Throughout the Pokémon series, or at least the first ones, Ash Ketchum wears a pretty iconic hat:

Image of Ash Ketchum from the Pokémon series wearing his iconic hat

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I've read on Bulbapedia that the logo is a "stylised 'L'", however I feel like it may have a deeper meaning.

What does the icon on Ash Ketchum's (first) hat mean?

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    You might want to ask in Japanese:SE chat what the writing on the bottom right means; i.stack.imgur.com/SO5FS.jpg. I could decipher the word "Balance" AND "Hat" but that's about it. – Valorum Dec 11 '16 at 22:14

Per the Pokémon wiki

Ash's first hat, worn during the original series, is easily the most well-known: an official Pokémon League Expo hat that was red and white with a green, stylized "L" on the front, which Ash claimed to have "sent in about a million postcards" in order to obtain. Misty seems to have tried to win it as well, as she stated she sent in one postcard. Ash wore this hat during his journey through Kanto, the Orange Archipelago, and Johto, and was very attached to it, becoming enraged when a Mankey stole it and played keep-away with it in Primeape Goes Bananas. The design may be loosely based on Red's Generation I hat, and in early concept sketches for the anime, Ash's hat matched Red's exactly.

From Primeape Goes Bananas (25th episode of the first season)

Misty: I didn't know that was an official expo hat. I remember entering the same contest myself.

Ash: I had to send in a million postcards to win that hat!

Misty: He he. No wonder I didn't win, I only sent in one.

Interestingly, the hat went through several iterations before the concept artists finally settled on the "L" symbol. Unfortunately, my Japanese is insufficient to decipher the text on the right hand side at the bottom.

several sketches of Ash's hat

  • 1
    The fact that you know any Japanese is pretty cool! – Möoz Dec 11 '16 at 22:21
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    @Mooz - Enough to order a beer and get myself beaten up for accidentally calling someone's mother a gigantic nose instead of a charming host. – Valorum Dec 11 '16 at 22:26
  • Video has been blocked based on copyright grounds.... – Skooba Oct 31 '18 at 15:51
  • @Skooba - And yet because I was smart enough to transcribe the relevant bit, the post remains useful ;-) – Valorum Oct 31 '18 at 16:36
  • @Valorum absolutely! just figured you'd want to know anyway. :D – Skooba Oct 31 '18 at 17:24

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