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Hiroshi Yamauchi ,山内 博, (1949-2002), who successfully transformed his great-grandfather’s playing-card company, the widely respected former Nintendo president passed away on Thursday at the age of 85.
Yamauchi joined Nintendo in 1949 after his father experienced a sudden stroke, not one to sit ideally by, he quickly took control of the company while “forcing out a cousin and later purging officers appointed by his grandfather.” During the early seventies, Yamauchi became chairman and soon became the dominate driving force in establishing Nintendo as an electronic entertainment juggernaut.
By 1992, Yamauchi made the decision to purchase the Seatle Mariners baseball team for $100 million (USD) as a way of “thanking the people of Washington for their treatment of Nintendo.” During that time, the franchise (not Nintendo) was under heavy scrutiny do to it’s poor track record. Threats concerning the team leaving Seattle was a sure bet if a new owner couldn’t be found.
Much of Nintendo’s success has been credited to Yamauchi’s guidance do to his forward thinking and ability to adapt to the changing world market. His involvement led to the creation of living legacy’s such as the Famicom (NES), Super Famicom (SNES) and the portable GameBoy. After the release of the GameCube, Yamauchi stepped down — “I have no energy left,” he told reporters — from Nintendo in 2002 after 53 years and settled into retirement. He relinquished his title to his predecessor, Satoru Iwata.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata expressed his candor:
“Nintendo is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning, We will continue to treasure the values Yamauchi taught us – that what makes you unique lies at the core of entertainment. And we at Nintendo will continue to change the company flexibly to adapt to the times, as Yamauchi did, to carry on his spirit.”
Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away in a Kyoto hospital, where he had been suffering from pneumonia, the company said. Yamauchi’s survivors include a son, Katsuhito.
In one of his last interviews was with the magazine Nikkei Business in 2003 where he offered more direct answer regarding the gaming market.
“That’s absolutely wrong; the gaming wars, they will never end,” he said, adding: “That’s just not how this business works. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.” (NY Times)
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Please show your respects and leave a comment below. It is important to honor our elders.sports illustrated, the new york times, joystiq
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