The Pokémon Company (株式会社ポケモン, Kabushiki gaisha Pokemon) is a Japanese company that handles brand management, production, marketing, and licensing of the Pokémon franchise's video games, Trading Card Game, anime series, films, manga, and merchandise. The company is a joint venture between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures.

Company history

In 1998, the company was established by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures originally as The Pokémon Center Company as a way to manage Japan's Pokémon Center stores (hence the name). Following the success of Pokémon Gold and Silver and the overall increasing popularity of the series, several third-party international companies became interested in working with the Pokémon license. Tsunekazu Ishihara, an employee of Creatures, was tasked with approving the licensed merchandise - due to the large amount of products, he felt it was too daunting of a task for one person. At the same time, he wanted to franchise to continue expanding through the continuation of the anime series and releasing a film annually. It was then decided that a new organization should be established in order to better manage the license. This decision led to the three to re-establish The Pokémon Center Company as just simply The Pokémon Company in December 2000.[1] The company shift was aided by Satoru Iwata, which was one of his first projects after joining Nintendo.[2]

In February 2001, an additional branch was launched in the United States as Pokémon USA, Inc.[3] to handle overseas licensing. Anime licensing and dubbing company 4Licensing Corporation (formerly known as 4Kids Entertainment) acquired a 3% stake in the company for an undisclosed sum. This in turn gave 4Kids exclusive rights to dub and distribute episodes of the Pokémon anime as well as the films for five years.[4] This stake would be liquidated four years later for $960,000.

A new branch in the United Kingdom was opened in 2003,[5] while in August 2006, a Korean branch was opened in Seoul to manage operations in South Korea.[1] In 2009, the USA and UK branches merged to come The Pokémon Company International, which oversees both American and European operations under Kenji Okubo.[6]

In August 2011, Pokémon Center Co., Ltd. was re-established as a new subsidiary of the company to manage the Japan stores as well as the stand vending machines and the online store. They also oversee the production of the design and manufacture of merchandise. There are currently stores located in 11 Japan cities and prefectures: Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Oshiage, Chiba, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.[7]

In 2017, The Pokémon Company merged with the Pokémon Communications Company, which was originally established to better reach customers throughout Asia.[8] Following the merger in December, new websites were launched in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam under the moniker Pokémon Asia.[9]

Involvement with Super Smash Bros.

See also: Game Freak and Creatures pages on more detailed Pokémon representation

The Pokémon series is heavily represented in Smash through several fighters (Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Mewtwo, Pichu, the Pokémon Trainer (in command of Charizard, Squirtle, and Ivysaur), Lucario, Greninja, and Incineroar), several stages (Saffron City, Pokémon Stadium, Poké Floats, Pokémon Stadium 2, Spear Pillar, Unova Pokémon League, Prism Tower, and Kalos Pokémon League), several music tracks, multiple Poké Ball Pokémon, Trophies, Stickers, and Spirits.

Outside of the video games, Smash has made several references to the anime, which is licensed by the Pokémon Company: all Pokémon characters communicate by saying their names, which replaces the bit-crushed calls in the games; furthermore, Mewtwo and Lucario as they appear in Smash seem to be the same ones featured in their respective films (Mewtwo Strikes Back and Lucario and the Mystery of Mew) due to their ability to speak fluently; the Misty and Professor Oak Trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee are modeled after their anime designs rather than their in-game appearances; the Meowth Trophy's description in Melee also describes the anime's seventh ending theme "Meowth's Party"; Event 48 (Pikachu and Pichu) is a direct reference to the anime short of the same name, as the opponents are two Pichus who are protecting one Pikachu; and finally, the Pokémon Trainer Trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS directly lists anime protagonist Ash Ketchum by name in the description as well as referencing the first two lines of the original Pokémon theme song.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Farokhmanesh, Megan (06/19/2014). What is The Pokémon Company? (English). Polygon. Retrieved on 2020-08-30.
  2. Iwata Asks - Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Nintendo.
  3. Company History. The Pokémon Company.
  4. 4Kids Entertainment Signs New Five-Year Agreement With Pokemon USA/Leading Children's Entertainment Company Acquires 3% Interest In The Pokemon Company. (English). The Free Library (10/10/2001). Retrieved on 2020-08-30.
  5. Company History. The Pokémon Company.
  6. Daswani, Mansha (04/09/2009). Pokémon Merges North American, European Operations (English). World Screen. Retrieved on 2020-08-30.
  7. Company History. The Pokémon Company.
  8. ポケモン、『ポケモン』のプロモーションを担う関連会社ポケモンコミュニケーションズを吸収合併 (Japanese). Social Game Info (01/25/2017). Retrieved on 2020-08-30.
  9. Iggy (12/01/2017). OFFICIAL POKEMON WEBSITE LAUNCHES IN 10 ASIAN COUNTRIES (English). NintendoSoup. Retrieved on 2020-08-30.

External links