LTRP Note: While this new booklet by Lois Putnam might not be of interest to everyone of our readers, we believe it is a vitally important tool for parents, grandparents, and teens who are trying to figure out whether Pokémon or Pokémon GO is OK or not from a spiritual standpoint.
NEW BOOKLET: A Christian Parent’s Guide to POKÉMON by Lois Putnam is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of A Christian Parent’s Guide to POKÉMON, click here.
By Lois Putnam
For Pokémon Go gamers, their “Gotta Mantra” is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”—Pokémon that is. However, a Christian’s motto must be: “Gotta Know, Gotta Learn, Gotta Discern, Gotta Go!” And just what it is that we as born again believers gotta know, gotta learn, gotta discern, and gotta go will be the theme of this booklet.
It was on July 6, 2016, via one’s smartphone, that players could download a free app and get set up to head outdoors to begin to catch Pokémon Pocket Monsters. Soon befuddled folks were bumping into gamers congregating at designated PokeStops be it at a church, a parking lot, a body of water, a library, a museum, a park, or the mall to name a few. Since this began, the Pokémon Go Mania has taken the country, and a number of other countries, by storm.
TV hosts, You Tube video makers, newspaper reporters, and online authors alike have scrambled to describe exactly how these frenzied gamers were zipping Pokémon balls on their phones to catch Pokémon seemingly popping up all over the place. Meantime, all kinds of safety issues were cropping up–kids in the middle of streets, folks walking into objects, a pair walking off a cliff, and even unsavory characters luring kids into unsafe places. All of this madness was taking place over one hundred and fifty-one little characters of which some seemed to be cute and clever, while others really are violent, ugly, and frightening. So with this in mind, what is it that we gotta know?
At the outset, we gotta know some basic Pokémon info—such as the game of Pokémon, designed by Satoshi Tajiri in the 1990s, is managed by the Pokémon Company which, according to Wikipedia, is a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. Tajiri designed these Pokémon characters so gamers known as “Pokémon Trainers could catch and train to battle each other for sport.”
Officially introduced in 1996, Pokémon celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2016. The new phenomenon Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game currently using the original Generation I Pokémon beginning with Bulbasaur to Mew. However, it’s important to know that now there are 722 Pokémon figures, which means in the last twenty years 571 more have been designed influencing youth and adults via video games, trading card games, comic books, TV shows, movies, and toys.1 Pokémon website, Pokémon.com, is filled with info you gotta know in order to be able to interact with Pokémon Goers! It includes a Pokedex, TV Programs, Trading Card Games, Video Games, A Shop, Attend Events, Pokémon GO and more! It even has a Trading Card Game Tutorial where one can learn to play the card game. Two sections: “The Pokedex,” and “Pokémon GO” are explained further below.2
If you visit the Pokémon site, you can get to know individual Pokémon—their pictures, statistics, types, strengths/weaknesses, evolution, T.V. episodes, and cards. Under Pokedex, one example of a Pokémon is Haunter. The description of him states:
Haunter is a dangerous Pokémon. If one beckons you while floating in darkness, you must never approach it. This Pokémon will try to lick you with its tongue and steal your life away.3
You will also learn that this gas ghost can “levitate.” Haunter’s card moves include tongue spring, hidden poison, psyshot, sleep poison, haunt, dream eater, Gothic fear, and hoodwink to name some. How gruesome! No doubt this Pokémon has given kids horrific nightmares!
On the Pokémon website, you can learn all about Pokémon Go. There are sections on “Pokémon Go Plus,” “Explore Pokémon,” “Teams and Gyms,” and “In App Purchases” where you can find out more game details. “Explore Pokémon” gives blow by blow info about how the game is played including safety, catching a Pokémon, completing one’s Pokedex, the traits of Pokémon, Pokémon evolution, and Pokémon eggs. Out of all this, one has “gotta know” that the goal of this game is: “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”—yes, almost all of the original 151 from the Kanto Region.
