Within the spring of 1998, a promotional marketing campaign that includes Magikarp was launched. Ranging from March 1998, college kids in Japan got the chance to “enroll” in a fictional college, Tamamushi (Celadon) College (タマムシ大学). By numerous mail-in exams, they may win prizes starting from college provides, beauty badges, and most famously, a promotional Magikarp Pokemon TCG card.

All through the remainder of this text, we will likely be referring to the marketing campaign because the Tamamushi College marketing campaign. The translated title is definitely Celadon College (per the title of town within the worldwide Pokemon video games), however the particular marketing campaign is extra broadly recognized by its Japanese title.


The marketing campaign was sponsored by Shogakukan (Japanese: 株式会社小学館 Kabushiki-gaisha Shōgakukan). Shogakukan is a Japanese writer of dictionaries, literature, manga, non-fiction, DVDs, and different media in Japan.

Notably, Shogakukan is the writer of Pokémon Adventures, CoroCoro Comics, and different Pokémon media. The writer has deep ties to the Pokemon franchise, and has featured the anime, TCG, and manga in a lot of its media. Its month-to-month comedian distributed the first-ever Pokemon playing cards, launched earlier than the bottom set had even been launched in Japan.

Shogakukan grade-specific magazines

Since 1922, Shogakukan has printed a month-to-month academic journal for schoolchildren. There’s a totally different, grade-specific journal for every Japanese elementary college grade 1-6.

These magazines featured studying articles, actions, and leisure information for the readers. Ranging from the April 1998 difficulty (printed in early March, as these magazines often got here out the month prior), the Tamamushi College marketing campaign was a featured exercise in these grade-specific magazines. The marketing campaign would conclude the subsequent 12 months within the March 1999 difficulty.

Marketing campaign

Tamamushi Metropolis, recognized in English as Celadon Metropolis, was a city within the Pokemon video video games. A fictional college was created for the marketing campaign, generally known as Tamamushi College. The college doesn’t straight seem within the video games as an accessible location, however it’s referenced just a few occasions all through the anime and manga after the marketing campaign had concluded.

Aerial picture of Tamamushi College from the “pupil” handbook

Tamamushi College’s mascot and crest featured Magikarp, particularly one which featured an unique in-game transfer, Dragon Rage. In accordance with the coed handbook, Magikarp was chosen because the mascot as a result of it represents “progress by learning”, alluding to the truth that Magikarp ultimately evolves to the fearsome Gyarados with sufficient ranges.

Every month-to-month difficulty would simulate a mock college expertise for the readers, and likewise permit them to take part by mailing in quizzes to earn numerous bodily prizes. The marketing campaign culminated with an in-person occasion on the ninth Era World Passion Truthful the place attendees may get a particular Magikarp for his or her Pokemon Sport Boy video games that knew “Dragon Rage” (an assault it couldn’t usually be taught).

Examinees began out by taking the doorway examination to turn into. Throughout successive months, they might then take the Professor examination, Tremendous (Nice) Professor Examination, and at last the Hyper (Extremely) Professor examination. Every of those professor “ranges” was a reference to the three tiers of Poke Balls from the video video games: Poke Ball, Tremendous Ball (Nice Ball), and Hyper Ball (Extremely Ball).

After these 4 exams, there was a closing “commencement examination” in March 1999, which might end up the marketing campaign.

April 1998 – Introduction to Tamamushi College

The April 1998 problems with the magazines launched the Tamamushi College marketing campaign to readers with a coloration unfold “picture” of the primary College constructing.

The introduction difficulty didn’t have any precise actions for readers, however did instruct them to remain tuned for issues to return in subsequent month’s difficulty.

Could 1998: Entrance Examination

The Could 1998 problems with the grade-specific magazines launched Tamamushi’s first exercise: an entrance examination. Exams had been on cheaper tear-out paper that was meant to be mailed again to Shogakukan for analysis. The problem additionally included some extra details about the fictional college.

Completely different grades bought totally different units of questions. For instance, within the 1st grade query above, the reader is requested to determine three buildings on the map of Celadon Metropolis by drawing the corresponding image in every sq.. There’s a footnote saying every is value 5 factors, with the query being value 15 factors in complete.

