I think we should start 2021 with a weird curiosity, don’t you?
I’ve been reading the excellent book Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination by Anne Allison (2006), which has two chapters on Pokémon (and one on tamagotchi, arguably Pokémon’s immediate spiritual predecessor). In discussing Pokémon’s place within modern Japanese history and culture, Allison cites a very early Pokémon strategy guide, published in Japanese in 1996 (and never in English, as far as I know) and titled simply ポケットモンスター図鑑 (poketto monsutā zukan, or “Pocket Monster Illustrated Guide”). This book has all the things you’d normally expect of a strategy guide, like game maps and encounter tables, but also has some developer interviews and a short section on the history of the Pokémon world. I haven’t laid hands on a copy of this book myself, nor would I be confident enough in my Japanese to translate it myself, but Allison’s summary certainly includes some points that Pokémon fans today might find… eyebrow-raising.Continue reading “Pokémon Studies in 18th Century France”