44 Facts About Hiroshi Yamauchi


Hiroshi Yamauchi was a Japanese businessman and the third president of Nintendo, joining the company in 1949 until stepping down on 24 May 2002, being subsequently succeeded by Satoru Iwata.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was the great-grandson of Fusajiro Yamauchi, Nintendo's first president and founder.


In 2008, Hiroshi Yamauchi was Japan's wealthiest person with a fortune at that time estimated at $7.8 billion.


At the time of his death, Hiroshi Yamauchi was the largest shareholder at Nintendo.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was born in Kyoto to father Shikanojo Inaba and mother Kimi.


Hiroshi Yamauchi's father abandoned them both when he was five years old, and his mother was unable to cope as a single parent so she gave him up to her parents.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was sent to a preparatory school in Kyoto at age twelve.

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Hiroshi Yamauchi planned to study law or engineering, but World War II disrupted his studies.


Once the war ended in 1945, Hiroshi Yamauchi went to Waseda University to study law.


Hiroshi Yamauchi had to leave his law degree at Waseda University to do so.


Reluctantly, Hiroshi Yamauchi's grandfather agreed, and died shortly thereafter in 1949.


Hiroshi Yamauchi had the company name changed to Nintendo Karuta and established its new headquarters in Kyoto.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was the sole judge of potential new products, and only a product that appealed to him and his instincts went on the market.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was the first to introduce the plastic Western playing card into the Japanese market.


Hiroshi Yamauchi's first "hit" came when he made a licensing agreement with Walt Disney in 1959 for his plastic playing cards.


Hiroshi Yamauchi then decided to travel to the US to visit the United States Playing Card Company, the world's biggest manufacturer of playing cards.


However, one day, Hiroshi Yamauchi spotted a factory engineer named Gunpei Yokoi playing with a simple extendable claw, something Yokoi made to amuse himself during his break.


Hiroshi Yamauchi ordered Yokoi to develop the extendable claw into a proper product.


Hiroshi Yamauchi created a new department called Games and Setup, manned initially by only Yokoi and another employee who looked after the finances and was situated in a warehouse in Kyoto for the purpose of research and development.


Hiroshi Yamauchi realized that technological breakthroughs in the electronic industry meant that electronics could be incorporated into entertainment products since the prices were decreasing.


Hiroshi Yamauchi negotiated a license with Magnavox to sell its game console, the Magnavox Odyssey.


Hiroshi Yamauchi had Nintendo expand into the United States to take advantage of the growing American arcade market.


Hiroshi Yamauchi hired his son-in-law Minoru Arakawa to head the new American operation.


Hiroshi Yamauchi instituted three separate research and development units, which competed with one another and aimed for innovation.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was so confident with the Famicom that he promised an electronics company one million unit orders within two years.

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Hiroshi Yamauchi believed that technicians did not create excellent games, but artists did.


Hiroshi Yamauchi had displayed from the beginning a knack at identifying good games even though he had never played them, and he continued to do so alone until at least 1994.


Nevertheless, Hiroshi Yamauchi said at a press conference that he still had faith in it and that the company would continue developing games for it.


Around this time Hiroshi Yamauchi publicly stated that he wanted to retire but did not think there were any good candidates to succeed him yet.


Hiroshi Yamauchi talked at E3 about the impact that the release of Xbox would have on the GameCube.


Hiroshi Yamauchi touted the GameCube as a machine designed exclusively to be a video game console, opting not to include media playback.


On 24 May 2002, Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down as president of Nintendo and was succeeded by the head of Nintendo's Corporate Planning Division, Satoru Iwata.


Hiroshi Yamauchi subsequently became the chairman of Nintendo's board of directors.


Hiroshi Yamauchi left the board on 29 June 2005, due to his age, and because he believed that he was leaving the company in good hands.


Hiroshi Yamauchi refused to accept his retirement pension, which was reported to be around $9 to $14 million, believing that Nintendo could put it to better use.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was the 12th richest man in Japan due to his shares in Nintendo since its success with the Wii and Nintendo DS consoles.


Hiroshi Yamauchi donated the majority of the 7.5 billion yen to build a new cancer treatment center in Kyoto.


When Hiroshi Yamauchi was close to 30, his half-sister contacted him and informed him that Shikanojo had died of a stroke.


Hiroshi Yamauchi began feeling sorry that he had not taken the opportunity to reconcile with his father when he was still alive.


Hiroshi Yamauchi has been described as a stern man with a single-minded focus on his business.


Hiroshi Yamauchi did not play video games; his sole serious hobby was the strategy board game Go, though Masayuki Uemura, the primary engineer of the original NES, has stated that he enjoyed hanafuda and would play cards with Nintendo employees at parties.


Hiroshi Yamauchi was ranked a seventh Dan at Go, roughly equivalent to chessmaster.


Hiroshi Yamauchi offered to buy the franchise, even though he had never been to a baseball game.


On 19 September 2013, aged 85, Hiroshi Yamauchi died at a hospital following complications of pneumonia.