Yuji Naka (中 裕司 Naka Yūji , born September 17, 1965 in Osaka, Osaka Prefecture), is a video game designer, programmer, the former head of Sonic Team, a group of Sega programmers/designers, the lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and the head of Prope.
After graduating high school, Naka decided to skip university and stay in his home town. During this time, Naka worked long hours at various menial jobs. After quitting his last job, Naka saw that Sega was looking for programming assistants. After a brief interview, he was hired and began working on a game called Girl's Garden, which earned him critical praise and fan appreciation. He programmed the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, while Naoto Ōshima designed the character and Hirokazu Yasuhara planned the stages. Naka has also produced several other titles like Nights into Dreams..., Burning Rangers and Phantasy Star Online. In early games he was often credited as "YU2" (in reference to Yu Suzuki) and "Muuu Yuji". He is one of the few famous Japanese game creators to speak fluent English.
Naka also helped create a popular EyeToy game for the PlayStation 2 called Sega Superstars, and finds mention in Shadow the Hedgehog where GUN soldiers will occasionally call out "Mister Yuji Naka is all right".
On the moveEdit
In news released on March 16 2006, Naka announced that he intended to create his own game studio, independent of Sega and Sega Studio USA (a.k.a. Sonic Team USA) . This decision bears resemblance to Naoto Oshima's departure of Sonic Team in 1999, when he founded Artoon.
In April, 2006 the Japanese game magazine Famitsu published a rumor saying that a game creator who recently went independent is creating a game featuring a flying clown, for the upcoming Wii system. Many people were led to believe that the developer was Naka and the game would be a Nights sequel. However, according to IGN, the rumor story hinted that this had something to do with someone who created a famous bearded character, a description which didn't fit Naka. 
Naka is also known for the development, during his spare time, of a NES/Famicom emulator for Sega Mega Drive, but it was never released for legal reasons. This may be the first software emulator running on a console.