Japanese Man Arrested for Allegedly Selling Custom Pokémon

Abhimannu Das
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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Japanese Man Arrested for Allegedly Selling Custom Pokémon</p></div>

Japanese Man Arrested for Allegedly Selling Custom Pokémon

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Nintendo

Highlights
Japanese authorities arrest 36-year-old Yoshihiro Yamakawa for illegally tampering with save data of Nintendo Switch games, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and selling custom characters online.
Yamakawa's activities violate Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Act, echoing a similar case in 2021 involving Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Despite confessing to the charges, Yamakawa's illicit business thrived, with custom monsters fetching prices of up to 13,000 yen each, prompting an ongoing investigation into his activities and potential profits.

Japanese authorities have apprehended a 36-year-old man, Yoshihiro Yamakawa, for unlawfully modifying save data of Nintendo Switch games, specifically Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The arrest came following an investigation by Japanese cyberpolice who discovered Yamakawa selling custom characters derived from the tampered save data on an online gaming marketplace.

Nintendo Switch Game Hacker Arrested for Illegal Sale of Pokémon Characters

Yamakawa utilized an online tool to manipulate the game's save data, breaching the Unfair Competition Prevention Act in Japan. Reports from NHK and the Asahi Shimbun indicate that police caught Yamakawa in the act of soliciting orders for customized Pokémon characters on the online platform.

The demand for rare and meticulously crafted monsters led Yamakawa to offer deals such as "6 Pokémon for only $30". This incident echoes a similar case in 2021 when Japanese authorities arrested an individual for unlawfully modifying save data in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

The Pokémon Company had previously intensified efforts to combat such cheating practices due to their prevalence among players seeking an unfair advantage in the game.

Yamakawa's illicit business reportedly thrived between December 2022 and March 2023, with custom monsters fetching prices of up to 13,000 yen each, equivalent to approximately $85. Despite confessing to the charges, stating "I did it to earn a living," the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities suspect that Yamakawa's profits could amount to millions of yen, indicative of widespread demand for these unauthorized game assets. The police are now delving deeper into the case to ascertain the full extent of Yamakawa's activities and the financial gains derived from them.

The Pokémon series has long been celebrated for its captivating gameplay, centered around the collection and battling of monsters. However, the allure of rare and exclusive creatures has led to a burgeoning black market for such digital assets.

As gaming technology advances, the challenge of safeguarding against unauthorized modifications and illicit trade continues to evolve. Japanese law enforcement's swift action in apprehending Yamakawa underscores the seriousness with which such offenses are treated, aiming to preserve the integrity of online gaming ecosystems.


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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.