise with long-term goals, such as continuing the anime series and releasing a movie every year. It was then decided that a new organization was needed in order to effectively gather together all the strands of brand management.

This led the three companies to turn The Pokémon Center Company into The Pokémon Company and further expand its responsibilities and areas of business. According to Satoru Iwata, establishing The Pokémon Company was one of his first projects at Nintendo.[5]

The United States branch (Pokémon USA, Inc.) opened in 2001 to handle licensing overseas.[6] Nintendo Australia does all licensing and marketing of Pokémon products in Australia and New Zealand, as The Pokémon Company does not have an Australian branch.[4]

Since 2001, nearly all licensed Pokémon products have "©Pokémon" in the copyright acknowledgments with the usual three of "©Nintendo", "©GAME FREAK inc." and "©Creatures Inc." Despite this, Nintendo is the sole owner of the Pokémon trademark.[7] The video games, Pokémon Trading Card Game and licensed toys are still being made by third- and second-party companies such as Tomy.

In October 2001, 4Kids Entertainment (now known as 4Licensing Corporation) acquired a 3% stake in The Pokémon Company for an undisclosed sum.[8][9] They liquidated this stake 4 years later for US$960,000.[10]

In 2006, Pokémon Korea, Inc. was founded to manage the company's operations in South Korea.[6] Its headquarters are located in Seoul.[11]

In 2009, Pokémon USA and Pokémon UK merged to become The Pokémon Company International, which handles American and European Pokémon operations under the administration of Kenji Okubo.[12] The company's offices in the United States are in Bellevue, Washington[13] and its offices in the United Kingdom are in London.[4] Australian operations are controlled by Nintendo Australia.

Retail sales[edit]

Retail sales of licensed Pokémon merchandise worldwide (in billions USD)
Year The Pokémon Company Notes
1996-2005[14] 25
2006[15] 1.3
2007[16] 1.4
2008[17] 1.4
2009[18] 1.4
2010[19] 2.5
2011[20] 1.5
2012[21] 1.6
2013[22] 1.5
2014[23] 2 The Increase in sales over 2013 is primarily related to the increase in Pokemon TGC Sales in the UK Market by 51%, as well as the resurgence of the Pokemon Brand in India.[24][25]
2015[26] 2.1 Increase in sales over 2014 is related to the continued success of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, which saw an increase by 56%, as well as the continued resurgence of the Pokemon Brand in India.[27][25]
2016[28] 3.3

List of works[edit]




  1. ^ "Updated list of employee counts for Nintendo companies". July 1, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Company History". The Pokemon Company. Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Company History - The Pokémon Company". Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d "会社概要". The Pokémon Company. Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Iwata Asks". Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "沿革". The Pokémon Company. Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ "4Kids Entertainment Signs New Five-Year Agreement With Pokemon USA/Leading Children's Entertainment Company Acquires 3% Interest In The Pokemon Company". October 10, 2001. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ "4Kids Entertainment Signs New Five-Year Agreement With Pokémon USA" (PDF). October 10, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 24, 2005. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Form 10K". March 16, 2006. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  10. ^ Jones, Adams (11 August 2016). "Pokethrift Pokemon Go: Accounts and technical issues". Pokethrift. Retrieved 19 September 2016. organization to provide a LIFETIME WARRANTY on all of accounts. 
  11. ^ Daswani, Mansha (April 9, 2009). "Pokémon Merges North American, European Operations". Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Contact Us". The Pokémon Company International. Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ Grala, Alyson (February 1, 2006). "Pocketing Profits". Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  14. ^ Wilensky, Dawn. "103 Leading Licensing Companies". Scribd. Retrieved December 22, 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ "TOP 100 Licensors". April 1, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Top 100 Global Licensors". April 1, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  17. ^ "TOP 125 Global Licensors". March 1, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  18. ^ "TOP 125". May 1, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  19. ^ Lisanti, Tony (May 10, 2012). "Top 125 Global Licensors". Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Top 150 Global Licensors". May 1, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  21. ^ "The Top 150 Global Licensors". May 1, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  22. ^ "The Top 150 Global Licensors". May 1, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  23. ^ Loveday, Samantha (December 19, 2014). "Pokémon ends 2014 on a high". NewBay Media. Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Venkatesh, Shruti (December 29, 2015). "Pokemon's second coming". Forbes India. Forbes, Inc. Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  25. ^ "The Top 150 Global Licensors". May 1, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  26. ^ Langsworthy, Billy (January 21, 2016). "Esdevium Games enjoys "record sales year" for Pokémon Trading Card Game". Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  27. ^ "The Top 150 Global Licensors". April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 

External links[edit]