Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 6th, 2011 | Itoi, Uncommon Knowledge

The wonder-translator Chewy suddenly appeared with some more interesting stuff for EarthBound fans!

A lot of people outside of Japan think Shigesato Itoi is a novelist, but he is/was mostly just a copywriter. One of the most famous Japanese copywriters, at that. Luckily, Chewy has researched the subject and written a nice article about Itoi and his history as a copywriter, which you can read here.

Nowadays he mostly just manages his company/site – like Chewy explains in her article, the golden era of Japanese copywriting is long over. The MOTHER/EarthBound games were mostly just like a side project during his career, video games were never the main focus of his work but more of a path along his work. Anyway, hopefully this article will help explain what it is he used to do that made him so famous!

 

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14 Comments to Shigesato Itoi’s Copywriting


Omnitarian said on Feb. 6, 2011

“Read with your fists. Read with your boobs.”

Truly, the words of a master.

Dark Jaguar said on Feb. 6, 2011

So he really doesn’t consider himself a copywriter any more huh? I see. Interesting that tag lines had “rock stars” in Japan. In the US we had a lot of famous tag lines in the 80’s but they never got attributed to anyone. I wonder who wrote “Where’s the beef?” or “Milk: Does a body good”? On a gaming related note, I’d also like to find out who’s responsible for “Now you’re playing with power”, though really the best tag line from gaming to me is still “Have you played Atari today?”.

I love the tag lines for Mother and Mother 3, but I just don’t really get Mother 2’s “Adults, children, and even older sisters.”. It’s the “even older sisters” part that confuses, because it comes off sexist more than funny. Perhaps someone could explain what the joke’s supposed to be?

Anyway, I love those Ghibli movie tag lines. “I’m going on a trip with me” is the winner. It’s so well written. Honestly I can see a lot of those translated smoothly enough to be used as the American tag lines too.

Tasteful Life seems to be his most famous tag line. I actually remember jokes in the US during the 80’s about Woody Allen doing advertising in Japan, though most of it focused more on his scandal than exactly what the campaign was about.

Dark Jaguar said on Feb. 6, 2011

On another note, if he ever got interviewed by Colbert, he should write a timeless classic of a tag line for The Colbert Report. Something like, I dunno, “Done with sense”.

Satsy said on Feb. 6, 2011

Dark Jaguar: Its because his sister stopped playing games and he wanted to make a game she’d be able to get into again. It isn’t so much a joke as it is a family message.

Z-Master said on Feb. 6, 2011

It’s amazing to think that he became famous only with copywriting. But I do think that he was seen a lot on TV wasn’t he ?

liarxagerate said on Feb. 6, 2011

“Older sister” isn’t sexist, it’s evocative of a group of people that historically didn’t play videogames. If you’re younger-brother, older sister is the kind of person who doesn’t get why you’re hanging out in front of an electronics store for two days to pick up the new Dragon Quest game.

Now, of course, older-sister is the demographic that video games are chasing harder than anybody else.

As for this article, I can personally confirm that Chewy has been working on this article forever, and I’m impressed with the end result.

Onion said on Feb. 6, 2011

Really, really great article Chewy!

Dark Jaguar said on Feb. 7, 2011

Satsy:
Is that true? If so it changes my opinion of that pretty strongly. A very personal message as an advertising tag line? That’s pretty clever.

Mato said on Feb. 7, 2011

Yep, it’s true.

steinmitz said on Feb. 7, 2011

The name of Ness’s club in Earthbound , ” We’ll laugh about it tomorrow ” , almost sounds like one of Itoi’s slogans . I was wondering if the English translation of that is the same or similar to what it was in Japanese ?

Mr. Tenda said on Feb. 8, 2011

This reminds me, I recall there being some kind of Studio Ghibli DVD bonus or documentary or something about Itoi’s copywriting that would probably go well with this article. I remember them talking about how he came up with “Live” for Princess Mononoke. Dunno if I saw the video on here or on an actual DVD or on youtube or what though.

Mato said on Feb. 8, 2011
Jason said on Feb. 8, 2011

I wonder if Itoi racking his brain over Princess Mononoke had any influence on Mother 3.

About “older sisters” I don’t know Japanese but I’ve always thought it should be translated as “big sisters” because older sister is a literal description while big sister is a concept or an archetype. Big sisters don’t get why little brothers and their friends spend so much time with their games, or get so excited when the beat “a boss” (do games still have “bosses”?) or why they throw the controller at the tv when they die for the nth time. I’m not sure if this sibling dynamic still exists.

Anonymous said on Mar. 14, 2012

Stateside, no one would ever get famous for being a copywriter.


 
 

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