Universal Studios Japan Signs Rights Deal with Pokemon

October 6, 2021, 12:32 PM · Pokémon is coming to Universal Studios Japan. Universal's most visited theme park today announced a deal with The Pokémon Company to bring the popular game IP to the Osaka theme park.

"Universal Studios Japan and The Pokémon Company will enter a long-term partnership to jointly explore groundbreaking entertainment that will immerse guests into the world of Pokémon with innovative technology and creativity beginning in 2022," Universal said in its press release.

"The real and virtual worlds will come together creating a revolutionary new theme park experience."

Next year is probably too early to expect any new permanent ride installations from this agreement, so Universal fans' first taste of Pokémon in Japan likely will take the form of entertainment or some interactive experience using guests' mobile devices, as suggested in the press release. Universal provided no further details or clues about what fans might expect with Pokémon in 2022.

"We are honored to have a long-term partnership with The Pokémon Company while developing groundbreaking Pokémon entertainment at Universal Studios Japan for both Pokémon fans and our guests," USJ LLC CEO and President J.L. Bonnier said. "The globally popular Pokémon characters combined with Universal’s innovative approach to creating authentic and one-of-a-kind theme park entertainment promise excitement for the entire family."

President and CEO of USJ LLC, J.L. Bonnier, and President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara
President and CEO of USJ LLC, J.L. Bonnier, left, and President and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara

"The incredible team at Universal Studios Japan have the creative vision and leading expertise in world-class theme park technology to imagine a uniquely Pokémon experience," The Pokémon Company CEO and President Tsunekazu Ishihara said. "This strategic alliance with Universal Studios Japan reflects our commitment to continue delivering the joy of Pokémon in ever evolving ways for years to come. We are looking forward to the day when we can welcome fans from around the world to all enjoy it together."

The Pokémon deal follows Universal Studios Japan's announcement that it will expand its Super Nintendo World land with Donkey Kong in 2024. The addition of Pokémon to that portfolio will give USJ the world's top line-up of game-driven attractions. The Pokémon Company is partially owned by Nintendo.

While Super Nintendo World is coming to Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore, and Donkey Kong is expected in Orland's new Epic Universe park, today's deal with The Pokémon Company covers Universal Studios Japan only. But Universal's corporate PR account sent out the release, and all the other parks are sharing this news on their social channels, so if you want to speculate about Pokémon coming to Universal's other parks, Universal is doing zilch to dissuade you.

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Replies (12)

October 6, 2021 at 1:03 PM

Very nice! Also heard that Shrek 4D at USO will be closing permanently in January 2022. That area would be a nice landing spot for a clone of Pets from Cali. Sign Pokémon and replace KidZone with a new Pokémon land and USO would have a couple of nice projects to look forward to before the opening of UEU.

October 6, 2021 at 1:32 PM

Well, it certainly lines up with the rumor a while back that Spider-Man would be replaced by Pokémon in Japan.

October 6, 2021 at 1:43 PM

Honestly, I though Pokémon was already part of the Nintendo license, so this seems like a natural and obvious extension of that deal.

FWIW, Wizards Unite, a Harry Potter spin on the popular Pokémon GO AR mobile game, has specialized POIs that can only be found at the WWoHP at UO and USH. I would anticipate that UC will heavily integrate AR technology into any theme park expansion using this IP.

October 6, 2021 at 4:48 PM

It was only a matter of time. Like i commented elsewhere, IP like that begs to be used in a theme park setting, and i AM sure would be just the first waves of a latter tsunami of video Game adaptations.

October 6, 2021 at 7:03 PM

@Russell Meyer Pokémon is made by The Pokémon Company and isn't owned by Nintendo although the 2 companies are very close.
This is another huge win for Universal Studios as the Pokémon ip is beyond huge in anime and gaming.

October 6, 2021 at 10:39 PM

Yeah, Pokémon isn’t own by Nintendo(You don’t see the Nintendo license anywhere in any of their anime and movies). It’s a whole Pixar deal kind of thing only The Pokémon Company can keep the rights to their characters and go to another platform once they’re tired of Nintendo.

October 6, 2021 at 11:34 PM

Coming next to Universal's Weeaboo Paradise: Sailor Moon land, Dragonball Z land, and Hentailand for City Walk.

October 7, 2021 at 8:02 AM

Actually The Pokémon Company is part owned by Nintendo as the business was established through a joint venture between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. Nintendo has been a part of Pokémon since it was founded, so again having already established a licensing agreement with Nintendo, it was a natural extension for UC to establish one for Pokémon if it was not already part of the Nintendo license.

October 8, 2021 at 8:15 AM

I hear they’ve got some great plans. You might even say they’re the very best, like no plans ever was…

October 8, 2021 at 9:17 AM

So, so many possibilities with Pokémon in theme parks. Can't wait to see what they come up with. Hopefully my daughter will still be into Pokemon by the time they do.

October 12, 2021 at 12:53 AM

Awesome, I hope there will be more to it. But we have never been disappointed by Universal studios when it comes to collaborations though.

tree pruning

October 12, 2021 at 11:58 AM

Pokémon are going to be a real hit in this park!
I am very happy to visit and see, I am sure that everything will be at the highest level.
I'll even share this news on my blog .
To be honest, I still can't believe that all the issues with the copyright holders have been resolved - for me it seems like an impossible mission. But all's well that ends well!

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