The Pokémon (Gotta Catch ‘Em All)—Deluxe Essential Handbook: The Need-to-Know Stats and Facts on Over 700 Pokémon is a useful tool to help grandparents, parents, family, and friends learn much more about Pokémon.
Published by Scholastic in 2015, this information-packed book with its glitzy golden title lettering and its shiny Pokémon pics begs one to open its cover.
But, before one opens the book, carefully look at the deceptive Pokémon ball-like pics on the cover. When you do, you’ll note most of the pics are happy and smiley, making the Pokémon appear as if they are just a bunch of cuddly stuffed animals. However, when you open the book, you’ll realize how alluring and deceptive the cover art is, for the Pokémon are anything but cuddly; rather they are often hideous and evil looking.
Title Page: The title page, done in Pokémon logo colors of deep blue, golden yellow, and white, has the Pokémon mantra “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” below the Pokémon logo. Then it once again restates the title, and lists the publisher Scholastic Inc.
Scholastic Books—the book club used by teachers all over the USA!
Welcome Page: In the Welcome Pages of the book, there is a two-page spread highlighting the red page on the left with the rainbow-horned fairy Xerneas sprinting onto the page, while on the right on the blue page there’s: Welcome to the World of Pokémon.” Below the welcome is listed the six Pokémon regions—Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos—each full of fascinating Pokémon.
This book also lists the Pokémon picture, type, species, height, and weight, which “can make all the difference in Gym battles, in the wild, and anywhere else you might meet Pokémon.”4 Besides, this deluxe handbook, it is said, will enable “Trainers” to master any Pokémon challenge.
How To Use This Book: This two-page section goes into detail about each Pokémon’s name, pronunciation, height and weight, description, evolution, mega evolution, type, and region. It is such info that one has “gotta know and learn” to equip oneself to answer anyone questioning whether this is “just an innocent game.” Along with Scripture, it is knowledge that one can use when a “Deuteronomy Moment” comes. For as Deuteronomy 6:6,7 reads:
And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Guide to Pokémon Types: The next pages explain the eighteen Pokémon types: fire, grass, water, normal, electric, bug, ghost, flying, fighting, psychic, steel, rock, ground, ice, poison, dark, dragon, and fairy. This ends the seven pages of explanatory notes, and begins the ABC pages which begin on page eight with “Abomasnow” to page four hundred and thirty-two which finishes with “Zygarde.” In between are seven hundred more Pokémon to scrutinize.
To Conclude: I would highly recommend purchasing this book as you can back up your stories and words with the Pokémon pictures and info thus adding weight to your warnings.
Gotta Notice the Names
Many Pokémon names* say “Watch out!”: Names such Abra-Psi Pokémon, Absol-Disaster Pokémon, Alakazam-Psi Pokémon, Arbok-Cobra Pokémon, Arceus-Alpha Pokémon, Beheeyem-Cerebral Pokémon, Carvanha-Savage Pokémon, Chandelure- Luring Pokémon, Cofagrigus-Coffin Pokémon, Darkrai-Pitch Black Pokémon, Darumaka-Zen-Charm Pokémon, Dialga-Temporal Pokémon, Dragonair-Dragon Pokémon, Drapion-Ogre Scorpion Pokémon, Eevee-Evolution Pokémon, Delphox-Fox Pokémon, Flylon-Mystic Pokémon, Gengar-Shadow Pokémon, Giratina-Renegade Pokémon, Gothitelle-Astral Body Pokémon, Gothorita-Manipulate Pokémon, Gourgeist-Pumpkin Pokémon, Gyarados-Atrocious Pokémon, Houndoom-Dark Pokémon, Hypno-Hypnosis Pokémon, Jynx-Human Shape Pokémon, Kirlia-Emotion Pokémon, Krookodile-Intimidation Pokémon, Lampent-Lamp Pokémon, Latias-Eon Pokémon , Lucario-Aura Pokémon, Manectric-Discharge Pokémon, Mawile-Deceiver Pokémon, Medicham- Meditate Pokémon, Mew-New Species Pokémon, Mewtwo-Genetic Pokémon, Mismagius- Magical Pokémon, Munna-Dream Eater Pokémon, Ninetales-Fox Pokémon, Riolu-Emanation Pokémon, Sigilyph-Avianoid Pokémon, Spiritomb-Forbidden Pokémon, Thunderdurus-Bolt Strike Pokémon, Uxie-Knowledge Pokémon, Xatu-Mystic Pokémon ,Yamask-Spirit Pokémon, Yvetal-Destruction Pokémon. These are but a few of many to watch out for!
