Showing posts with label Mr Yukawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mr Yukawa. Show all posts

A Farewell to Hidekazu Yukawa (plus a round-up of all the Dreamcast games he starred in)

Yesterday, Yahoo News Japan reported that Hidekazu Yukawa, the senior managing director of Sega Japan during the early part of the Dreamcast's life, passed away from pneumonia in June of last year at the age of 78. His family had kept this sad news private until now, but it is reported that Yukawa had been sick for the past 5 years (source). Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Yukawa is nothing short of Dreamcast royalty, so this sad news has understandably led to many words of tribute from fans (and even former colleagues, such as Yuji Naka) across social media. 

Yukawa became an overnight success in Japan after starring in a series of very amusing and surprisingly honest commercials (watch them here) where he rises up from the depths of self-doubt (and being bullied by PlayStation-loving children) to spread the good word of the Dreamcast and lead the fight as the senior managing director of Sega Japan. This bout of fame resulted in Yukawa's image being used on Dreamcast console boxes (pictured below), merchandise (such as the Yukawa keyring also pictured below) and print adverts.
Photo kindly taken for us by KingMonkey
We too wanted to pay tribute to Mr. Yukawa, and thought we’d do it in the best way the Junkyard knows how - by geeking out about Dreamcast games! After all, what's a better way to pay tribute to Yukawa than to boot up the console that he championed so mightily, and play one of the multiple games he starred in? Here they are:

Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt
Let's kick things off with Yukawa's very own Dreamcast game. This simple game was released exclusively in Japan near the Dreamcast's launch and was tied into a short-running competition. The game has you play as Yukawa himself, with the aim being to dig up various tiles to complete puzzles that make up images of Dreamcast-related memorabilia. During March 20th 1999 and April 11th 1999, players could submit their victories online to be entered into a raffle to win real-life Dreamcast goodies, or even ¥10,000. 

The servers for the game have since been shut down, so there's sadly no longer any prizes to be won, but the game is still playable. In fact, it's also now playable in English thanks to a team consisting of SnowyAria, EsperKnight and Mr. Nobody, who released a translation patch for it back in April. Go here to get that patch, and for a more in-depth breakdown about the game, check out Tom's article on it here.

Shenmue and What's Shenmue
What's a better game to contain a cameo of the man that sought to spread optimism about the Dreamcast than the game that was touted to save the console: Shenmue? Well, Yukawa makes multiple secret appearances in Shenmue, and a much more prominent one in the promotional demo What's Shenmue: Search for Yukawa (former) Senior Managing Director.
Image credit: Phantom River Stone
I always thought that Yukawa's inclusion in the regular version of Shenmue was limited to him appearing on a point of sale display for batteries in the Tomato Convenience Store. But thanks to a great article on Phantom River Stone, I learnt that Ryo can actually meet Yukawa twice, although certain conditions must be fulfilled first... 

The Mr Yukawa Dreamcast TV Commercials Have Been Translated

You. You there, reading this nonsense right now. Yes you! Do you know who Mr Yukawa is? Of course you do - he's the total legend of a bloke who not only ran Sega Japan back in the day (or something), but also had his image festooned across all manner of Dreamcast clobber once upon a time. He was also in the Shenmue bonus disc (read about it here) and even had his own Dreamcast game (read about it here). Mr Yukawa became something of an icon for Sega in his home country, and was the star of a series of TV commercials for the Dreamcast but until very recently these adverts were only available in their native tongue.

Enter Mr Jim M. Ballard, a polyglot with - by his own admission - far too much free time on his hands. The devil, it is said, makes work for these idle hands but we would vehemently disagree - especially since Jim turned said appendages to adding English subtitles to the entire series of Mr Yukawa Dreamcast adverts:

You can find the rest of the series here in Jim's YouTube playlist. Thanks to this dedication, the anglophones in the room can now also share the epic ups and downs of Mr Yukawa's struggle to make Sega great again.

Related articles:

A Quick Look At Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt

Mr Yukawa. The man, the myth, the legend. But who was he, really? Well, Hidekazu Yukawa was the  senior managing director of Sega Japan during the early part of the Dreamcast's reign, and he was used as the main character in a fairly successful series of TV adverts. You can find them all on YouTube, but the TV commercials in question tell the story of Sega's boss on the eve of the Dreamcast's launch, where he is besieged by thoughts of self doubt and nightmares of the console's failure. He is harassed by children who want PlayStations instead of Dreamcasts, and even gets beaten up at one point.
Naturally, Mr Yukawa's fears are allayed when the Dreamcast becomes a success and everybody lives happily ever after. The series of TV ads catapulted Yukawa into semi-stardom in his native land, and his image was used on Dreamcast console boxes and in print adverts, such was his popularity. What you may not know is that he also starred in his very own game on the Dreamcast - Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt.