BOOKS / 出版物

The Lure of Pokémon

The Lure of Pokémon

Video Games and the Savage Mind

Nakazawa Shinichi
Translated by Ted Mack

Published Titles / Culture


Published by JPIC | ISBN 978-4-86658-065-4 (Hardcover) | 132 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2019

About the Book

Video games are often thought to draw children out of nature and into isolated, closed spaces. In The Lure of Pokémon: Video Games and the Savage Mind, however, Nakazawa Shinichi shows how the Pokémon series of video games, far from standing in opposition to nature, actually seeks to represent the true, hidden essence of the natural world.

From humble beginnings as a video game launched in the mid-90s, Pokémon has become a global entertainment franchise, even reaching into the real world with “augmented reality” via the mobile game Pokémon Go. Nakazawa argues that the Pokémon worldview is the best contemporary example of Lévi-Strauss’s “savage mind” (la pensée sauvage).

As the natural environment is transformed around them, the author suggests, children that would once have directly observed and explored nature encounter it through technology instead. Contemporary games and other narratives can often be viewed as attempts to reconnect the human unconscious with nature, undoing the separation effected by the scientific, rational thought of Western modernity.

Nakazawa also shows how games like Pokémon recreate deep-rooted social patterns. When characters capture monsters, carry them around in “Poké Balls,” and swap them with other characters, they are part of a tradition in which trade is more than just the exchange of goods. Barter is a much more profound form of communication in which each participant also receives part of the other.

The author supports his argument through close analysis of the history and even prehistory of video games in Japanese culture. Drawing on mythology, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and other resources, he explores cultural touchstones like Space Invaders, Ultraman, and the RPG as a genre, showing how their rich, direct expression appeals directly to the urges and impulses within children themselves, helping them come to terms with their place in the world.

The Lure of Pokémon: Video Games and the Savage Mind is both a work of game criticism revealing la pensée sauvage within today’s video games and an examination of Japanese culture as the context from which the Pokémon phenomenon was born.

About the Author


Nakazawa Shinichi, born in Yamanashi in 1950, is an anthropologist and philosopher and currently directs the Institut pour la Science Sauvage at Meiji University, Tokyo. Since his bestselling debut Tibetto no Mōtsaruto [Mozart in Tibet], based on his own experiences studying Buddhism in Tibet, he has written dozens of books exploring the relevance of non-modern thought to contemporary life. Recent works include the Āsu daibā [Earth Diver] series, Mori no barokku [Forest of Baroque], and Kumagusu no hoshi no jikan [Kumagusu’s Shining Moment].


子どもたちの「野生の思考」は、電子ゲームの世界にこそ息づいている――。大ヒット作「ポケットモンスター」の分析により、現代人の無意識と野生に迫ったゲーム批評の金字塔。本英語版は、2004年に新潮文庫から刊行された『ポケットの中の野生 ポケモンと子ども』を改題のうえ加筆修正した角川新書版を底本とし、さらに書下ろし論文「ポケモンGOあるいは良き歩行者の夢想」と、カルト的人気を誇るビデオゲーム「ゼビウス」にかんする論考「ゲームフリークはバグと戯れる」を収録したものです。



1950年生まれ。東京大学大学院人文科学研究科博士課程満期退学。現在、明治大学野生の科学研究所所長。思想家。著書に『チベットのモーツァルト』(サ ントリー学芸賞)、『森のバロック』(読売文学賞)、『哲学の東北』(斎藤緑雨賞)、『フィロソフィア・ヤポニカ』(伊藤整文学賞)など多数。




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Original Japanese Version / 原書情報

ポケモンの神話学 新版 ポケットの中の野生

ポケモンの神話学 新版 ポケットの中の野生

中沢新一 著