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Hiroshi Yamauchi

Shuntaro Furukawa

Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa recently sat down with Nikkei to discuss his approach to leading the company through the current Switch era, as well as what influences past presidents like Satoru Iwata and Hiroshi Yamauchi had on him. He acknowledges that Iwata’s style is not something anybody can replicate but noted that even though he’s no longer with the company, Iwata’s influence remains at the company.

For Furukawa’s full comments, you can find Nintendo Everything’s full translation after the jump.

Hiroshi Yamauchi was Nintendo’s president for over 50 years. During his lengthy tenure, Yamauchi was known for some interesting philosophies, including how “the president of Nintendo needs to be a little unusual.”

One investor brought this point up during Nintendo’s financial results briefing last week. Current president Tatsumi Kimishima was also asked about the criteria he used to select Shuntaro Furukawa as the next president.

It’s no secret that Nintendo’s president and CEO Satoru Iwata has been under the pump in recent months with the company’s current financial standing. In an interview with Japanese news outlet Diamond, Iwata had the following to say about the Nintendo going forward (translated by the folks over at Siliconera):

“Surely, a lot of people around the world must think ‘Nintendo is a company that is just for video games,’ about us, and I believe that there are more and more of our own employees who’ve begun to think like that,” said Iwata. “Some employees that are in charge of making things, are often kept positions where they have to think of how they can make the game in front of them more fun, so I don’t think it can be helped if others outside of our company think like that.”

“So, even if the fact that our focus being video games won’t be changing, I felt the need to take this occasion to say ‘Nintendo is a company that can do whatever they want’.”

“This subject came to light when Yamauchi passed away, but I felt that ‘our surroundings are greatly changing. We need to redefine what Nintendo must do, from this point on’. However, I felt that saying ‘Nintendo will do anything,’ was also the wrong  idea for the company.”

“Yamauchi was one to always say ‘Nintendo is a company for entertainment, and it shouldn’t be for anything else,’ and he didn’t necessarily think that ‘entertainment = video games’. I’ve been wondering how to express Yamauchi’s feelings, and I’ve been thinking about it non-stop, even during the New Year’s holiday break.”

“Lately, the words ‘QOL’ (quality of life) have come up,” says Iwata. “Entertainment is there to improve people’s quality of life. After your basic needs, there’s entertainment. However, when it comes to ‘improving people’s quality of life,’ I didn’t know the difference between us and household appliance makers.”

“At the start of this year, I finally figured that ‘improving people’s quality of life with fun,’ with emphasis to the ‘fun’ would be perfect for Nintendo. And that’s when I decided to use this as a focus during the financial results meeting in January and wrote the manuscript for the presentation.”


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Nintendo has officially announced the completion of its 11.4 billion yen share buyback. In total, the company acquired 9.5 million shares for 12,025 yen each, representing approximately 7.4 percent of its outstanding stock.

Nintendo’s purchase includes the 10 percent stake previously owned by the Hiroshi Yamauchi family. Yamauchi served as president of Nintendo for over 50 years.

The amount of shares sold by Yamauchi’s heirs is unclear. Moreover, it’s uncertain which member of the family sold stock in the buyback.

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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata shared an interesting nugget of information about the Pokemon franchise last week.

Initially, the company was given an indication that the creatures shouldn’t adopt the “cute” aesthetic fans have come to know of today. “This cute yellow thing is not a monster, everyone told us,” Iwata said.

Hiroshi Yamauchi, however, stuck to his guns. Yamauchi was shown mock-ups of a muscular Pikachu, but it didn’t sit well with the former Nintendo president.

“When you adapt too much, you lose what’s unique about you,” Iwata concluded.

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The family of Hiroshi Yamauchi has a “desire to sell” its shares, Bloomberg reports. Yamauchi was president of Nintendo for over 50 years and passed away last September.

Yamauchi’s heirs currently maintain 10 percent of the total shares for Nintendo. Yet despite the family’s interest in selling its shares, it’s unclear just how much they intend to part with.

Meanwhile, Nintendo will initiate its buyback program worth totaling 114.2 billion-yen ($1.1 billion) tomorrow. The company could puchase as many as 9.5 million shares (7.4 percent) at 12,025 yen each.


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