In 1974, in A Year Without Santa Claus, the Heat and Snow Misers were introduced -- one who focused on heat and one who focused on snow. This seems to carry similar concepts of the game Pokémon (fire type, ice type, water type, special powers regarding fire, water, ice, etc.). Pokémon was released in 1996. Did A Year Without Santa Claus influence Pokémon?
The most commonly known in the west are Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, largely due to Greek philosophers who thought these (plus a later addition, Aether) were the basis for everything that exists.
There are other variations as well, such as in China, where the elements were Fire, Earth, Metal (gold), Water, and Wood. In this system, each one supported one other element and overpowered another.
These ideas show up all over the place, as seen on TVTropes (Warning: time consuming).
The genesis for Pokémon; Pocket Monsters (according to this interview by Time magazine with the game's creator; Satoshi Tajiri) was his love of collecting insects. That, and his knowledge of Ultraman's capsule monsters led him to create a game that would allow two players to directly battle each other:
Tajiri: Usually all the kids did it the same way, with the honey. None of my friends would do what I did. I got more insects than anyone.
TIME: So you were collecting Pokémon a long time ago! Did you make the insects fight against each other?
Tajiri: No, but sometimes they would eat each other.
TIME: Did you get the idea for Pokémon from these insects?
Tajiri: Yes. Places to catch insects are rare because of urbanization. Kids play inside their homes now, and a lot had forgotten about catching insects. So had I. When I was making games, something clicked and I decided to make a game with that concept. Everything I did as a kid is kind of rolled into one--that's what Pokémon is. Playing video games, watching TV, Ultraman with his capsule monsters--they all became ingredients for the game.