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image copyrightTom Bateman

In Tokyo’s ritzy Roppongi neighbourhood, Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company, sits opposite a giant map of the world.

Red pins mark the countries where every arm of the Pokémon empire – games, trading cards, films, the animated TV series – is available.

There’s a lot of red.

Pokémon started life as an 8-bit video game in Japan – where players capture creatures and store them in pocket-sized capsules (Pokémon is short for “pocket monsters”) – but has grown into a cultural megahit.

By some estimates, Pokémon is now the biggest media franchise in history,

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