Delphox, the Fire-Psychic Pokémon, is one name to notice! Its name has two parts which is a combo of the “Oracle of Delphi” and “fox.” However, even before I found that info, I used Thesaurus.com to find synonyms for psychic, occult, witch etc. Under occult, I noticed “Delphian,” and “Delphic.” I wondered if any Pokémon had a name similar to this, and sure enough there was the mystical Delphox. Looking up “Delphox” on Pokémon.wikia.com, I found this was a fox with the elements of a witch or mage. My Pokémon handbook further said it held a flaming branch in its hand upon which it focused its eyes giving it psychic visions helping it to see into the future. After reading about the “Oracle of Delphi,” Delphox’s story became even clearer. This then can be woven into the Acts 16 story that involves the Oracle at Delphi.5
*Note: Pokémon names were first written in Japanese and later changed into more suitable names for English-speaking gamers. Bulbapedia.com (“The community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia”) is a site that can provide much additional insight by clicking onto the “Origin” section. Bulbapedia.com, by the way, is named after Generation One’s first Pokémon Bulbasaur.6
Gotta Notice the Types, the Moves, and the Illustrations
Altogether, there are eighteen types, and oh, the evil behind these types. Words cannot even describe the things these characters are teaching innocent young children and youth. As I researched the game handbook, a good number of the 700+ Pokémon were “Psychic” with psychic terminology, moves, and stories.
The adjectives describing the game moves would make up one eye-opening glossary with most having absolutely horrendous names. Be sure to peruse “Possible Moves” in the handbook or on a Pokémon info site noting the viciousness of many and evilness of others. This activity alone—the noting of the descriptive names for each move—will surely enable one to discern that this game is literally overflowing with words, concepts, and teachings far removed from the Bible.
Pause and consider the possible moves for Banette, a ghost puppet-like Pokémon that, like a voodoo doll, sticks itself with pins to curse others! Its moves are: knock-off, screech, night shade, curse, spite, will-o-wisp, shadow sneak, feint attack, hex,* shadow ball, sucker punch, embargo, snatch, and grudge trick. Stop and imagine youngsters seven and up familiarizing themselves with such a character. Bulbapedia says, “Banette is a . . . doll-like Pokémon that is possessed with pure hatred.”
[*A hex is: to practice witchcraft; to put a hex on; and to affect as an evil spell: jinx. Synonyms are: charm, enchant, bewitch, overlook, spell, strike. Related words are: curse, jinx, possess, voodoo, attract, beguile, captivate, mesmerize, spellbind, entice, lure, seduce, tempt. (Merriam-Webster) Deuteronomy 18:10-14 makes it very clear what God thinks of those who use witchcraft or other practices named in this piece. It reads: “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or observer of times, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all these things are an abomination unto the Lord.”]
Another need-to-notice activity would be to flip through the book or scroll through a site with all of the Pokémon pics and simply notice the ferocious or scary looking parts of each character. Just a few pages into this, anyone with a smidgen of discernment would have to concede that these atrocious characters have no place in the life of a precious young child or teen. For Philippians 4:8 declares, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Gotta Know Pokémon Back Stories
Highlighted here are back stories about various types of Pokémon—stories one can easily recall to share with others who need to become aware of just how deceptive the Pokémon agenda is.
