The claim that Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri is autistic has been swirling for years at this point, to the point where it's generally accepted as fact among fans of the franchise. More specifically, Tajiri is claimed to have Asperger Syndrome, a neurodevelopment disorder that's typically characterised by difficulties with social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests.
The latter characteristic has often been cited as the driving force behind the creation of Pokémon, which Tajiri has stated blossomed from his obsession with collection bugs in his youth.
Yet according to the popular YouTube channel DidYouKnowGaming, the claim has never been supported with any substantial evidence. In fact, the video (above) states that every known claim was either unsourced entirely or judged to be rather dubious.
The channel is so confident in its debunk of this widely-held belief that they are even willing to part with $350 if someone can "debunk their debunk".
One of the main sources for the original claim comes from a 2009 biography titled 'Satoshi Tajiri, Pokémon Creator', authored by Lori Mortensen. When DidYouKnowGaming reached out to the author, she stated that her source at the time was a now-defunct MySpace page for Tajiri that clearly made reference to the 'Aspie' community. However, the book's publisher chose to leave the source out of the final product as they felt that MySpace was inappropriate for younger readers. As such, when Mortensen checked the MySpace page a few years later, it no longer mentioned anything relating to Asperger Syndrome.
It can be assumed, then, that the original MySpace page could have been created by someone else, with Mortensen stating that she would handle the research and documentation differently were she to write the book today. DidYouKnowGaming even managed to grab a few remaining tidbits from the original MySpace page, and its content goes even further to casting doubts on its legitimacy; the favourite movies section, for example, states "I love movies but my favourite kind are of course the Pokémon ones my own creation because I'm cool like that".
It's well worth watching the full video above for a further deep dive into the subject. DidYouKnowGaming reached out to us to acknowledge the huge number of Pokémon fans with autism and specifically state that "this investigation wasn't meant as a slight in any way, but just to clear up misinformation that's been spreading for well over a decade".
"It's possible Tajiri is autistic, but if that's the case, it appears he'd like to keep it private. Regardless, in light of these longstanding rumors, we thought it was proper to point out that no record exists of him ever saying he is."
I’ve never heard that rumor before in my life, glad to know information is being properly checked though.
Saw this video a few days back. I didn't know about the Tajiri rumor, or the Professor Ivy one, but then again I never saw the Orange Islands arc.
I confess I, too, thought Ditto was a Pokemon created from failed attempts at cloning Mew. I don't know, felt like such a cool bit of lore from the early days of the franchise, where anything was possible before it became so tightly controlled.
Removed - offensive remarks
The term @daniel36 used is commonly used by autistic people and parents of autistic people. Atleast where I live. Googling it doesn’t show it’s offensive either but I might not be aware of it being offensive in the US or UK. (Speaking as someone with autism)
On the other hand it’s a term that makes me personally uncomfortable so who am I to say this.
Somehow I knew this was gonna happen but let me say, as an autistic person AND a parent to an autistic child, nothing I said was derogatory.
Though I do apologize for making you feel unco.fortable @darkswabber
I'm going to start ending all my sentenses with "because I'm cool like that" becuase I'm cool like that.
Genuinely have never heard that rumour before this article. Good for him I suppose?
As a kid I remember hearing this rumor. It used to feel good to believe it being a pokemon fan with Asperger's myself.
IDK what the term was, but even the US and UK have words that are offensive in one, but not the other when discussing conditions like Autism. A famous example led to Mario Party being recalled in the UK.
@Daniel36 don’t apologize, it’s not offensive to me. The discomfort comes from the word feeling “cringe” like they say these days.
@NIN10DOXD Well we are not to discuss moderation and it also doesn't matter, but to me personally it was simply an abbreviation of sorts.
Didn't know about that Mario Party thing, cool bit of history.
@darkswabber Thanks bud. It is a bit cringe, I guess. I just didn't feel like typing it all out.
I mean, as an autistic person I lost it when I first heard the rumor, I was so excited! But regardless of whether he is or not, his legacy is unquestionable, and I and countless others will always be eternally grateful for him.
