To stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all
Press Release Categories
Anti-Semitism: USA
Anti-Semitism: International
Black-Jewish Relations
Christian-Jewish Relations
Civil Rights
Discrimination, Racism, Bigotry
Hate Crimes
Holocaust / Nazis
Holocaust Denial
Islamic Extremist
Israel / Middle-East
Nation Of Islam
Neo-Nazi / Skinheads
Religious Freedom, Church-State
Supreme Court
Terrorism: Domestic
Terrorism: International
United Nations
Vatican-Jewish Relations
Press Releases
Militia Watchdog Archives
Legislative Action Center
Regional Offices
Security for Community
Press ReleaseMiscellaneous
Nintendo Tells ADL it will Raise Concerns of Swastika with Japanese Maker of Pokémon Cards

New York, NY, November 2, 1999 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a decision by Nintendo of America Inc. to inform creators of a Japanese version of Pokémon about concerns raised by a swastika appearing on one of the popular children’s trading cards.

In a letter to ADL, Nintendo said the swastika raised valid concerns about cross-cultural perceptions. The card, which was produced in Japan, made its way into the United States by way of unauthorized "third party" importing and sales. The company said the card was not intended for an American audience.

"We welcome this decision by Nintendo. In today’s shrinking world due to globalization, what is deemed appropriate or acceptable by one culture may have a significantly different meaning in another," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While Nintendo says this is considered an ancient religious symbol of hope in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, the image of a swastika in any form has clearly negative and hateful connotations in the Western world."

The symbol, emblazoned in the left-hand corner of a card from the Japanese PocketMonsters Trading Card Game, was intended to represent a "manji" sign ascribed to Buddhism and Hinduism, according to Nintendo. The company, "… has a strict and extensive review process in place to ensure Nintendo products are appropriate for release in the North American market," said Peter T. Main, Nintendo’s Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing. This particular card was not scrutinized because it was imported through the "gray market," he said. "We have forwarded your concerns to the Japanese creators of the PocketMonsters Trading Card game and are inquiring about future production plans in Japan for this specific card."

Wizards of the Coast, the company which holds the license to manufacture the official U.S. version of Pokémon Trading Cards, has added information to their Web site at to assist consumers in identifying official Pokémon trading cards.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Home | Search | About ADL | Contact ADL | Privacy Policy

© 2013 Anti-Defamation League