Shigesato Itoi

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Shigesato Itoi
糸井 重里
Itoi in 2015
Born (1948-11-10) November 10, 1948 (age 73)
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 acting debut in 2010, when he played the role of a professor in the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood.

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 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.[2][4]

Itoi has said that he would not be involved in a fourth title of the series.[5] Itoi’s works have had an impact on other games and other media, including Undertale,[6] Lisa: The Painful RPG,[7] Yume Nikki,[8] Homestuck and others.

Year Game title Role
1989 Mother Director, Game Designer, Writer
1993 Monopoly Producer
1994 EarthBound Producer, Director, Writer, Concept of Saturn Font, 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

Other ventures[edit]

Shigesato Itoi worked with Nintendo to design video game-themed haramaki.[9]

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).[10] 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 Labrador Retriever in particular named Corky, who made front line news because of the abnormal length of her tongue.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Itoi was born on November 10, 1948 and raised in Maebashi, Gunma.[13] He was a heavy smoker until he quit in 2002.[14] Itoi has been married to actress Kanako Higuchi since 1993.


  1. ^ 糸井重里
  2. ^ a b c "Interview with Shigesato Itoi" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  3. ^ 海馬
  4. ^ Mandelin, Clyde (20 January 2009). "The Scene that Inspired Giygas". Earthbound Central. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  5. ^ Earthbound creator says new series installment is 'impossible'
  6. ^ "Undertale is an EarthBound Inspired Indie RPG". The Escapist. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  7. ^ "LISA is an MA-rated Earthbound and it's pretty rad - Lisa - Giant Bomb". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  8. ^ "Earthbound, Yume Nikki, and Undertale are all compared to each other. What do you think it is that ties all these games together? :: Yume Nikki General Discussions". Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  9. ^ Earthbound creator Shigesato Itoi collaborates with Nintendo on fashion
  10. ^ 天使と悪魔が徹夜する!「日本モノポリー協会」のページ
  11. ^ Earthbound creator launches ‘Instagram for pets’
  12. ^ EarthBound creator's latest project is an Instagram for pets
  13. ^ "Shigesato Itoi Tells All about Mother 3 (Part One)". Nintendo Dream. Translation. July 2006. p. 1. Archived from the original on September 1, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ "Shigesato Itoi Tells All about Mother 3 (Part Two)". Nintendo Dream. Translation. August 2006. p. 7. Archived from the original on September 1, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.CS1 maint: others (link)

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