Shigesato Itoi

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Shigesato Itoi
Shigesato Itoi, 2015
Company: Hobonichi
Location: Japan
Social Media:

Shigesato Itoi (糸井 重里 Itoi Shigesato, born November 10, 1948) is a Japanese copywriter, essayist, lyricist, game designer, and actor. Itoi is the editor-in-chief of his website and company Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (‘Almost Daily Itoi News').[1] He is best known outside Japan for his work on Nintendo's Mother (video game series) series of games, as well as his self-titled bass fishing video game Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1.


During the 1980s Itoi established the profession of writing copy for advertisements among the general public in Japan. Later Itoi branched into writing essays, lyrics, and into designing video games. He is best known in the US for Nintendo's EarthBound (MOTHER 2), released in 1994 in Japan and in 1995 in North America (as EarthBound).

In 1997, Itoi began using the Internet and bought his first Macintosh. In 1998 he started the website and company Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (“Almost Daily Itoi News”),[1] which is the center of his activity today. Under the theme of “creating good mood”, the website has been updated every day for the past 15 years,[2] with Itoi’s essays on lifestyle, interviews and articles, and merchandise sales. He talks about his dog, Bouillon, and his interviews with artists, craftsmen, businessmen, etc., which tend to center on philosophical issues. Itoi has 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.

His latest book, Atama no naka ni aru kouen ("A park in your mind"), is the fourth anthology issue of writings collected from the 'Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun'. "Hobo Nichi" (as it is called) provides its articles for free without any advertisement on the website. Merchandising of original lifestyle goods and publishing are the main business. The Hobonichi Day Planner, selling 342,000 units, is Japan’s best-seller in the category. Other products include T-shirts, towels, “haramaki” (belly warmers), calendars, and pottery.

Itoi co-authored a collection of short stories titled Yume de aimashou ("Let's meet in a dream") with writer Haruki Murakami.


He has voiced Satsuki's father, Tatsuo Kusakabe, in the Japanese version of the 1988 Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. He has been a judge on several episodes of the Japanese television shows Iron Chef and Hey! Spring of Trivia. Itoi made his acting debut in 2010, when he played the role of a professor in the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood].

Video games[edit]

Shigesato Itoi was the creator of the EarthBound (series)|Mother series. In Mother, he was lead designer, writer and director; on Earthbound, Itoi was producer, director and writer while in Mother 3, Itoi was the writer of the story.

Itoi claims that the final battle of EarthBound was inspired from his accidental childhood viewing of the Shintoho film titled The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty. Specifically, the scene that inspired the battle was a scene depicting a woman being murdered. [1][3]

Itoi has repeatedly explained that he would not be involved in a fourth title of the series.[4] Itoi’s works has had a impact on other games and other media, including Undertale[5], Lisa:The Painful[6], Yume Nikki|Yume Nikki[7], Homestuck and others.

Other ventures[edit]

Shigesato Itoi worked with Nintendo to design video game-themed haramaki clothing items.[8]

Itoi launched a photo creation tool called "Dokonoko", which is designed specifically to be used with pets. It has been described as an "Instagram for pets".[9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Itoi was born on November 10, 1948 and raised in Maebashi, Gunma.[11] He was a heavy smoker until he quit in 2002.[12] Itoi has been married to actress Kanako Higuchi since 1993.



External links[edit]