Some Third Eye Pokémon:
Dark: Absol: Disaster Pokémon: George Hutcheon, Bulbapedia contributor, shares that Absol is based on a “Bai Ze,” a creature from both China and Japan who warned good rulers of impending disaster. In Japan, images of the Bai Ze were made into “good luck charms” to ward off monsters and disease. Absol, says Hutcheon, resembles this monster with its dark horn, feline shape, and black oval third eye.*7
Ghost/Poison: Mega Gengar: Shadow Pokémon: Gengar is a “third eye” Pokémon with an oval yellow third eye on its forehead. Its “malicious,” says Bulbapedia, laughing at and delighting in its victim’s terror. It hides in the shadows hoping to attack its prey and enjoys casting curses. How horrible is this powerful mega Pokémon which has evolved from the evil Gengar with his sinister leer and giant teeth. Its “moves” include hypnosis, curses, night shade, sucker punch, dream eater, dark pulse, hex, and nightmare.
Steel/Psychic: Jirachi: Wish Pokémon: Jirachi is another Pokémon which has a hidden third-eye or “true eye” concealed within a seam. Its eye is said to absorb energy to aid in its hibernation. If awakened, it might grant your wish if you write it on one of its tags and sing to it with a pure voice.
The Psychic Third Eye Trading Card: The Trading Card Game has a supporter card labeled “The Psychic Third Eye.”8
[*A third eye is: “A point on the forehead corresponding to one of the chakras in yoga, often depicted as an eye and associated with enlightenment and mystical insight.” (Free Dictionary)]
Fighting/Steel: Lucario: Aura** Pokémon: Canine-like Lucario (evolved from Aura Pokémon Riolu) raises its four aura appendages to read and manipulate its opponents’ aura. Aura Sphere or “wave bomb” is its very special battle move. Mega Lucario becomes even more ferocious with additional spikes coming from its hands, feet, and shoulders. As its aura heightens, black patches appear on its body. It’s said too that it can activate crystallized Time Flowers by shooting out aura.
Ghost-Dragon: Giratina Original/Altered Forme: Renegade Pokémon: Dragonic, demonic appearing Giratina in either form was banished, the Pokémon handbook states, to another dimension where all is distorted and reversed. Like Lucario, Giratina battles with “Aura Sphere.”
Aura Guardians: In the Pokémon world, Aura Guardians sense aura and control its power.
Aura Capabilities: Bulbapedia lists aura capabilities as being able to read minds/actions of others, sense other auras, view through objects, project aura barriers, transfer aura to others, and activate Time Flowers.
[**An Aura (in Japanese means “wave-guiding”) is: an energy field that is held to emanate from a living being (Merriam-Webster) ]
Meditation Pokémon Trio:
Fighting-Psychic: Meditite: Meditate Pokémon: Meditite’s Japanese name is “Asanan” which comes from “asana,” a name for various yogic poses. It does such intense meditation it nearly starves itself never missing daily Yoga practice. This routine, says the handbook, intensifies its inner strength. Meditite also levitates. Pics of Meditite can be found sitting in a lotus position with each hand fixed in a mudra.
Fighting-Psychic: Medicham and Mega Medicham: Medicham meditates so much it has developed a sixth sense. Its picture shows it doing a yogic asana with its hands held in a mudra position. Some say Medicham resembles a good luck charm doll known as a “Daruma doll.”*
[*A Daruma doll is: a hollow and round Japanese wish doll with no arms or legs modeled after Bodhi-dharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daruma_doll.]
Hypnotic Dream-Eating Pokémon:
Psychic: Drowzee: Hypnosis Pokémon: Drowzee lurks nearby to draw out dreams. Drowzee, a dream eater tapir-like Baku-based Pokémon, uses moves that include hypnosis, meditate, zen-headbutt, psychic, psybeam, poison gas, psyshock, and future sight plus more.
