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Nintendo Switch

The Story of Nintendo

Mario Brothers, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Link, Princess Zelda, Yoshi and Kirby are just a few of the popular characters of Nintendo that many of us have grown up with. Nintendo can be regarded as one of the icons of video gaming and some of the characters have had television shows and have even been stars in  movies.

Nintendo Headquarters 1889

Nintendo Headquarters 1889.

The making of a legend

Nintendo Co., a Japanese multinational electronics and video game company founded in 1889 as Nintendo Karuta, originally called Nintendo Koppai (Koppai meaning “cards” or “playing cards” in Japanese). The founded was a craftsman named Fusajiro Yamauchi, who originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. Japanese culture stipulates that for Nintendo Koppai to continue as a family business after Yamauchi retires, he must have an heir to continue the business. He adopted his son-in-law, Sekiryo Kaneda, who adopted the Yamauchi surname in 1907.  He became the second president of the company in 1929. He was succeeded by hi grandson Hiroshi.



In 1963, In 1969, under the leadership of Hiroshi the company needed to diversify. This led the company to list stock on the second section of the Osaka and Kyoto stock exchanges, making it  a public company, another big leap was changing its name to Nintendo Co., Ltd..

In 1969, Gunpei Yokoi joined the company. His experience in manufacturing electronic devices led Hiroshi Yamauchi to put him in charge of the company’s games department which produced Japan’s first electronic toy—the Nintendo Beam Gun, an optoelectronic pistol designed by Masayuki Uemura.

Realizing acclaim

The growing demand for Nintendo’s products led to its further expansion and continued to develop innovative products.

Nintendo distributed its first video game console, the Color TV-Game, in 1977. In 1985, Nintendo gained international acclaim with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Nintendo has since produced some of the most popular consoles in the video game industry, to name a few, Game Boy, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Wii, the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo numerous franchises include Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Mario, Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Smash Bros., Donkey Kong and much more.

The Kyoto based company also has multiple subsidiaries in Japan and abroad and its staff has received a multitude of awards such as Game Awards, Emmy Awards for Technology & Engineering, British Game Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards.

Nintendo, Tokyo

There used to be only one official Nintendo store in the world in New York City in the U.S. Finally in 2019, Japan launched the first official store in Japan, Nintendo, Tokyo. The Nintendo store in Japan is located at Shibuya PARCO, a newly renovates shopping complex. Pokemon Center Shibuya is also located in the complex!

The store offers a wide range of the latest Nintendo products including consoles, video games and Nintendo game character merchandise. Special events and interactive game demonstrations are also among the things to look forward to.

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!