Plus, seems like he'd probably just Mark Hamill it and be all cool. "Oh you see that in me? Awesome!" ☺️
Genuinely never heard this before in my life! Feels like quite a niche rumour to try and debunk 😅
Whether he's autistic or not he's had such an impact on my life. I'm not autistic but I do suffer from Bipolar Disorder and on many occasions I've used Pokèmon as a coping mechanism when I'm going through a low period.
Yeah I thought it could have been the case too, just because of how private an individual he is compared to Nintendo's other series creators.
Like In most Pokemon Direct videos they tend to have Ishihara quite prominently, and in new game reveals Masuda in the way you'd expect from Aonuma, Miyamoto,etc.
To the point I'd not be surprised of some younger people and children might think Ishihara or even Masuda created Pokemon. Because you never really see or hear from Tajiri.
I've heard of the rumors but never really gave it much thought. Regardless if he has autism or not, he's one of the best contributor in the history of gaming. He doesn't have much public appearances yet his work is so well known which says a lot about the passion he gave for Pokémon
I saw this in my yt home and I specifically avoided clicking it because of Professor Ivy, seemed like poor clickbait.
Removed - offensive remarks
@abdias please don’t call autism a disease.
It’s a mental disorder (no offense) and that’s something most people already don’t like to hear. But don’t call it a disease.
I haven't heard of Tajiri since the anime finished the Johto adventures. What does he do today? Is he still at Pokémon? Does he have some social channel? I would like to know about him. Satoshi Tajiri is some kind of a hero to me as I remember him like that from my childhood.
I have never heard this rumor
This is all wrong. On How To With John Wilson he interviewed a guy who claimed that Pokemon was ripped off from drawings he had made years earlier but never publicized.
People with Aspbergers typically are very creative and detail-attentative people, so of course when it comes to being a game developer or designer, I'd imagine they can make some pretty cool stuff.
My dad, who is on the spectrum and is obsessed with Pokémon, told me about this rumor at some point, which he accepts as fact. He seemed pretty excited to have something significant in common with the creator of his favorite game series, so I think I'll keep this knowledge to myself.
It seems plausible enough that Tajiri is somewhere on the spectrum, but I respect the man's privacy not to want to know more.
gonnna join in the unwashed masses saying they'd never heard this rumor before, and i was a huge vg trivia/rumor junkie as a kid. who knew!
Curiously enough, I also came to the same conclusion that the Aspergers claim was fake a couple years ago, as I wrote a paper for my Media course at university about the creation and success of Red & Green. I’d remembered hearing that Tajiri had Aspergers, but I literally could not find any reliable source for that information anywhere, so I ultimately left it out of my work. Of course I didn’t get so far as tracking it down to a MySpace page, so really interesting to know that there’s a good chance that that’s where this misinformation all probably originated from.
I'd be hesitant to take seriously a bebumking video that also uses female anatomy as click bait.
Definitely agree! Where is he!? He's executive producer on everything Pokemon yet I can't see him past an interview around 2004. So strange when Pokemon is so big and there are video updates
Why should I believe some random video over all the other websites and books to say he's Autistic. Furthermore they provided no proof his MySpace was fake.
It's pretty nasty that people are speculating about a persons private medical issues. It doesn't matter either way.
@zachchat it kinda does matter though. It’s weird and extremely rude to spread someone’s medical information or just baselessly claim something like this. Completely unacceptable behavior.
Much like a lot of the other comments, I've literally never heard that rumor before in my life. So ... can it really be considered a rumor if no one was saying it?
@Ocaz i agree i meant that it doesn't matter if he is or isn't it's not anyone's business
@zachchat that's exactly the point I was making. It shouldn't be spread especially if it's false.
Also, this was the first time I heard about Asperger's. But all the media in my country have always presented his form of autism as a fact. I had no reason to doubt it. It is very sad if that is the false accusation. No wonder that Tajiri does not want to be seen. This might have a huge impact on his personal life.
No one can prove or disprove it, but the characteristics are certainly there.
I love ass burgers. Trust me
@Hck That was the best part of the entire video xD
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