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Keiko Erikawa

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Keiko Erikawa (襟川 恵子, Erikawa Keiko, born on January 3, 1949 in Hiyoshi, Kanagawa) is one of the founders of Koei and a design graduate of Tama Art University who was originally studying for a fashion career. She is Kou Shibusawa's wife, making them one of the richest married couples in the video game industry. They have two daughters, Mei and Ai. Mei works at the company as an executive director for Ruby Party games while Ai is named a corporate director for the company.

Erikawa was the executive director of the company until she stepped down with her husband in 2002. As of April 1, 2015, she is the Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors. Unlike her husband, Erikawa doesn't and hasn't referred to herself under any pen name for her game credits.

Before KOEI's creation, Erikawa lived in Hiyoshi. Once she learned of her father-in-law's financial woes with his company, the married couple didn't want to be the ones to file for the company's bankruptcy. Both were looking forward to becoming entrepreneurs and didn't want to be involved with the Erikawa family's financial burdens. After her father-in-law insisted that he was handing them "an opportunity," they resigned to rejuvenate the fallen company and carry out her father-in-law's legacy in a positive light. While the Erikawa couple went to Asakura, their parents retired to Erikawa's home in Hiyoshi and opened a computer store.

Shibusawa felt he wasn't made for executive paperwork and spent many days mulling over his new assumed responsibility. He carried around a "dream box" of written ideas but didn't feel confident pursuing them. Wishing to cheer her husband from his stress, Erikawa splurged and purchased the Sharp MZ for his birthday. Her spontaneous gift and his following fascination with it became the catalysts for Shibusawa's desire to start a video game developing company.

Though Shibusawa was happy to do something for his dreams, Erikawa had to constantly remind him that they were nearly broke and needed to make a profit. Her husband wanted to make payments for the first Nobunaga's Ambition optional; Erikawa sternly demanded him to put a price tag on it.

Erikawa was the first to reach out to other manufactures and companies for expanding their user base. When she first started pitching her ideas to Nintendo in the 1980s, none of the representatives took her seriously. Despite the lukewarm reception, she persevered and many of her business decisions fostered and stabilized the company. Erikawa comments in retrospect that she is responsible for Koei's "bad reputation" during its early years but was "too young and fearless" at the time to let it affect her.

Creative FocusesEdit

Erikawa's desire to start the Neoromance series was due to the lack of women in the Japanese video game industry at the time of its creation. She was the only woman working for Koei in the 1980s, and she believed that it was because the market was entirely male dominated and filled with violent imagery. It took about ten years to create a game for women since she wanted a group of women to write and conceive it with her. Erikawa continues to herald the resulting Angelique as a true first for the company and the Japanese video game market.

Her continued promotion for female interest in video games is driven by another desire to inspire more women to get work in the industry. Even if the gender divide has improved since then, Erikawa still feels Japan is behind the rest of the world.

While Shibusawa divulges into his interests of global history and simulation games, Erikawa seeks to expand the company's reputation into other video game genres. Erikawa keeps a close eye on trends in the gaming market and tries to promote products she feels reflects the times. She encouraged the development of Gitaroo-Man, Opoona, Shaberu! DS Oryouri Navi Marugoto Teikoku Hotel, and Apsaras. Erikawa is also responsible for expressing approval for the online gaming side of Koei, especially for Nobunaga's Ambition and Uncharted Waters. According to Hisashi Koinuma, the collaboration for the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series was started when Erikawa said to him, "I want to use a Gundam~!"

Erikawa believes that establishing a firm link of communication with consumers is an important feature for their games, seeking to have them be easy to play and enjoyable by anyone who buys them. She is a pacifist at heart and wants to promote "world peace" with the company's products.

More often than not, she is present during the accepting ceremonies for the awards the company receives.

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