Psychic: Hypno: Hypnosis Pokémon: Hypno uses a pendulum for putting one into a hypnotic trance. Hypno, too, is able to sense what its victim is dreaming. A movie “Hyno’s Naptime” tells how Hypno’s sleep waves have caused children to disappear and Pokémon to grow sleepy.
Psychic: Munna: Dream Eater Pokémon: If Munna, a Baku inspired blimp-like Pokémon eats a happy dream, it gives off pink mist. Some of Munna’s moves include: lucky chant, hypnosis, nightmare, future sight, dream eater, and telekinesis.
Psychic: Musharna: Drowsing Pokémon: Musharna resembles a tapir-like pink pig with its dream stream coming out of its forehead. Some say Musharna seems like a traditional Japanese incense burner called a “koro” that appears on Buddhist altars.
Baku: M. R. Reese of Green Shinto writes that a Japanese child having a nightmare is told if they wake up to repeat “Baku-san, come eat my dream!” three times. After, the legend says, the Baku will enter the room and eat up the bad dreams. However, this mustn’t be overdone or it will devour their hopes and desires leaving them with an empty life. Kids to this day keep “Baku Talisman” by their bedsides. An online site offers a ring, said to have the Baku spirit in it, that one could wear or hang up for protection.9
The Psi Quartet: Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, and Mega Alakazam: These four “Psi” Pokémon, all of the Psychic type, possess many powers. Abra’s signature move is to “teleport” away. Kadabra uses one spoon to greatly increase its powers. Super intelligent Alakazam has two spoons. Lastly, Mega Alakazam has five spoons over head while seated in a lotus position with each hand fixed in mudra. He, records Bulbapedia, is based on a wizard or sorcerer or a Hindu sadhus–a holy man who is a yogi. A Wikipedia article on “Sadhus” has quite a photo display of many holy men with their prominent third eye markings.10
Ghost Pokémon: Yamask: Spirit Pokémon: Yamask, a very disturbing Pokémon, has a Japanese name Desumasu which comes from death and mask. It also means “Yama” or Lord of the Dead in Buddhism/Hinduism and “weeping mask” in Chinese. It’s based, too, on the Egyptian Ba holding a death mask. Pokedex entries say its mask makes it cry as it wanders around ancient landmarks. Should one accidentally wear this mask, it can be “possessed.” On a post titled “Pokemanical,” a gamer shares stories of really dark Pokémon especially ghosts as Yamask and Cofagrigus. A picture of some of the worst of the worst Pokémon has a comment that says, “Yet still allowable as kids’ game. Huh!”11
Ghost Pokémon: Cofagrigus: Coffin Pokémon: This coffin Pokémon, who lurks in tombs and ruins, is an Egyptian sarcophagus that eats people and mummifies them! Grave robbers who come too close to its shadowy ebony hands find themselves locked inside Cofagrigus. Its name is a combo of sarcophagus and egregious which means coffin and grim. And grim they are!
Light Pokémon: “A Ghost-Fire Trio”:
Ghost/Fire: Litwick: Candle Pokémon: This small candle has a purple flame that’s powered by “life energy.”To get this energy Litwick, a pretender, seems to light the way through darkness all the while sucking life energy from its victim. A Bulbapedia description says, “Litwick leads people astray and sucks out their life force.” What an apt description of Satan! For 2 Corinthians says, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” And 1 Peter 5:8 adds, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”
In Bulpadedia “Origin” section, it says: Litwick’s name is a combo of hitodama or a blue, black, and purple flame associated with ghosts, yokai, and candles.
