The Man Who Inspired Snorlax

Photo: The Pokemon Company, Image: Conekuriya, Niantic

One of the most beloved Pokémon is Snorlax. Meet the man who inspired the character.

In a recent interview with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri, Pokémon art director Ken Sugimori confirmed that planner Koji Nishino served as the model for Snorlax.

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Nishino has worked on the series since Red and Green.

Previously, it seems, that it wasn’t 100 percent clear the character was based on the game developer.

“(Nishino), with this (huge) appearance, was the model for the Snorlax Pokémon,” Sugimori was quoted as saying. “Though, he’s abnormally fussy about cute things.”

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Prior to this official confirmation, there was an image of Nishino circulating online (above) with a quote from him reading, “Snorlax is like my kid.”

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In Japanese, Snorlax is called “Kabigon,” which, according to Pokémon urban legend, was Nishino’s nickname. The reason is that “kabi” (カビ)means “mold,” and apparently, Nishino would even eat food that had gone moldy.

Photo: The Pokemon Company, Image: Bulbapedia, Game Freak
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He really looks like Snorlax.

Image: Gamy, Niantic, Photo: The Pokemon Company
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Or, better yet, Snorlax really looks like Nishino.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.