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RCA Pokémon Scholars Explore Japan

As part of winning the inaugural Pokémon Scholarship, Fashion Menswear student Marie Isacsson and Intelligent Mobility student Ye Han were given the opportunity to travel to Japan to visit the Pokémon Studios.

The Pokémon Company organised the five-day trip introducing the scholars into Japanese culture, art and design including seeing the Pokémon Go Festival, dining at a secret underground bar and visiting Nissan Gallery Global Headquarters.   

Read more below to find out about their adventures and of course, their favourite Pokémon.


Marie Isacsson
Fashion Menswear

Top three moments?

  1. Presenting our work to the CEO and founder of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara. It was truly an honor! 

  2. We got to meet some incredible people like: RCA alumna Shiho Fukuhara (MA Interaction Design, 2003); Kinya Tagawa (Innovation Design Engineering, 2001); GameFreak producer and director Junichi Masuda and graphic designer and art director for Pokémon video games, James Turner.

  3. We had a really fun evening at the secret restaurant ‘84’ with employees of The Pokémon Company! We also got to pick out a Pokémon shirt from 151 different character prints from the first generation Pokémons, and being a fashion student, I couldn’t help but fall completely in love with the prints, which are all amazing.

Ye and Marie at '84'.
Pokémon Scholars, Ye Han and Marie Isacsson at '84'.

What I learnt and will apply to my studies? 

We had invaluable discussions with so many inspiring people during our visit, which gave many new insights and perspectives to apply to my own work and to broaden the context of it being even bolder. One thing I really took away from the trip is seeing how The Pokémon Company has balanced staying true to their core values and breaking new ground in various fields to reach out to such broad and loyal audience. 

Favourite Pokemon character? And why?

My new favorite Pokémon is Mimikyu because the story behind the character really touched me. As a result  of his ‘terrifying’ appearance, other Pokémons don’t want to get close to him, he is the loneliest Pokémon. He tries to make friends by disguising himself to look like the most popular Pokémon of them all, Pikachu, which is why he is wearing a Pikachu-like costume. 


Ye and Marie, Pokemon scholars
Ye and Marie, Pokemon scholars
Ye Han
Intelligent Mobility

 Top three moments?

  1. As with Marie, a highlight was meeting The Pokémon Company president,  Tsunekazu Ishihara. 

  2. We were invited to attend the Pokémon Go Fest where trainers all over the world congregate in Yokohama’s parks to explore new habitats in the game. I was so impressed to see everyone’s enthusiasm for Pokémon. At night we saw the ‘Pikachu Outbreak’ performance where dozens of dancing Pikachu put on a great performance, the energy and stage production were amazing.

  3. Another highlight was meeting with GameFreak. Director and Producer of Pokémon Game Series, Junichi Masuda Art Director, James Turner offered us some very important insights into the game production process and game design thinking. 

What I learnt and will apply to my studies?

  1. Important storytelling principles. Currently, there are more than 800 Pokémon and the creators put great effort into assimilating Pokémon into daily life, giving Pokémon believable traits and composing simple yet lovely narratives. I think the idea is that once a narrative is created with enough details and supported by high quality products, no one would question the initial narrative. Basically, nobody questions why should Pokémon exist, since the meaning of such doubt is pointless in the face of the epitome of cuteness.

  2. Aesthetic and culture. I went to Nissan Gallery and Toyota MegaWeb, both are very informative and interactive exhibitions of each brand’s newest design concept and technology. Looking at 1:1 size model is absolutely important for anyone who wants to learn car design.

Favourite Pokemon character?

Ditto, a shape-shifting Pokémon that can imitate every other Pokémon. There’s one Ditto that is not very good at imitating but apart from that all the Pokémon that it pretends to be has a Ditto face ( • v • ) which is hilarious.

 Marie and Ye meeting the team.