Ghost/Fire: Lampent: Lamp Pokémon: Lampent, an ominous Pokémon, lurks around hospitals “waiting for someone to die” at which time it absorbs their departing spirit which in turn fuels its flame. However, 2 Corinthians 5:8 says of those who die in the Lord that we are “absent from the body and present with the Lord!” And Hebrews 9:27 reads, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Ghost/Fire: Chandelure: Luring Pokémon: Third in this spirit sucking trio is Chandelure whose name is like a “sentient” chandelier and lure. Chandelure is based also on hitodama which Wikipedia defines as Japanese meaning “human souls” that are like balls of fire floating in the night—departed souls that have been separated from their bodies. The Deluxe Essential Handbook says, “Chandelure’s spooky fames can burn the spirit right out of someone. If that happens the spirit becomes trapped in this world endlessly wandering.” One of Chandelure’s “moves” in the game is to put a “hex” on someone.
The Kami Trio: Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus:
Flying: Tornadus: Legendary Cyclone Pokémon: Tornadus, a kami* of wind, is based on the Shinto god Fujin. Tornadus is a wizard-like Pokémon that is carrying a bag of wind.
Electric/Flying: Legendary Bolt Strike Pokémon: Thundurus, a kami of lightning and thunder, is inspired by one of the most feared of Japanese deities Raijin. It’s said of Raijin that if there’s a storm Japanese children were told to cover their belly buttons for Raijin might eat them. People prayed to Raijin for rain and lightning. A rice field hit by a lightning bolt, it was believed, would be fertile and produce a good harvest.12
Ground/Flying: Landorus: Legendary Abundance Pokémon: Bulbapedia states that Landorus was the master of this “Forces of Nature” kami trio. In the Pokémon universe region called “Unova,” there’s a shrine in honor of the “Great Landorus” named “The Abundant Shrine.” Landorus is based on a third kami—the Kami of Fertility—also named Inari.13
[*A Kami is: In the Shinto religion, kami are spirits/phenomena that are worshipped. According to Wikipedia: “They are elements in nature, animals, creationary forces in the universe, as well as spirits of the revered deceased.” Under “Etymology” Wikipedia notes: “Kami is the Japanese word for a god, deity, divinity, or spirit. It has been used to describe ‘mind,’ ‘God,’ ‘supreme being,’ ‘one of the Shinto deities,’ ‘an effigy,’ ‘a principle,’ and ‘anything that is worshipped.’” For further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kami. The Bible, however, in Exodus 20:3-5 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them: for I the LORD they God am a jealous God.” ]
A Creator “God” Pokémon:
Normal: Arceus: Mythical Alpha Pokémon: Areceus is the god Pokémon of the Pokémon Universe. It’s based on a creator deity with a stance like an Egyptian bull or calf idols particularly Apis. It has an arc on its back, says Bulbapedia, that is used to represent reincarnation in Hinduism.
Arceus is connected to the Shinto gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi who summoned the first goddess and god Izanami and Izanagi to create Japan with a spear. The reference to its having 1000 arms comes from Buddhism. Arceus, it’s said, created Sinnoh, a Pokémon area, and the three Pokémon Lake Guardians Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit and the Creation Trio Dialaga, Palkia, and Giratina.
