Is Kojima Stealing Konami's Best People?
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Fun story, Shinji Hirano used to be the president of Konami Europe (and Konami America before that) and according to LinkedIn, he has been the president of Kojima Productions since November. Yeah, he didn't post that until a few days ago. Hirano had a long tenure at Konami, having worked in its various branches since July of 2005. He worked for Konami America for over 6 years, where he became that branch’s president and executive vice-president. He then went on to lead Konami’s European side from 2011 to 2015 until finally working at the pachinko maker’s headquarters in 2015 as the company’s sales division director and corporate officer. He left the company in March of 2016, bringing an end to the decade-long employment stretch.

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After such a long haul at Konami, it seems pretty crazy that he's suddenly jumping ship to join Kojima Productions. At the same time, it's fairly clear that Kojima has been poaching Konami for talent as Kojima’s personal assistant Ayako Terashima, Metal Gear Solid 5’s level designer Jackie Tan, former Konami concept artist Yoji Shinkawa, and producer Ken-ichiro Imaizumi have all joined Kojima Productions. I don't know about you, but it definitely sounds to me like Hideo Kojima inspired a lot of people and all of them are determined to follow him. I imagine they had this all planned out if the wind blew a certain way with Konami.

Judging by the way Konami treated its employees, namely locking them in a room, it is not at all surprising that so many people had a plan to leave once there was a safe way to do so. Seriously, what micromanager was on a power trip over Kojima? Even if we pretended that Kojima isn't a big sweetheart (as evidenced by his behavior in various interviews), that is no way to treat another human being. It would be perfectly natural for any witnesses of this to be terrified that it could happen to them at any moment.

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So that explains why anyone working closely with Kojima would follow immediately. But a president? I won't pretend to have a Masters in Business, but I'm pretty sure being the president is fairly up there on the cooperate ladder. So up there, that I could hardly find anything about Hirano. He hasn't been a very public figure. Needless to say, it was a risky move to go from a company he's worked at for almost a decade to a brand new one. He must really believe that Kojima Productions carries great potential.

It's obvious that Kojima Productions isn't just any company. That definitely speaks for itself with the sheer inspired following Kojima has created. Apparently it's not just Metal Gear fans who want to share the limelight with the famous producer. That said, having swayed a president to his side, it seems as though there is nothing stopping Kojima from subtly taking over Konami. I don't mean that literally, considering the company still houses the large group of people that are the reason Kojima left. It just feels possible that Kojima is going to suck the talent (Silent Hill, Metal Gear, and Castlevania) out of Konami. But would any of us really mind if he did?

Christine Pugatschew
Christine Pugatschew

Contributing Writer
Date: 12/21/2016

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