Examination questions for the doorway examination had been principally pictorial in nature, reminiscent of “arithmetic” the place readers needed to calculate the variety of legs on a Pokemon primarily based on its image.

After mailing within the exams, readers would obtain a postcard with their rating consequence. Everybody who obtained an ideal rating could be tied for 1st place, whereas imperfect scores could be given a numerical rating.

Together with their entrance examination outcomes was a welcome letter to Tamamushi College, and directions on when the subsequent examination (the Professor examination) could be out there.

June – July 1998: College campus tour, mock exams, and drills

Within the June difficulty, the grade-specific magazines featured a Tamamushi Campus tour, mock exams, and “Tamamushi Drills”. The final characteristic was most likely some type of train / research information for the upcoming exams.

The July difficulty of the journal additionally included extra mock exams and drills to assist college students put together for the Professor Examination in August’s difficulty.

August 1998: Professor Examination

The August difficulty was printed in early July, and marked the midway level within the marketing campaign, generally known as the “1st semester”. True to actuality, the tip of the first semester included an examination, the Tamamushi College’s Professor examination.

This examination was tougher than the doorway examination, however examinees who handed it could obtain a Professor certificates. The examination itself had many issues that might be solved by taking a look at previous problems with the journal. All examinees who took the examination would get a steel college badge pin, pupil pocket book, pupil ID card, and a outcomes slip.

The scholar ID card was affixed to the outcomes slip and might be peeled off, revealing a message from Professor Matsumoto beneath

For college students who handed the examination, the title “Professor” was additionally added to their title on the examination outcomes. There are due to this fact 2 sorts of ID playing cards, one with the Professor title for individuals who handed, and one other for individuals who didn’t.

The Professor examination outcomes additionally initially had a printed error for the prefectural rating, making them an identical to the same-grade nationwide rankings. Shogakukan issued an apology letter and corrected outcomes to all examinees.

The scholar handbook contained numerous information about Pokemon and Tamamushi College. It additionally contained a number of clean pages for college students to write down down different college students’ cellphone numbers and affix photographs if that they had real-life pals additionally collaborating within the marketing campaign.

The August difficulty additionally introduced a lottery for 1000 examinees who had achieved good scores on the Professor examination. Prizes for this lottery included unique Tamamushi College merchandise: A pocket watch, a backpack, and a faculty pennant.

College Pennant (1600 issued) courtesy of linkdu83

30 winners would additionally obtain the unique Magikarp with the “Dragon Rage” assault. It’s unknown how precisely these had been distributed, because it was not potential to switch Pokemon remotely in 1998. Employees members would doubtless have to satisfy up with the winners to distribute the Pokemon.

September 1998: Tremendous (Nice) Professor Examination

The September difficulty held the Tremendous Professor Examination (often known as the “Nice” Professor examination in case you translate it to the English Poke Ball names). This examination was tougher than the earlier, and Professor oak introduced in one other professor named Matsumoto to provide readers suggestions.

One other well-known Pokemon character, Imakuni? was additionally launched on this difficulty to begin recruiting for a faculty anthem.

The Tremendous professor examination itself featured many questions on the Pokemon animated sequence TV present, with nearly 70% of the questions referencing it. The remaining questions had been principally from the video video games and required some particular information from enjoying them. Passing the earlier Entrance and Professor exams was not a requirement to taking the examination, however contributors did want to produce their pupil ID quantity.

Examinees obtained their scores again after mailing them in on a big sheet of perforated cardstock which contained just a few different bonuses. These included tear-away pupil ID playing cards, a rating rating card, and another bonus playing cards.

It additionally included directions on folding the included field to carry all of the playing cards.

The examination outcomes themselves had been much like the earlier Professor Examination’s, with rating rankings throughout a number of classes, a consequence, and remarks from Professor Oak. Persevering with the development from the earlier Professor Examination, these remarks had been stuffed with Pokemon puns.

Outcomes and the remarks modified relying on the rating. Examinees want a full rating of 100 factors in an effort to go the examination.

