1889... Fusajiro founds Nintendo Koppai to sell his Hanafunda cards.
The Hanafunda deck consisted of 48 cards divided in 12 different suits, one for each month of the year. Instead of numbers the cards had different symbols like the wind, a deer, the moon or the chrysanthemum. A different combination of symbols and suits was worth different many points. The most popular Hanafunda game you could play was a simple matching card game that could become very complex and was taken very seriously by the players. The cards were sold in Nintendo's own shops in both Kyoto and Osaka but they became most popular in the Kyoto region. In other regions Fusajiro sold other cards with different symbols like swords and mountains. At first the Hanafunda cards were only used as a domestic amusement and Fusajiro didnt sell any big amounts of the handmade cards. But after a while, the cards began to be used in gambling and the Yakuza (The Japanese Mafia) began using the Hanafunda cards in their high stake games. Since all the professional players wanted to start a new game with a fresh deck, Fusajiro suddenly had problems keeping up with the demands! He had to start training apprentices to mass-produce the cards.
Fusajiro expands his business and Nintendo becomes the
first company to succeed in manufacturing western style playing cards
and managing to successfully sell them in Japan. Now Fusajiro needed a
better distribution system for his cards so Fusajiro struck a deal with
Japan Tobacco & Salt Public Corporation to sell the cards in their
1929 Fusajiro retires and Sekiryo Yamauchi
takes over the company.
Fusajiro retires and Sekiryo Kaneda which after his marriage
with Fusajiro's daughter Tei Yamauchi got the Yamauchi surname took over
as the second Nintendo president. By now Nintendo was the largest playing
cards company in Japan! 1933 Establishes a joint-venture partnership called
Yamauchi Nintendo &Co.
1947 A distribution company was established.
An distribution company named Marufuku Co. Ltd. was established
to distribute Nintendo's new western style cards like the pinochle and
1949 Hiroshi Yamauchi takes office as
president at Nintendo after his grandfather Sekiryo.
Hiroshi Yamauchi (the current president at Nintendo)
took office as president instead of his father Shikanojo who ran away
when Hiroshi was only 5 years old leaving him and his mother Kimi alone.
He knew that he was not welcome by the Nintendo's employees so he started
firing all the old managers and many of the old workers to make sure that
there were no one to question his authority!
1951 Name change to Nintendo Playing Cards
Hiroshi changed the distribution company's name to Nintendo
Playing Cards Co. Ltd. (or Nintendo Karuta Co. Ltd in Japan)
1952 Hiroshi modernized Nintendo and moved
Hiroshi moved the Nintendo HQ to a newer building on
the Takamatsu-cho street and consolidated the production plants in Kyoto
to make the card producing process more efficient.
1959 Hiroshi strikes deal with Disney!
Hiroshi strikes an a deal with Disney to let Nintendo
produce playing cards featuring Disney's characters. With the aid of successful
TV ads and a good distribution system through many big toy and department
stores around Japan these cards sold in no less than 600.000 packs that
1963(-68) Name change to Nintendo Co.
Ltd and starts to produce various products.
This year they changed the company name to what it is today, Nintendo Co. Ltd. and started to manufacturing games and toys instead of playing cards. New products were produced. For example a portioned instant rice which sadly became a failure. After that Hiroshi opened a "love hotel" with room rented by the hour. Fact is that Hiroshi himself was a big costumer at this love hotel although that he was a married man (His wife knew about his visits but she ignored it)! Another of Hiroshi's projects was"Daiya" a taxi company which was going well but after having to negotiate with far to powerful taxi driver unions wanting higher salaries etc he closed this business and later he also closed the love hotel also.
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