Upon reading its English name, “Alpha Pokémon,” one can’t help but think about the biblical reference in Revelation 1:8 that declares, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
These stories are but the tip of the iceberg as to what terms and concepts are being put into the receptive minds of our kids straight out of Shintoism, Buddhism, the New Age, and other pagan religions. As Matthew 6:33 says,
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
And as the prayer the Lord taught us to pray which ends in Matthew 6:13 says:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Gotta Learn About the Shinto Connection
Shintoism in Pokémon: In a July 18, 2016 article titled “Pokémon Go and Its AR Universe,” Ray Tsuchiyama shows how much Pokémon is connected to Shintoism. Tsuchiyama says the Pokémon Go gamers out on their Pokémon hunts are “almost like a new religion of seekers.” Tsuchiyama says they are “seeing ‘otherworldly’ aural specter/image in the middle of the ‘material world’ of buildings, shower trees, and beaches.”14
Tsuchiyama recalls Satoshi Tajiri, the Pokémon founder, who was into his bug collecting world as a child, and later the anime character Ash with his electrifying Pikachu made to resemble Tajiri. Tsuchiyama says Tajiri’s childhood hobby surely contributed to Pokémon with all its curious critters. Tsuchiyama states:
But there is also the deeper cultural, mythological, and animist religious history of Japan that influenced this global game.15
Tsuchiyama goes on to show how closely Pokémon is tied to Shintoism when he writes:
[T]he Pokémon Shiftry evokes a Japanese goblin that lives in a tree and causes windstorms. Lombre probably has the greatest resemblance to the Kappa, a Japanese water demon. Ninetales is obviously the fox god in Shintoism. A Shinto reference is the creation of the Hoenn region (in the game) by Kyogre and Groudon, two Pokémon characters . . . A Shinto “world flood” myth has been worked in Mewtwo’s character.16
“In the original game,” maintains Tsuchiyama, “Pokémon trainers gather to mourn and present offering for ‘dead’ Pokémon, since without the chanting of the Pokémon ‘souls’ will wander the material world and transform into vengeful spirits–again evoking Shinto beliefs.”17
Tsuchiyama adds, “Pokémon characters clearly resemble Shinto gods that hang out in rivers, rocks, trees, and other places—and following Shinto, when offered food and incense, Pokémon and friends/allies bring players all sorts of rewards, like points (blessings?).”18
Tsuchiyama ends by noting that Pokémon GO isn’t the original “character hunting” mobile app. Tsuchiyama writes, “For years in Japan game firms like Yokai Watch and Monster Hunter have spawned thousands of small groups . . . All these games are heavily influenced by Shinto Mythology.”19
Gotta Learn About the Yokai Connection
Yokai are: (ghost, phantom, or strange apparitions) a class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. They can be anywhere from malevolent to mischievous, or even bring good fortune. Yokai can appear in different ways: as animals, as humans, as inanimate objects, or as shapeless. They have spiritual supernatural powers with obake shapeshifting being one of the most common ones.20
An informative article titled “Who’s That Pokémon? Yokai Edition” by Kristen Dexter starts out:
But some of my favorite Pokémon were inspired by yokai: supernatural monsters, ghosts, and phantoms of Japanese folklore. Says Kristen, “Gotta catch ‘em all, yokai!”21
Dexter lists the Japanese term for a particular yokai and its definition. She then asks: “Who’s that yokai?” After, there’s a large picture of each Pokémon that fits this definition and a further reference to its/their traits. Here’s what the yokai covers: Sazae Oni, turban shell ogres, like Slowbro and Slowking; Sogen Bi, a fireball floating head, like Gastly; Baku dream eaters, like Drowzee, Hypno, Munna, and Musharna; Jinmenju, human tree heads, like Exegguter; Yamauba, old woman turned witch, like Jnyx; Nekomata, Bake split tail cats, like Esperson; Nukekubi, cursed headless woman or girl, like Misdreavus; Kamitachi, ambusher attacker weasels, like Sneasel and Weavile; Futakushi Onna, two mouthed cursed woman, like Mawile; Tsukimogami, spirit inhabited inanimate objects, like Banette; Hitodama, graveyard colored light, like Litwick; Kodama, ball of light tree spirits, like Celebi, Phantump, and Trevenant; Chochin Obake, paper lantern inhabiters, like Dusclops and Dusknoir; Yuki Onna, evil woman freezer of travelers, like Froslass; and Nurarihyon, old man yokai leader, like Jellicent.22
Gotta Read Up on Church Reactions to PokÉmon GO
One last thing to look into and become aware of is the number of churches that have been designated Pokémon Go Pokestops and Gyms. Churches are crowing about how unbelievably wonderful it is that they have been named stopping places for Pokémon Go players to pick up items to help catch those hidden Pocket Monsters. Now, is it because most churches see it as a reason to share the Gospel with those that happen by, or is it because they think the game is clever and yes even fun and they get to share things like water, or a place to recharge smartphones? Unfortunately, it is the latter in many instances.
