Creatures Inc., one of the co-owners of the Pokemon franchise, has come under first for vising a Japanese shrine associated with military aggression.
Creatures Inc. is best known for producing the Pokemon Trading Card Game, various Pokemon toys, and developing Pokemon related games like Detective Pikachu. The company also assists with modelling Pokemon for various games, including Pokemon Go, Pokken Tournament, and Super Smash Bros. Although Game Freak and Nintendo receive much of the credit for the Pokemon franchise, Creatures Inc. is a major part of the franchise's success, particularly with this year's Detective Pikachu movie on the way.
Earlier this week, Creatures Inc. came under fire when it tweeted that it visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan for its hatsumode. Hatsumode is the first Shinto shrine visit of the year and is part of Japanese New Years tradition. Many choose to visit a shrine close to their home or work for their hatsumode, and it seems that members of Creatures Inc. chose to visit Yasukuni Shrine, which is a ten minute walk from their office in Tokyo.
The Yasukuni Shrine commemorates over 2 million people who have died during various wars that includes Japanese involvement. The shrine lists the names, birthdates, origins, and places of death of both soldiers, civilians, and government officials. The Shrine is controversial as over 1,600 war criminals are also enshrined at Yasukuni, as are Chinese and Korean citizens who were forcibly conscripted by the Japanese army in World War II. While the shrine is still popular because of its ties to Japanese nationalism, the shrine is typically avoided by public figures, and visits to the shrine by Japanese politicians is often a point of tension between the Japanese, South Korean, and Chinese governments.
Many Chinese and Korean fans are unhappy that Creatures Inc. tweeted about their visit to the shrine. Although the visit seemingly had no political motives, fans were upset by the Pokemon franchise getting dragged into a source of international controversy. Creatures Inc. eventually deleted their initial tweet after some fans called for a boycott.
Please apologize for visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.Yasukuni Shrine is a place to honor the war criminals of World War II.The fact that a global company called Pokemon went to a venue to honor war //t.co/GwzjOJp2Yo is like deceiving other war crimes victims, including Korea.— RHINT (@Clearwater00412) January 8, 2019
God fucking damn it why did Creatures inc have to post photos of them at Yasukuni shrine I ALREADY SUFFER ENOUGH AS IS DON'T FUCKING RUIN POKEMON FOR ME— DK aka 빨GANG이☭ (@RootGrasping) January 8, 2019
pkmn game developers visiting yasukuni shrine? you can't tell me these people do not know what the shrine stands for in this age...— Stefanie @ 여자들은 위로, 남자들은 get low (@niwatori_san) January 9, 2019
As mentioned above, Creatures Inc. removed their tweet and has yet to issue a public comment about the controversy.