Getting a full rating meant that the examinee would get a Tremendous Professor certificates later within the mail. This featured Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.

November 1998: Preview Issues and Interviews

This difficulty of the grade-specific magazines featured interviews with numerous Pokemon winners. This included the Nintendo cup winner, Mario 64 Stadium TV channel winner, and Pokemon Card match winners.

November 1998’s sixth grade difficulty cowl

It additionally featured these winners previewing some potential questions for the upcoming Hyper Professor examination.

December 1998: Hyper (Extremely) Professor Examination

The ultimate difficulty of 1998’s grade-specific magazines contained the Hyper Professor Examination. This was the ultimate, and most troublesome examination of the Tamamushi College marketing campaign. Just like the earlier Tremendous Professor examination, examinees didn’t must have handed the earlier exams to take part.

The check requested a wide range of questions that spanned throughout the anime, video video games, and even some actual life information such because the latest All Nippon Airways Pokemon marketing campaign. A few of these questions had been fairly troublesome, reminiscent of asking about what Pikachu particularly says whenever you give it a present within the “Pocket Pikachu” pedometer accent.

Examinees would obtain their scores again within the mail. Not like the earlier two professor exams, these scores had been additionally delivered on clear adhesive stickers that examinees may put into their notebooks.

Those that handed this examination obtained the ultimate Tamabushi College certificates for Hyper Professor.

Most famously, those that handed this examination obtained a promotional Magikarp promo card. The December difficulty would announce that solely 1000 examinees could be promoted to Hyper Professor and obtain this card, so it’s unknown how they determined to provide them out if there have been greater than 1000 1st place outcomes. Nevertheless, given the problem of the examination, it’s potential that fewer than 1000 copies of the cardboard got out.

The Magikarp card proven within the December 1998 difficulty additionally has quite a few variations from the one which made it to print. The HP and assaults are all totally different, the Tamamushi seal is lacking from the underside proper of the cardboard, and the background of the artwork doesn’t present the college constructing within the distance.

Along with the Magikarp card, different prizes had been additionally out there for each entrants and winners.

All entrants would obtained a pair of Tamamushi College pencils, in addition to a Hyper Take a look at College Pocket book. The ultimate designs for these merchandise would totally different from what was pictured within the journal’s foldout flyer. The pencils could be mild blue in coloration as a substitute, and had guidelines from the varsity code written on either side of hexagonal pencils.

Ultimate pencil design

The pocket book’s cowl design would additionally shift to incorporate a clean space for the scholars to place a sticker (doubtless their ID card) on the duvet. It will additionally embody the Hyper (Extremely Ball) graphic on its cowl, alluding to its Hyper Professor Examination origins.

Back and front cowl of the Hyper Professor Pocket book, courtesy of linkdu83

There are then a number of clean lined pages with Pokemon within the background, ostensibly for the coed to make use of for precise notes. The underside of every of those pages particulars a “Mini Analysis Theme” as a immediate for the coed.

Some instance themes are “Some animals are energetic in the course of the day, and a few are nocturnal. Does this habits sample additionally apply to Pokemon?”, and “What can we consider in an effort to make the very best use of Pokemon skills to assist people?”

The following few pages of the pocket book featured workout routines for college students to do. Every train was labeled as a “Class hour”, much like how colleges in the true world held their courses.

After the category train part, there have been a number of pages on “prime secret” Pokemon analysis. This mainly amounted to trivia about numerous Pokemon like Porygon and Gloom. Moreover, there was a proposed system that might translate Pokemon into human speech. It additionally included a research of Pokemon that might fly, together with ones that flew with out wings like Magnemite, Mew, Gastly, Gyarados, and Dragonair.

The ultimate part of the pocket book was a faculty calendar that ranged from April to August. Every month had a brief description of the occasions that occurred at Tamamushi College throughout that month. These included issues like welcome ceremonies, college golf equipment, sports activities, and excursions.

Lastly, 1000 winners would additionally obtain a Tamamushi College Pennant. One other 600 of those pennants could be issued through the sooner August lottery to different entrants.

