News Article

Weirdness: Earthbound Designer Shigesato Itoi Comes Under Fire For Tweeting About Fukushima Peaches

Posted by Liam Doolan

“If you go to Fukushima you can buy peaches like this"

Earthbound designer Shigesato Itoi who has appeared on a number of Japanese variety shows and commercials, recently came under fire on Twitter when he showed his support of Fukushima peaches to over 600,000 followers.

Prior to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the prefecture was known for its fresh produce – especially its peaches. Fast forward to 2014, and a number of countries including Singapore and Thailand have begun lifting bans on Fukushima food products, to the point of the local peaches becoming a luxury fruit – with buyers reportedly placing full trust in the Japanese screening and health system after confirmation the food was safe to consume. Despite this, around 15 percent of Japanese locals are still mostly reluctant to buy Fukushima produce.

Mr Itoi’s tweet clearly hit a nerve with the vocal minority, with many followers lashing out at him, exclaiming they would rather not buy them, that he shouldn’t participate in PR programs, and some even claiming he was a 'horrible person'.

On Japan’s largest bulletin board 2ch, several users wished he would spend his time doing other things, such as 'making a new Earthbound game'.

Mr Itoi’s responded to the social media outrage, stating it was an insult to those who had been involved in addressing uneasiness and investigating the matter, so that this quality produce could be made available once again. Of course, these comments only added fuel to fire, with one user demanding Mr Itoi stop spreading misinformation.

Do you think Mr Itoi was pushing dangerous buttons, or do you agree that he should be focusing on a new Earthbound game? Let us know!

[via kotaku.com.au, twitter.com]

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User Comments (80)

Vincent294

#1

Vincent294 said:

The internet...while I'm still a bit skeptical of the radiation levels in Fukushima (Time had an article about the power plant and the stigma and fear about the area that remains), the backlash he received for innocently trying to help people make a living there is pathetic.

Haxonberik

#3

Haxonberik said:

Some people can't accept some game series aren't for ever... :/ I don't know what to say about the peaches I know nothing on the subject.

DonSerrot

#6

DonSerrot said:

If they have been deemed safe then they are safe. If people are having problems trusting that then someone needs to help fix their image. He's just trying to be that someone. I say good on him for trying to help the people of that area.

ZesuBen

#7

ZesuBen said:

"This person is a celebrity, he can't have his own personal life or make his own decisions. He's either getting paid for every word or working on the thing I want. That or I hate him and he needs to die."

Mother is over. The series should be remade though. That'd be awesome.

andrea987

#8

andrea987 said:

Nothing better than a peach who doubles up as a bedlamp.
Jokes aside, if we knew what we eat every day we'd probably die of starvation.

BakaKnight

#9

BakaKnight said:

Honestly...urgh... There are desperate farmers there that need to sale their fruits and studies saying those fruits are safe. I can understand why people still wouldn't trust those products, ack, maybe I wouldn't buy those peaches myself, but I would neither attack Itoi cause he believe the opposite -.-;

That said, nothing stop him from eat peaches AND make a new game at the same time XP

Geonjaha

#11

Geonjaha said:

How is this news? Is it just because this guy worked on Earthbound? This has nothing to do with gaming.

blodermoder

#12

blodermoder said:

Happy that he's showing solidarity with the Fukushima farmers. I wouldn't mind a new Earthbound game though, or a release of Earthbound Zero and Earthbound 2.

Einherjar

#15

Einherjar said:

Sure, i was offended as well. And why not ? Isnt getting offended my job as a citizen of the Interwebz ?
I get offended all the time, and this guy promoting a brand of peaches just took the cake.
I mean, come on, he downright promoted them ! And they are not even banned anymore. What a horrible person to promote farmers and help get a business back on its feet. So inhumane.

You know what ? He should be locked up to never see the light of day and work on Earthbound 24/7. Only forced slave labour is good labour right ?
Earthbound is known to be a lifeless game right ? One without passion, love and dedication.