I read where an Episcopal church attendee declared if you’re going to do “evangelism,” you might as well have fun doing it. Another “millennial evangelical” opined all that old Pokémon is of the devil drivel, why that’s a thing of the past. He said that “there are 721 Pokémon to date, with more coming this fall, and not a single one of them has a devilish or Satanic sort of name or makeup.”23 How I’d challenge this uninformed millennial, or anyone else, regardless of age, to do the research using sources quoted in this booklet that show how infiltrated Pokémon is with every sort of evil idea that could be thought up. In fact, a verse that well describes Pokémon is Genesis 6:5 that reads:
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it is today!
Gotta Discern, Gotta Go
In summary, once one grasps that Pokémon is inundated with deceptive teachings and occultic references, one must determine to research Pokémon lore and backstories to more fully discern the agenda, the culture, and the religion from which this game has arisen. The question then becomes: “What must one do with this information? Just as Berit Kjos, in her excellent 1999 article: “The Dangers of Role-Playing Games-How Pokémon and Magic Cards Affect the Minds,” listed ideas on how to teach one’s children or grandchildren on ways to resist occult entertainment, I too would urge parents, grandparents, and friends to be ready as Deuteronomy Moments arise; and during devotional times, talk to your children or grandchildren on a regular basis about key words and ideas presented in Pokémon and Pokémon Go and how they contrast with Scripture.
Point out that Proverbs describes the simple—the naive ones—as those who are open to anything that comes down the pike as contrasted to the wise—the knowledgeable ones—those who cry out and search for wisdom as to which paths to take. And as Solomon said in Proverbs 4:10-15:
Hear O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in the right paths. When thou goest thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life. Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the path of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
What opportunities await informed Christians, who with both Scripture and pertinent Pokémon information, can clearly point out how deceptive and evil these alluring Pokémon are. Yes, we gotta be ready to go, for not only must we warn about Pokémon Go, but as Mark 16:15, a Bible go verse, reads, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:26, 27)
In this Pokémon Go world, how apt are these verses.
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1. For more “gotta know” info, read “Pokémon” from Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon.
4. The Pokémon (Gotta Catch ‘Em All)—Deluxe Essential Handbook: The Need-to-Know Stats and Facts on Over 700 Pokémon (Scholastic, 2015).
5. See http://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/16-16.htm. Related topics include: occult, Delphic, witch, wizard, mage, focus, psychic, psychic visions, oracle, Oracle at Delphi, Apollo, spirit of divination, and Acts 16. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_of_Delphi.
6. “The community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia”: http://www.bulbagarden.net.
7. George Hutcheon, “On the Origin of Species: Absol” (September 23, 2013, http://bulbanews.bulbagarden.net/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species:_Absol).
9. M.D. Reese, “Baku, the Legend of the Dream Eater” (December 1, 2014, http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/2014/12/16/baku-the-dream-eater).
10. For more, read “Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam” at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra,_Kadabra,_and_Alakazam.
11. “Pokemanical” (September 4, 2011, http://pokemaniacal.tumblr.com/post/17760681303/yamask-and-cofagrigus).
12. http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/japanese-traditions-fujin-god-wind http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/japanese-traditions-raijin-thunder-god.
14. Ray Tsuchiyama, “Pokémon Go and Its AR Universe” (July 18, 2016, http://web.archive.org/web/20160719142124/http://www.mauinews.com/page/blogs.detail/display/5619/Pokemon-Go-and-Its-AR-Universe.html).
22. Kristen Dexter, “Who’s That Pokémon? Yōkai Edition!” (October 31, 2014, https://www.tofugu.com/japan/pokemon-yokai).
24. Chris Martin (works at LifeWay Christian Resources), “Is Pokémon Satanic?” (Millennial Evangelical, July 15, 2015, http://www.millennialevangelical.com/is-pokemon-satanic).
To order copies of A Christian Parent’s Guide to POKÉMON, click here.