College Pennant (1600 issued) courtesy of linkdu83

January – February 1999: College Anthem

After the Hyper Professor examination, the subsequent two problems with the grade-specific magazines recapped the occasions of 1998, and likewise started the finalization of the Tamamushi anthem.

The January difficulty would announce that the choice for the varsity anthem was beneath overview, and likewise spotlight 3 really useful entries. The college anthem could be revealed on the ninth Subsequent Era World Passion Truthful, held in Tokyo from December 12, 1998 – January 24, 1999. It additionally revealed that particular Tamamushi College merchandise like a particular pennant could be given away on the occasion.

Translated announcement from pg. 44-45 of the January 1999 sixth Grade difficulty, scan offered by secretsuperbattle

Ultimately, this college anthem could be given away through cassette tape to random winners, doubtless on the ninth Subsequent Era World Passion Truthful. No less than one such tape was personally signed by Matsumoto.

To the highest 3 Professors

Congratulations!!Whether or not it’s an occasion or a faculty, be sure you do it. Sing it! !!


Professor Matsumoto’s observe on the cassette

The January difficulty of the magazines would additionally embody a research information for the Hyper Professor Examination that was introduced within the earlier difficulty, and in addition to the announcement of the Tremendous Professor Examination winners.

The winner announcement would spotlight a selected particular person in every grade who managed to attain full marks on each the Professor examination and the Tremendous Professor Examination. It additionally showcased the particular Magikarp with the “Dragon Rage” transfer, and famous that those that bought full marks additionally had a possibility to get this Pokemon for his or her video games. These had been doubtless distributed on the upcoming ninth Subsequent Era World Passion Truthful.

March 1999: Commencement Examination

The ultimate stage of the marketing campaign was the commencement examination. Just like the earlier exams, contributors didn’t must have handed all of the earlier exams to take part within the occasion.

The commencement examination was structured very in a different way than the earlier Entrance Examination and three Professor exams. As a substitute of answering a sequence of Pokemon-themed questions, examinees must illustrate a Pokemon utilizing a brand-new assault on the again of a postcard and mail it in.

Commencement examination and Hyper Professor announcement from pg. 222 – 223 of the March 1999 sixth Grade difficulty, scan offered by secretsuperbattle

Even those that had not taken the earlier exams had been allowed to take part within the commencement examination to try to earn a commencement certificates. There have been a number of designs for the commencement certificates, doubtless for various years.

The certificates textual content appears to be an identical irrespective of the design, and reads:

Commencement Certificates

You’ve been enthusiastic in regards to the research of Pokemon, and we certify that you’ve accomplished a year-long course at Tamamushi College.

March 1999, Tamamushi College

Commencement Certificates translation

Every certificates could be issued with a singular quantity. This quantity was used was used a lottery quantity for entrants to additionally obtain particular Tamamushi College merchandise. 10 winners could be chosen by Shogakukan’s editorial division, and 10 winners could be chosen by lottery for a complete of 20 winners.

This difficulty additionally included a listing of winners for every grade who handed the Hyper Professor examination, together with the full variety of entrants and winners.

Excerpt from the sixth grade difficulty

Sooner or later throughout or close to the tip of the marketing campaign, kids had been additionally capable of take assessments through a web site (doubtless Pokemon’s or Shogakukan’s). Finishing these would award the coed with a printable certificates.

Printed web certificates

This certificates, when translated reads:

Certificates of commendation

You may have achieved all the right solutions to the examination questions within the School of Letters, School of Science and Engineering, and School of Sociology on the Pokemon Tamamushi College Web, and have been acknowledged as a superb Pokemon Professor. We commend you.

Translated web certificates


The Tamamushi marketing campaign was distinctive in each its longevity and execution. Up to now, Pokemon has by no means repeated one thing much like it. It was one of the vital interactive Pokemon campaigns ever completed, which is doubly spectacular contemplating on the time the primary technique to attain its meant viewers was mail and magazines.

The promotional Magikarp card issued in the course of the marketing campaign stays one of the vital costly promo playing cards, particularly in greater grades. On account of its distribution, the cardboard ended up within the fingers of elementary college kids, which means that mint copies are fairly costly.


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