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The Pokémon Company (株式会社ポケモン, Kabushiki gaisha Pokemon) is a Japanese company responsible for brand management, production, marketing and licensing of the Pokémon franchise, consisting of video game software, a trading card game, anime television series, films, manga, home entertainment products, merchandise, and other ventures.
It was established through a joint investment by the three businesses holding the copyright of Pokémon: Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. It began operating in 1998 and adopted the moniker Pokémon Ltd. in October 2000. The company is headquartered in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo.
In 1998, Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak established The Pokemon Center Company (ポケモンセンター株式会社, Pokemon Sentā Kabushiki gaisha) in order to effectively manage the Pokémon Center stores in Japan. After the popularity of Pokémon Gold and Silver, they received many merchandising proposals from around the world. Companies were interested in working with the Pokémon brand. At that time, Tsunekazu Ishihara of Creatures was the person in charge of approving licensed products. Because of the sheer volume of products, Ishihara thought it was too much work for one person to handle. At the same time, in order for the franchise to continue, Ishihara wished to further expand the franchise with long-term goals, such as continuing the anime series and releasing a movie every year. It was then decided that a new organization was needed in order to gather together all the strands of brand management.
This led the three companies to turn The Pokémon Center Company into The Pokémon Company and further expand its responsibilities and areas of business. According to Satoru Iwata, establishing The Pokémon Company was one of his first projects at Nintendo.
The United States branch (Pokémon USA, Inc.) opened in 2001 to handle licensing overseas. Nintendo Australia does some licensing and marketing of Pokémon products in Australia and New Zealand, as The Pokémon Company does not have an Australian branch.
Since 2001, nearly all Pokémon products have the company represented as "©Pokémon" in the copyright acknowledgments with the usual three of "©Nintendo", "©GAME FREAK inc." and "©Creatures Inc." The three companies also have ownership of all of the Pokémon-related trademarks in Japan while Nintendo is the sole owner of Pokémon-related trademarks in other countries. The video games, Pokémon Trading Card Game and licensed toys are still being made by third- and second-party companies such as Tomy.
In 2009, Pokémon USA and Pokémon UK merged to become The Pokémon Company International, which handles American and European Pokémon operations under the administration of Kenji Okubo. The company's offices in the United States are in Bellevue, Washington and its offices in the United Kingdom are in London. Some Australian operations are controlled by Nintendo Australia.
Pokémon Center Co., Ltd. was established in August 2011 to manage the Pokémon Center brand and stores in Japan. Its operations include running Pokémon Store and Pokémon Center stores, maintaining the Pokémon Stand vending machines and operating Pokémon Center Online, as well as overseeing the design and manufacture of Japanese Pokémon Center brand merchandise. Yomiomi Uego is President and CEO.
- Pokémon video game series, including:
- Pokémon Trading Card Game
- Pokémon Trading Figure Game