@Geonjaha You start to sound like unrandomsam, you can make of that what you want.

Cinaclov

#16

Cinaclov said:

"some even claiming he was a 'horrible person"
You're doing pretty well if you're a target for abuse on the internet and the worse you're receiving is claims of being a horrible person.

unrandomsam

#17

unrandomsam said:

@Einherjar You are wrong I don't mind stuff like this. (Or the 3D Thunderblade article). What I don't like is the loads of words no substance and repetition that makes up most of the rest of the front page.

Einherjar

#18

Einherjar said:

@unrandomsam I was more refering to you alsways finding something negative about pretty much everything ;)
It makes for great coversations and discssions though :)

SKTTR

#19

SKTTR said:

These peaches look good! I'd make a lovely cake. Just need some sugar, flour, butter, milk, and geigerzähler.

SnackBox

#20

SnackBox said:

He's not our slave, he can do wants he wants. he's already said he doesn't want to make another mother game as well.

HyperSonicEXE

#21

HyperSonicEXE said:

Those people, good god.

It's a factual statement. Maybe HE LIKES/liked Fukushima peaches prior to the reactor, and is excited that they're back. And either way, it's factual - he held up a display of peaches. Those are the kind that you can buy there.

I think the reactor got to their brains.

Extremist

#22

Extremist said:

Don't know/care much either way about the peaches. He should definitely be making another Earthbound though! :-)

Tsuchinoko

#23

Tsuchinoko said:

Itoi isn't the only one doing this, although he is doing it independently of anyone else. Popular band Tokio has been appearing in commercial advertising vegetables from Fukushima prefecture.

I really feel bad for him. He mostly spends his time writing his wellness and alifestyle column on his website, as well as writing essays on philosophy.

Geonjaha

#24

Geonjaha said:

Do know that I mean you no offense article writer, I just see criticism as more useful than praise.
@Rin-go - Good point, my bad.
@Einherjar - I'm glad you think what I say makes for great discussions and conversations. :3

Gerbwmu

#25

Gerbwmu said:

Proof positive that the whole world is full of crazies and the internet is their playground

Tobias95

#33

Tobias95 said:

I dont see anything wrong with this guy promoting those peaches if he likes them. I promote things I like all the time in my real life

Einherjar

#34

Einherjar said:

@Geonjaha Hey, im the last guy to hold a grudge for more than 5 minutes anyways ;)
No need to worry at all.
If i would hold serious grudges on here, i would have left ages ago.

Geonjaha

#36

Geonjaha said:

@Tobias95 - The funny part is it seems like the most innocent thing to do. Promoting a fruit; eat healthily kids!. Truly what a horrible person he must be.

RougeLeader

#38

RougeLeader said:

It is the year 2031 Radioactive peaches have made Einherjar the scourge of Nintendo Life forums. it takes a random usr named Unrandomsam to defend the colony from existential crisis

Kolzig

#39

Kolzig said:

There are just too many stupid people in the internet commenting.

I see too much of this every day with things like this Itoi case, Anita Sarkeesian's case and Zoe Quinn's case. People harrassing good persons without a reason and just being mean to them.

I just today discussed this with some colleagues that there should be an IQ test before people can open their browsers and twitters etc.

Too many dumb people commenting on matters that they don't even understand or want to understand.

Darknyht

#41

Darknyht said:

While I wish that Mother 1 & 3 came to the states, I feel like Earthbound would be much like Star Wars felt when I went and saw Phantom Menace if they pushed another one out. Sometimes you just cannot go back...

As for the internet, John Gabriel summed it up best in his theory: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = What you see happening on 2ch (I'll let you go find how he put it).

Einherjar

#43

Einherjar said:

@RougeLeader Well, a list of things:

  • Being generally angry
  • Thinking about why im still on here
  • Pondering about the general stupidity about things

And then its gone :P

rjejr

#45

rjejr said:

So, are there any photos of him, you know, actually eating the peaches, or is he just a shill who knows better?

