Shigesato Itoi

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Shigesato Itoi
糸井 重里
Itoi in 2015
Born (1948-11-10) November 10, 1948 (age 74)
Other namesDarling
Known forMother series
Almost Daily Itoi Newspaper
(m. 1993)

Shigesato Itoi (糸井 重里, Itoi Shigesato, born November 10, 1948) is a Japanese copywriter, essayist, lyricist, game designer, and actor. Itoi is the editor-in-chief of his website and company Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun ("Almost Daily Itoi Newspaper").[2] He is best known outside Japan for his work on Nintendo's Mother/EarthBound series of games, as well as his self-titled bass fishing video game.


During the 1980s Itoi established the profession of writing copy for advertisements among the general public in Japan. In 1981, he co-authored a collection of short stories titled Yume de Aimashou ("Let's meet in a dream") with writer Haruki Murakami. Later Itoi branched into writing essays, lyrics, and designing video games. He is best known outside of Japan for Nintendo's EarthBound, released in 1994 in Japan (as Mother 2: Giygas Strikes Back) and in 1995 in North America.

In 1997, Itoi began using the Internet and bought his first Macintosh. In 1998 he started the website and company Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun ("Almost Daily Itoi Newspaper"),[2] which is the center of his activity today. Under the theme of "creating good mood", the website has been updated every day for the past 15 years, with Itoi's essays on lifestyle, interviews and articles, and merchandise sales. He talks about his pet dogs and his interviews with artists, craftsmen, businessmen, etc., which tend to center on philosophical issues. Itoi has co-written several books modeled on these interviews, in which he has a series of long conversations with, for example, an expert on neurology Yūji Ikegaya, about how to live as a human being in the world.[3] Books collecting Itoi's past essays written on the site's front page are also available for purchase.


Itoi has voiced Satsuki's father, Tatsuo Kusakabe, in the original Japanese version of the 1988 Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. He has been a judge on several episodes of the Japanese television shows Iron Chef and Hey! Spring of Trivia. He made his live-action acting debut in 2010, when he played the role of a professor in the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood.

Year Film title Role Notes
1988 My Neighbor Totoro Tasuo Kusakabe Voice role
2010 Norwegian Wood Professor

Video games[edit]

Itoi established the company Ape, Inc. as a venue for external developers to help make games for Nintendo. He was the creator of the Mother series. In the original Mother for the Famicom, he was lead designer, writer and director; on EarthBound for the SNES, Itoi was producer, director and writer while in Mother 3 for Game Boy Advance, Itoi was the writer of the story. Itoi was involved in the pet simulator video game Cabbage, which was canceled after years in development hell.[4]

Itoi claims that the final battle of EarthBound with Giygas was inspired from his accidental childhood viewing of the Shintoho film titled The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty. Specifically, the scene that inspired the battle was a scene depicting a woman being murdered, which he mistook for rape.[2][5]

Itoi has said that he would not be involved in a fourth title of the series.[6] Itoi's works have had an impact on other games and other media, including Undertale,[7] and others.

Year Game title Role
1989 Mother Director, game designer, writer
1993 Monopoly Producer
1994 EarthBound Director, producer, writer, Saturn font concept, sampling voice
1995 The Monopoly Game 2 Supervisor
1997 Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1 Original concept, supervisor
2006 Mother 3 Story, scenario, message
N/A Cabbage Designer

Other ventures[edit]

Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun packaging

Shigesato Itoi worked with Nintendo to design video game-themed haramaki.[8]

Itoi is an avid Monopoly player and is President of the Japan Monopoly Association (日本モノポリー協会, Nihon Monopoly Kyōkai).[9] He also competed in the 1992 Monopoly World Championships and placed eighth. Itoi's video game development company Ape, Inc. developed two Monopoly games for the Super Famicom, with Itoi serving as producer. These versions of Monopoly were not released outside of Japan and featured a more role-playing experience.

Itoi launched a photo creation tool called "Dokonoko", which is designed specifically to be used with pets. It has been described as an "Instagram for pets". Dokonoko is most famous for a particular Japanese Labrador Retriever named Corky, who made front line news because of the abnormal length of her tongue.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Itoi was born on November 10, 1948, and raised in Maebashi, Gunma.[12] He was a heavy smoker until he quit in 2002.[13] Itoi has been married to actress Kanako Higuchi since 1993. In a 2019 interview, he mentioned that he has asthma, which causes him to cough when lying down. He would often play Mario when he was unable to sleep at night due to his asthma, and stated that he felt "indebted to Nintendo" and specifically wanted to work with them on Mother due to this. The protagonist of the game, Ninten, also has asthma, which was one of the first aspects of his character Itoi came up with.[14]


  1. ^ 糸井重里
  2. ^ a b c "ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞 - 『MOTHER』の気持ち。". Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  3. ^ "ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞 - 海馬". Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  4. ^ I. G. N. Staff (2000-04-05). "Nintendo Still Cooking Cabbage". IGN. Retrieved 2023-01-11.
  5. ^ Mandelin, Clyde (20 January 2009). "The Scene that Inspired Giygas". Earthbound Central. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  6. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (2013-04-30). "Earthbound creator says new series installment is 'impossible'". Polygon. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  7. ^ "Undertale is an EarthBound Inspired Indie RPG". The Escapist. 2013-06-02. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  8. ^ "Earthbound creator Shigesato Itoi collaborates with Nintendo on fashion". 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  9. ^ "ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞 -モノポリーページ". Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  10. ^ "Earthbound creator launches 'Instagram for pets'". MCV. 2019-05-15. ISSN 1469-4832. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  11. ^ Frank, Allegra (2016-06-06). "EarthBound creator's latest project is an Instagram for pets". Polygon. Retrieved 2022-08-19.
  12. ^ "Shigesato Itoi Tells All about Mother 3 (Part One)". Nintendo Dream. Translation. July 2006. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2014. {{cite web}}: External link in |others= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ "Shigesato Itoi Tells All about Mother 3 (Part Two)". Nintendo Dream. Translation. August 2006. p. 7. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2014. {{cite web}}: External link in |others= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ Arino, Shinya; Itoi, Shigesato (14 September 2019). "Shigesato Itoi Visits Arino Kacho's Challenge Room: An RPG Without Swords or Magic". 1101. Retrieved 25 April 2023.

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