More than earthquakes are shaking up Japan as it’s citizens mourn the loss of one of their most influential businessman. Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi was pronounced dead at age 85.
According to the company, Yamauchi died of pneumonia in a Japanese hospital in Kyoto. He is succeeded by his eldest son Katsuhito Yamauchi. Hiroshi came to control the company in 1949 after the passing of his grandfather.
When he first came to control the company at age 22, he made traditional playing cards. Yamauchi turned the company to board games and light-up toys before moving to arcade games. The smash success of Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong opened doors to Nintendo’s success as a household video game giant.
Since the release of the Famicom gaming system in 1983, Nintendo has gone on to release systems like the Gameboy, Nintendo WiiU, and Nintendo 3DS under Yamauchi’s guidance.
The businessman is also responsible for partnering with Gamefreak to create a successful line of Poke’mon video games based on the popular anime and manga of the same name.
Yamauchi was one of the richest men in Japan. He was also the first foreign man to own an American baseball team after he purchased the Seattle Mariners in 1992. Yamauchi steered Nintendo in a direction of innovation and originality.
Yamauchi is quoted as saying before this year’s E3 video gaming conference, “The people who speak about the next generation are people who don’t know games.”
Thoughts like these are what led many gamers to think of Nintendo as a company that operated outside the general rules of the business and gaming world.
The company held a funeral for Yamauchi on Sunday.