Special ‘Pokémon Fossil Museum’ exhibition held at Mikasa City Museum  

Principal researcher Aiba Daisuke introduces a replica of a Tyrannosaurus fossil
The skeletal model of a ‘Gachigoras (Tyrantrum)’, which resembles a Tyrannosaurus

A unique ‘Pokémon Fossil Museum’ exhibition that compares real dinosaurs and ammonite with characters that appear in the popular Pocket Monster (Pokémon) game, is being held at the Mikasa City Museum in central Hokkaido. The exhibition was planned “in the hope of providing an opportunity for children to become interested in science” based on the experiences of a researcher who, as a child, searched illustrated reference books to try and find creatures that resembled Pokémon. Families visiting the exhibition get to think about ancient times.

“The fangs of Tyrannosaurus were the same as Pokémon,” said a male elementary-school pupil visiting from Sapporo. His eyes sparkled as he compared a 4.5 m-long, 2.5 m-high model of a skeleton of a ‘Gachigoras (Tyrantrum)’ Pokémon with replicas of dinosaur fossils and the like.

The special exhibition comprises approximately 30 Paleozoic materials such as spiral ammonite fossils and the like, and eight models of Pokémon, some full size. The exhibition allows visitors to consider and compare dinosaurs and ‘fossil Pokémon’ that appear in the games, by means of illustrations and skeletal diagrams.

The exhibition was planned by Aiba Daisuke (31), principal researcher at the museum who is originally from Tokyo, and who has been a Pokémon fan since his childhood.

He realized that many Pokémon resembled the forms of actual creatures and, while looking through illustrated reference books “found plants I hadn’t seen before, and a world I didn’t know, which excited me.” Through Pokémon, Aiba experienced observation and comparison – the fundaments of scientific research, which then led him along the path of paleontology.
In 2015, Aiba was appointed as a researcher at the museum, which has a permanent exhibition of ammonite fossils. He felt that the latest theories on paleontology were incorporated into Pokémon, and conceived the idea of a special exhibition. “I want to introduce the latest research results, using Pokémon as a gateway.”

Pokémon has become a TV animation, and ‘Pikachu’ who appears in the animation is well-known throughout the world. As well as receiving the total support of the Pokémon management company, the exhibition will also tour museums in Shimane, Tokyo and Aichi in collaboration with the National Museum of Nature and Science. With the cooperation of illustrators that specialize in skeletal diagrams, Aiba says “Various specialists have gathered together, making it an exhibition of higher quality than I ever imagined”.

The exhibition will continue until September 20. Admission fees are 700 yen for high-school students and older, and 400 yen for junior high and elementary school pupils. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but closes on Mondays (except when Monday is a public holiday, in which case the museum will close on the following day).

The ‘Pokémon Fossil Museum’ exhibition in which models of characters, dinosaurs and ammonite fossils are displayed. Many families visited on August 6, too, during the summer holidays.


Mikasa City Museum