Sorry the only info I have is from this post, but personally I wouldnt eat anything grown within miles of those reactors.

For a somewhat similar story, see all the articles about the air being safe sround groundzero, and how many people who helped out there have since died.

http://www.propublica.org/article/new-docs-detail-how-feds-downplayed-ground-zero-health-risks

Or Love Canal.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/11/02/suits-claim-love-canal-still-oozing-35-years-later/3384259/

Newsflash, sometimes the govt lies.

ricklongo

#47

ricklongo said:

Well, no matter what he is doing at any given time in his life, I think we can all agree he really should be making new Earthbound games. ;)

RougeLeader

#48

RougeLeader said:

@Einherjar

i just had a moment of my own, walked away for 5 minutes. no need to mention the post.
common sense lost, presumed dead, relatives would still like to bury the corpse

NintendoFan64

#49

NintendoFan64 said:

First of all, he's promoting the consumption of fruit and trying to help the farmer's market. OH MY GOD, HE IS THE DEVIL INCARNATE(sarcasm)! Second, I'm sorry internet but the Mother series is over. It doesn't make me happy, but we have to accept that. Besides, the fans are already making a 4th one that's coming out in Winter that looks as if it was made by Nintendo, so I can't complain.

Einherjar

#52

Einherjar said:

@RougeLeader Yup, thats what im talking about: NL postings that just make your brain go bbbrrrzzzzzttt for a moment and you lose all faith in humanity.

Pod

#53

Pod said:

Showing his support for a whole region that has been unjustly cut off from the world market for years is what a good guy would do.

Radiation levels in most of Fukushima were never above those of several normally inhabited areas of the world.

RougeLeader

#54

RougeLeader said:

@OneBagTravel

the trouble is that there is a whole industry centered around being outraged. studies prove that it is the the nexus between litigation and climate change:)*

@Pod
you want hysteria just mention nuclear

*and possibly gluten

BertoFlyingFox

#55

BertoFlyingFox said:

I dont see the problem here, if he honestly believes in the health of Fukushima peaches then he's allowed to do what he pleases.

It isnt a simple situation over there, acting like needy children who just want more games isnt helping.

shinesprite

#56

shinesprite said:

Personally, I feel that its rather simple...

If you don't like (Fukushima) peaches, don't buy them!

There, was that so hard. ;)

SavoirFaire

#58

SavoirFaire said:

I remember at a previous job a long time ago a lady brought in oranges the Boy Scouts had sold her, and wanted them tested for cyanide because she thought someone was trying to poison her. I would be more afraid of those oranges than these peaches. However being from a state that grows peaches, I am inclined to continue any boycott or whatever is going on in order to make my former home state money! I'm also going to say with 100% certainty that people who eat these peaches will die one day! It's an unpleasant fact!

DinoFett

#59

DinoFett said:

News coverage of all those involved with Nintendo needs to continue on this site. I enjoy articles such as this as it reminds me of coverage on the Kotaku and Rocket News 24 sites.

Nintendo-64

#60

Nintendo-64 said:

He is playing with the lifes of many people when he is doing promotion for fruits which come from a radiated area where many children have first anomalies caused by the radiation. (Lymph nodes)
And you have to remind your self that the testing and controlling is maintained by the japanese government which is well known to be corrupt.
Do you really belive that those people who denied any problems for a long time and then became finally the ownder of TEPCO do really say the truth about that matter where so much money is involved!?! I just want to remind you of the so called ,,Atomic Village,, which is lobbying and even controll the government (is proven by former prime Minister Naoto Kan who was disgusted by their tactics and the pressure they put on him so he became an opponent to the ,,Atomic Village,, lobby and nuclear energy as a whole)

DiscoGentleman

#62

DiscoGentleman said:

There's nothing wrong with what he wrote, but I do agree with the skeptics that Fukushima's produce is probably not safe. Japan hasn't been able to keep the situation under control, and has been transporting land from Fukushima filled with too much radiation to other places in Japan. This is just a cover-up. There are many Japanese farmers who are outraged at the Japanese government.

Anyway, it's a way bigger issue than the backlash on this guy.

Mega719

#63

Mega719 said:

So the guy can't have a life? And Mother 3 was already said to be the final installment, move on people

AVahne

#64

AVahne said:

Poor guy just wanted to show off his peaches, what's wrong with that?

metalbumblebee

#65

metalbumblebee said:

Mother 3 had a theme of big cities and governments destroying small peaceful towns. Itoi had always been a supporter of this kind of thing. Farmers working hard to produce a quality product and make a living.
If you're against this inform the public and boycott the product, don't shoot the messenger.
Also, why does the mother series need more games? The three it has are great.

Xiao_Pai

#66

Xiao_Pai said:

People need to grow up, he said he's done with Mother. Let him do whatever...

Dr_Corndog

#69

Dr_Corndog said:

Come to America, Mr. Itoi, where you can promote preventative health and then yelled at for causing autism.

ogo79

#70

ogo79 said:

"several users wished he would spend his time doing other things, such as 'making a new Earthbound game."
the problem with the majority of earthbound fans is they are too sensitive and selfish. they try to push this guy to live the life they want him to live. the earthbound fans even try to do it to people that are making fan games.
anything this guy does the fans are just like "oh thats great, wheres our new earthbound game?" if he never makes another mother game im fine with that, ive still got all 3 games on cart. itoi doesnt owe you people anything. earthbound fans are big dreamers.

DarkKirby

#71

DarkKirby said:

Dude like his peaches leave him alone.

At least he's not accusing the gaming industry and gamers of being sexist, misogynistic pigs like SOME developers.

Manaphy2007

#72

Manaphy2007 said:

@DonSerrot i agree, what he is saying is to try something that has passed the FDA or something similar and he like peaches, me too, they are delicious but so is any other fruit i tried.

SMW

#73

SMW said:

If Itoi is promoting peaches, they must be very good peaches and I must get my hands on some of them. That is all.

Millons of peaches. Peaches for me.
Millions of peaches. Peaches for free.

WinterWarm

#74

WinterWarm said:

What the... Crazy Japan.

Who gives a crap? How the hell did this become a heated debate?

SneakyStyle

#75

SneakyStyle said:

This is what happens when the majority of people have nothing to bish about, they find trivial small things and pretend to be mad at it to feel as if they have purpose... lol

Sooo lame.

KeeperBvK

#76

KeeperBvK said:

@DonSerrot Is your post meant seriously? "If they are deemed safe then they are safe"? Wow, I don't even know what to say against such massive naivity. Especially considering the Fukushima accident there have been SO many lies from official sides.

KeeperBvK

#77

KeeperBvK said:

@WinterWarm Why wouldn't this make for a heated debate? How the hell can somebody honestly ask why anybody should give a "crap"? How about if a state in the country you live in was polluted by massiva radiation? So you wouldn't care about the fresh produce coming from that region? Or about the people trying to make a living there? Or about official information contradicting other official information?

WinterWarm

#78

WinterWarm said:

@KeeperBvK

OK

1. Take a chill pill.

2. I'm not saying it's not a issue, I'm just surprised people are getting so upset that this civilian is sharing his view on the matter. It's not like any people were totally convinced by this one guy.

Also, of course I would have stronger opinions if this happened in America, but all this guy is doing is trying to help out the regional farmers, and personally I don't see how anyone can be mad at him for that.

My surprise was not at people caring about the safety of the produce, but rather the feeling directed toward this ONE individual for simply showing his support.

I'm not asking how the whole topic is a debate, just this one event.

Henmii

#80

Henmii said:

I don't think he meant anything bad with it. But we know how the internet works.

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