Pokémon Company Squashes Twitter Rumor of Creator's Death [Update]

A spokesman for the Pokémon Company said all employees, including Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri, are alive and safe following Thursday's tremendous earthquake in Japan, specifically rebutting a widespread rumor that Tajiri had died in the disaster.

"False. Everyone at the Pokemon Company and Gamefreak is fine," spokesman J.C. Smith told Kotaku. He said that power in Tokyo was an issue but everyone is safe and sound.

Kotaku's original report, edited to include the Pokemon Company's statement, follows:

Twitter seized upon a fast-spreading rumor that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon, died in the earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck northeastern Japan on Friday. The rumor, and its counterclaims, had no sources any more authoritative than where they originate: Twitter itself.

Kotaku contacted Nintendo for an official statement and was told Sunday by the Pokémon Company that Tajiri, and all employees, were safe and sound following the quake.

The rumor seemed to originate yesterday evening U.S. time from a single user, spreading quickly from there. Others on Twitter, such as PokeFacts, sought to debunk it, saying "Nintendo confirmed its fake."

That seems to reference this tweet from Nintendo of America's official account, which was a general statement that the company's Japanese headquarters and employees were not hurt in the quake. Nintendo's Japan headquarters are in Kyoto, some 300 miles from Sendai, the disaster scene. Another site claimed that Tajiri fainted from the sight of the destruction but is alive and well at his home in Tokyo.