Hidekazu Yukawa: the face of the Dreamcast passed away... in 2021

Hidekazu Yukawa: the face of the Dreamcast passed away… in 2021

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As revealed in this article by Shûkan Josei PRIME relayed on Yahoo! News in Japan, the former leader died of aspiration pneumonia last year after battling the disease for several years. The family would simply have liked to mourn in the strictest privacy; only relatives and “the people who took care of him” in his later years were kept secret. Born on May 16, 1943 in Osaka Prefecture, Yukawa was 78 years old.

Following in the footsteps of the mythical Segata Sanshiro from the Saturn period, Yukawa had risen to fame by stepping up to the plate himself for what was already the last-ditch operation for SEGA. In this year 1998, the leader of CSK, the holding which will hold a good part of SEGA until the turn of the 2000s, found itself in the spotlight to ensure the promotion of the Dreamcast, and to clear the affront of Sony in the wake of the success of the PlayStation. A personal investment considered so convincing by the Japanese public that his face will adorn the first copies of the machine marketed in the land of the Rising Sun. A Dreamcast that he himself will distribute the day of the release throughout Akihabara, the electronics district, as never fails to remind our national Gregpresent at the scene on November 27, 1998.

The character of Yukawa Senmu will subsequently appear in other campaigns, in particular to apologize for the breaks in consoles which will occur in the weeks of the launch, following manufacturing concerns. This long-term promotion will be noticed by advertisers in Japan, even winning the prize of excellence at the 38th edition of the ACC All Japan CM Festival, which rewards professionals in the sector. We will also see the leader in a parody game all to his glory on Dreamcast, Yukawa Motosenmu no Otakara Sagashia treasure hunt game to find ancient SEGA-related relics, not to mention appearances in Sonic Adventure through mini-games, or a QTE-based chase in What’s Shen Mue?the promotional GD-ROM aimed at raising awareness of what was at the time the most expensive production in video game history.

The love story between SEGA and Yukawa Senmu dates back to 1968, when the person concerned met Isao Ôkawa, another name inseparable from the brand, quickly seduced by his profile and his personality. Yukawa would leave Momoyama Gakuin University’s economics faculty to join Computer Service, which would later become CSK, before being seconded to SEGA several times throughout its rich history. He was thus appointed senior general manager and deputy general manager of the Consumer Businesses division of SEGA in 1998, the year the Dreamcast was released.

Before interpreting his own role, the leader had already appeared in various promotional spots for the needs of the company, such as this advertisement dedicated to Robopitcher, or this other spot presenting the assisted drawing software by interposed console, the TV Oekaki of SG -1000 and Sega Mark III. An experience that is undoubtedly valuable when returning to the cameras many years later.

The mixed reactions of surprise and amazement did not fail as soon as the article was published. “Mr. Yukawa had died? I didn’t know. I pray for the rest of his soul. Mr. Yukawa treated me well in many ways and it makes me nostalgicthus declares Yûji Naka, which will also have worked to popularize the 128-bit of SEGA by working on two of its emblematic games, Sonic Adventure and Phantasy Star Online. Naka adds that he attended the funeral last month. Interpreter of Sonic since 1998 and the release of the Dreamcast episode, Jun’ichi Kanemaru is also surprised to learn of this death so late when expressing his condolences.

Also read | The History of the Dreamcast, by Oscar Lemaire


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