As far as I can tell, since we have overcome all of the "basic" sins, ol' Lucifer had to throw us a curveball. (A Pokéball?)
"They'll never see it coming if I dress it up as a cuddly little yellow creature named Pikachu.", Satan was quoted as saying in an interview with Time Magazine. (You just read that on the Internet, so it has to be true, right?)
Now, I know everyone has an opinion (most of them pretty strong) on the subject and I know I am going to catch a lot of flak for this post. I'm OK with that. I welcome your comments, concerns, and death threats...
Seriously though... hopefully we can all be friends, even if we disagree!
(Please read to the end of this post! Even if you hate me and Pikachu, you'll love the story!)
Pokémon is a lot of things. I know because I watched the original series as a kid. I know because I played the games on the Gameboy and Nintendo 64, and in the last couple of weeks I've tried the new app, PokémonGO on my iPhone.
The games are a lot of fun and the animé (cartoon) is entertaining, imaginative, and teaches valuable lessons about friendship, character, choices, and teamwork. It's fun, creative, cute, and generally positive in tone.
Like I said, it's a lot of things, but Satan's tool for demonic influence over the youth? I have my doubts...
Let's talk about a couple of the claims floating around the internet.
Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri, in an interview with Time magazine, claimed to have designed Pokémon out of rebellion towards his parents and his Christian upbringing. Several people have taken this a step farther and claim that Pokémon is Satanic and is based on demonic creatures and imagery rooted in the occult.
I have included the text of the "Time interview" below:
Time: What inspired you to start making the Pokémon games?
Tajiri: Well, my parents were Christians. I grew up being taught the ways of that religion. When I got older, I started to realize that the things they said were foolish and I guess I rebelled a little.
Time: How did you rebel?
Tajiri: I started to argue against their teachings. They tried to punish me in various ways to try to get me under control, but it didn’t work. This is when I was inspired by nature and started the basis for the Pokémon games.
Time: Could you explain how your parent’s religion is connected with the games?
Tajiri: Well, when I got old enough, I wanted to do something that would show the world that my parents were wrong. Something I saw in nature was the concept of evolution which my parents vehemently denied existed. This sparked the idea for a game that would go against everything my parents believed in.
Time: This game being Pokémon, correct?
Tajiri: Yes. Pokémon is essentially the correct answer towards life, not Christianity. Everything presented in the game is the opposite of what Christians may believe. Some have said that the game promotes voodoo or magic, and I agree in the sense that there are many things that occur in nature that are unexplainable. Furthermore, the violence in the games is unparalleled. It may not show up in the actual graphics, but the brutality is made especially explicit in the Pokédex entries. Nature, again, played a big role.
Time: So those who say that the game is anti-Christian are correct?
Tajiri: I suppose so. I mean, some could say that the game supports Satanism. I don’t officially celebrate it, but I can understand why people would be attracted to it.
The (Really True) Truth #1
This "interview" that supposedly appeared in an issue of Time magazine never actually happened. It originally appeared, as a piece of humorous (and poorly written) fiction, on the Play4Real website in November, 2012. Here's a link: http://www.p4rgaming.com/pokemon-creator-admits-games-aimed-towards-satanists/
In other words, it's FAKE!
This story has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the release of PokémonGO, as people are re-posting anything negative they can find about Pokémon. No need to do any research or check the sources. I mean, if I don't like it and don't understand it, it has to be the work of Satan, right?
Pokémon is Japanese for "devils", "demons", "pocket demons", or some variation of this concept.
The (Really True) Truth #2
The word "Pokémon" is actually a mashup of the Romanized Japanese words "Poketto Monsuta", which literally means "Pocket Monsters". Read what you will into the term "monster", but know that the connotations are much different in Japanese culture than in fundamentalist Christian circles in America.
The Beautiful, Inspirational (REALLY TRUE) Story of the Origin of Pokémon!
As a child, Pokémon creator, Satoshi Tajiri was obsessed with catching and collecting insects. His friends even nicknamed him, "Dr. Bug". His dream was to become an entomologist. As the rural area of Tokyo where Satoshi lived became more urbanized, he was forced to give up his beloved hobby. He eventually forgot his dream of becoming an entomologist.
As Satoshi grew older, he became infatuated with video games, much to his parents dismay. His grades began to suffer, but at home he stayed busy studying electronics. He would take apart his Nintendo Famicom to see how it worked. This curiosity allowed him to learn, on his own, how to make video games.
Tajiri's parents wanted him to get a job or go to a university, but he was determined to be a video game developer. He went to a technical school to study computers and electronics. He wanted to create a game that would allow kids to experience the feeling of catching and collecting creatures, as he had in his childhood.
The result was the Pokémon phenomenon. The creatures were based, not on demons, but on the insects that Tajiri had collected as a child. The hero of the games and animé, Ash Ketchum (Satoshi in Japan), was based on a young Tajiri.
Now for the beautiful, inspirational part...
The key to Tajiri's success was his laser-like focus on whatever was most important to him at the time. He owed this focus to the same thing that contributed to his bad grades in school and made it difficult to relate or live up to the expectations of parents and teachers: autism. He does not speak publicly about his autism, but has confirmed that he has indeed been diagnosed with Asberger's, a high functioning form of autism.
Sometimes a perceived weakness can be our greatest strength!
Read this great article from Kotaku: http://kotaku.com/5806664/how-pokemon-was-born-from-bug-collecting-and-aspergers-syndrome
In the end, I don't care if you like Pokémon or not.
I do have to applaud any parent's efforts to educate themselves on anything their kids may be into, but don't believe everything you read on the internet. In fact, don't believe ANYTHING you read on the internet. Even what you are reading right now is just one guy's opinion. I could be wrong, but at least I got my facts straight.
Take the time to research things for yourselves. Be sure that you know the facts and proceed from there, rather than blindly re-posting bad information and outright lies. Regardless of which side of a given issue you find yourself on, arguing with bad information will undermine your argument, even if you are right.
If I can give you one final thought on the subject, it's this:
I know the devil is a roaring lion, but I don't look for him under every rock and behind every tree. My faith is stronger than that.
I choose to find the beauty in situations when I can. I would hate to miss the inspirational (TRUE) story of Satoshi Tajiri because I fed into a (false) story being propagated by Christians who I have to assume are either intentionally lying, are really gullible, or are too lazy to check their facts.
C'mon Christians, we can do better than that...
When it comes to factual errors and Pokémon...
"Gotta catch 'em all!"
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