Mr Speaker

The Shogun, and the video game

Mr. Speaker presents a brief historical comparision of Tokugawa Japan and the 1981 video game PacMan, in point form.

tokugawa party

  • The first Shogun of the Tokugawa period was Tokugawa Ieyasu.
    He was a pretty dang good Shogun, heavily influencing japanese history and achieving almost unlimited power and wealth.
  • The first video game to spawn its own line of merchandising was PacMan.
    PacMan was created by Namco designer Toru Iwatani and is the best selling coin-operated game in history.


  • Shogun means "Foreign barbarian subduing generalissimo".
    It was applied to Ieyasu after he defeated the Hideyori loyalists and other Western rivals.
  • PacMan has no meaning.
    It was changed at the last minute from PuckMan so that no one would graffitti the machines and make rude words.
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu was the major ruler throughout the Tokugawa period.
    The Tokugawa period was a time of peace that allowed visual and performing arts to flourish.
    The Tokugawa period lasted from 1603 to 1868.
  • PacMan was the major ruler throughout the 80's.
    The 80's was a time of innocence and neon that allowed anyone who so desired become a pop/rock star.
    The 80's lasted from 1980 to about mid 1988.
    pacman - funky looking level

Interesting point

  • There have been many periods (jidai) in Japan's history.
  • There has been only one 80's.

The mystery of the monikers

  • All of the periods had an alternate name. I don't know why.
    The Tokugawa period was also called the Edo Period. Edo was the name of the place that is now known as Tokyo.
    The Momoyama period (1568 to 1603) was also known as the Azushi period. The Muromachi period (1336 to 1568) was also called the Ashikaga period. An so on.
  • All of the ghosts in PacMan had an alternate name. I don't know why.
    • Shadow, Speedy, Bashful and Pokey had nicknames of Inky Pinky Blinky and Clyde.
    • Their Japanese names were Oikake, Machibuse, Kimagure and Otoboke.
    • Their nicknames were Akabei, Pinky, Aosuke and Guzuta.
  • They also had alternate names. I dont know why.
    • Their alternate names were Urchin, Romp, Stylist and Crybaby.
    • Their alternate nicknames were Macky, Micky, Mucky and Mocky.
  • The common ghost name in Japanese and English was "Pinky"

Summary and conclusions

  • No Shogun was ever called Pinky.


  1. Once again, astute, profound, beautiful. I have learned here today. I’m hoping you write something up about Donkey Kong vs. Caesar Augustus.

    Monday, January 24, 2005 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
  2. I tried to get through the first paragraph, but found myself hunched over the keyboard, bawling in anguish, joy and pity, all at the same time. Somebody in the markets touched my bottom once, I believe it may have been you…

    Monday, February 14, 2005 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  3. if you are into Pacman you shall check out this pacman website where you can play pacman, ms.pacman and more :-)

    Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
  4. Also check out videos, terms, definitions, and other Ms. Pacman-related tidbits at:

    Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 6:26 am | Permalink
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