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Shigesato Itoi (糸井重里 Itoi Shigesato, born November 10, 1948) is a famous Japanese copywriter and essayist, though he is widely known outside of Japan as a game designer for his work on Nintendo's Mother series of games, specifically EarthBound in the United States, as well as his self-titled fishing video game, Shigesato Itoi's No. 1 Bass Fishing. His "normal" activities, however, center around his blog/website, Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (The Itoi Pretty-Much-Daily News), which publishes Itoi's short essays on lifestyle and spirituality and also his interviews with artists, craftsmen, businessmen, etc., which also tend to center on philosophical issues. Itoi has also co-written several books modeled on these interviews, in which he has a series of long conversations with, for example, an expert on neurology (Kaiba, The Hippocampus), about how to live as a human being in the world.

Itoibio

Itoi's bio from a magazine.

The Beatles carry a strong influence on his work, and also his way of life. He feels close to John Lennon, as they both had an absent father during their childhoods. This influence can be seen in various Beatles references hidden in EarthBound, as well as the ultimate inspiration for the characters of Ninten's and Ness's dad. Itoi's inspiration into game design came from Shigeru Miyamoto's successful works, such as Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda. Miyamoto himself would give Itoi a development team to work on his first game, Mother. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo's president at the time, enjoyed Itoi's work, going far as to consider Itoi a "genius".

An in-depth interview with Itoi about Mother 3's development can be found here.

Outside of game design, Itoi also has a presence in Japan as a successful celebrity through various outlets. He has voiced Mei and Satsuki's father, Tatsuo Kusakabe, in the Japanese version of the My Neighbor Totoro anime film, has been a judge on a few episodes of the Japanese shows Iron Chef and Hey! Spring of Trivia, and has also co-authored a collection of short stories titled Yume de aimashou ("Let's meet in a dream") with writer Haruki Murakami. His latest book, Chiisai Kotoba o Utau Basho (A Place Where Small Words Are Sung), is an anthology of writing collected from the Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun. "Hobo Nichi" (as it is called) is currently releasing a series of T-shirts on the theme "Sentimental Territory", which feature simple drawings of cute animals with tears in their eyes. It also designs and sells a combination calendar/address book/personal notebook at the beginning of each business year (March–April).

Staff Roles[]

Trivia[]

  • Itoi's name makes an appearance as a location in EarthBound Beginnings, named Mt. Itoi. In the original Japanese release, it was called Holy Loly Mountain. There is even a letter from him hidden in the Yucca Desert.
  • Possibly, Itoi might have been referenced in Mother 3. He revealed in an interview that the staff ate croquette rolls while working on the game. In Hotel Yado, a man says that he would like some croquette rolls, and the other person says that those are fine with him. Also, when using Trivia Card 2 on a regular Pigmask, they will answer with “Croquette Roll” and they will get the correct answer.
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