Billionaire Nintendo Changemaker Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies

The long-time leader of Nintendo and an icon of Japan’s videogame industry, Hiroshi Yamauchi, passed away today in Japan at the age of 85.


Nintendo released a statement saying the company “is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning.”

Yamauchi took over the family company, founded by his grandfather in 1889 as a maker of playing cards, after his grandfather suffered a stroke. Over his 53 year reign,  the college dropout transformed Nintendo into a global video game industry powerhouse. His vision launched the Game Boy console and the classic Donkey Kong and Super Marios video games.

In 2002, Yamauchi stepped down as Nintendo president because of bad health, but kept on as an adviser. He left the company in good shape: sales reached $4.5 billion and profits almost tripled to $1.3 billion, thanks in part to the success of a new portable video game player. At his request he gave up his retirement $11 million allowance and asked that it be included in company profit instead.

Yamauchi bought the Seattle Mariners baseball team in 1992, later transferring it to the company’s U.S. unit.In 2005, Yamauchi left Nintendo’s board of directors, but remained the largest individual shareholder with a 10% stake. As of April 2013, Forbes estimated Yamauchi’s net worth at $2.1 billion; he was #13 on this year’s Japan rich list.Yamauchi will be buried on Saturday. He is survived by his wife and three children.

2 thoughts on “Billionaire Nintendo Changemaker Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies

  1. I got a Nes for my fourth birthday, I turned 24 this year and I don’t consider a second of my time playing mario as a kid and pokemon right into adulthood as time wasted. Video games reinforced in me the importance of being a good guy, of finding the princess no matter how many times you were in the wrong castle, of catching them all and knowing when to let them go. Video games helped shape me into a decent human being, taught me the value of loyalty and hard work and how to keep trying even if it seems impossible. Nintendo was the beginning of this love of mine. I will always be grateful to gaming for all it has given me and I am deeply sorry that such a beautiful mind has completed the final level. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. R.I.P Hiroshi Yamauchi Thank you for everything ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s