Skip to content

Satoru Iwata and Shigesato Itoi Discuss MOTHER 2 Before Virtual Console Release


Shigesato Itoi recently sat down with Satoru Iwata to share a discussion in commemoration of the MOTHER 2 release on the Japanese WiiU Virtual Console. Iwata did most of the talking, and former Weekly Famitsu editor and current Hobonichi employee (and token MOTHER 2 guy in the office) Yasuhiro Nagata headed the interview.

KameDaniRyuu has translated the three-part interview and posted it online. You can find the translated interview here and the original Japanese page here.

Satoru Iwata and Shigesato Itoi Discuss Connections between MOTHER 2 and Animal Crossing

Shigesato Itoi’s Hobonichi office has a tradition of celebrating the release of every Animal Crossing game by turning office-wide gameplay into an actual work project. (Jealous yet?) Almost every person in the office participates and keeps a blog of their town and experiences. You can read each person’s blog by clicking on their picture. (For those of you who for whatever strange reason can’t pick out Itoi’s face, his AC blog is here.)

In conjunction with this tradition, Iwata and two members of Nintendo’s EAD visited Itoi’s office last month to hold a group discussion about Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS a few days before the game’s release.

Near the end of the discussion, Iwata brings up MOTHER 2 and reveals some interesting insight about his work on the game:

Itoi: It’d be great for people who have never played the series to play this game. It’s—well, it’s a game that doesn’t have many struggles to it. It’s just filled with wonderful things.

Iwata: “Adults, children, and even your older sister.”

Itoi: Yeah. (laughs)

Iwata: This is kind of a personal thing, but when we made MOTHER 2 and you wrote the phrase “Adults, children, and even your older sister”… if you hadn’t been focusing on that idea, I don’t think I would have ever announced Nintendo’s intentions to expand the gaming population [when I took over as president]. So that slogan of yours turned out to be critical advice for me.

Itoi: And that sense of “Adults, children, and even your older sister” is quite clear in Animal Crossing.

It’s really heartwarming to see the MOTHER series have enough of an effect on people to influence the direction of Nintendo as a company.

You can find the original Japanese article here.

Kanji is Fun, and Ninjas are Sympathetic

I went to a Christmas event recently where there was a gingerbread town on display. One of the gingerbread houses immediately stood out to me–it was a really well-made Japanese dojo, complete with koi pond, rock garden, and ninjas practicing with Pocky!

Whenever I read kanji, the English meaning comes to mind faster than the Japanese reading does, so when I read the kanji they’d drawn onto the piece, something seemed off.

Then I realized, once the Japanese reading hit me, that they’d come across a homonym and, unfortunately, used the wrong “dojo.”

Today’s Japanese vocabulary lesson: sympathy. Reading: dōjō. Kanji: 同情

Click for learning.

Also featured at the event was a Lucky Cat themed tree. It was awesome! (And the golden cat’s arm moved!) I love seeing Japanese stuff in America, it makes me feel like there’s a lot of love between our countries and that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside ♪


Hobonichi’s plainspoken new haramaki: “I am wearing this.”

Haramakis are  belly warmers, a Japanese wardrobe staple that was once tossed into the cultural bin of “underwear garments that only old people wear.” In 2001 Shigesato Itoi’s company reimagined them as cute apparel that you’re allowed (and encouraged) to wear over your clothes.

This year’s models have this very Itoi-sounding slogan:

Itoi probably didn’t write this, since it started out as English, but it fits inside his copy-closet like a glove. Last year I wrote up an extensive look at his copywriting work, if you want to see for yourself.

If you know a little Japanese you can order your own haramaki at the Hobonichi Store, along with other quirky keep-warm gear. I bought a haramaki a few years back and wear it under my sweater every winter; belly warmers really do work!

The limited edition Bouillon haramaki I snagged featured Itoi’s photogenic dog.

Update on Magazine Translations

Thanks to generous MOTHER fan Nabeneko-san, I’ve acquired magazine scans for a large handful of retro gaming magazines. These interviews with Itoi and other MOTHER staff were the bulk of my NaNoTraMo work, but I decided to wait on posting these until I managed to get images for the articles.

Lo and behold, after much scanning and organization, our Japanese hero sent me the files to accompany the translations. It will be time consuming, but I will now be able to slowly edit and upload all those magazine interviews I slaved over last fall. Apologies for the mysterious lack of follow-up.

To start it off, I’ve provided a special full-page article translated as-is for you to essentially read straight from the magazine. This is one of the earliest interviews for Earthbound 64, as it is the November 1996 issue of The 64Dream (significant because it was the first official issue of the magazine, and Earthbound 64 was supposed to be one of the first games available for the console). Even though the translation was already posted, the graphics are a lot of fun (or radical, should I say), so even if you had read the original text, I recommend skimming through it again because I also made some edits in the translation. I do not plan to continue full-page editing like this; I’ll cut out all the images and paste them into text posts as I had done previously.

Weekly Famitsu – September 16, 1994

This week’s issue covers the MOTHER 2 Pre-release Party attended by all staff involved in the game. This time the article is not an interview, but a description of the event.

Read more…

Weekly Famitsu – September 9, 1994

This week’s issue introduces the MOTHER 2 Times: a weekly section in the magazine that ran for eight consecutive weeks. Its main feature was the walkthrough, but also included such things as interviews, comics, and behind-the-scenes peeks. I don’t plan on including the game walkthroughs, but I’ll continue to post any particularly interesting sections.

This week’s issue highlights an interview with the two main programmers for MOTHER 2, Kouji Malta from APE and Satoru Iwata from HAL.

EDIT 2/14/2012: I’ve fixed a mistranslation about “freedom”, which refers to post-programming putzing, not post-ending gameplay (see left of Iwata’s photo). A big thank you to Ice Sage for pointing it out!

Read more…