Case Study: Nintendo “Reviving a Company, Transforming a Market” I. Company Background Nintendo Company is a Japanese multinational consumer Electronics Company headquartered in Kyoto , Japan . It was originally founded in 1889 to produce handmade hanafuda cards, a playing cards of Japanese origin that are used to play a number of games. Nintendo eventually became one of the most prominent figures in today's video game industry , being the world's largest video by revenue. Nintendo started out as a small Japanese business, founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi on September 23, 1889, as Nintendo Koppai. Based in Kyoto, Japan , the business produced and marketed Hanafuda cards. The name "Nintendo" is commonly assumed to mean "leave luck to heaven", but there are no historical records to validate this assumption. The cards, which were all handmade, soon began to gain popularity, and Yamauchi had to hire assistants to mass-produce cards to keep up with demand. Fusajiro Yamauchi did not have a son to take over the family business. Following common Japanese tradition, he adopted his son-in-law, Sekiriryo Yamauchi, after the marriage. In 1929, Yamauchi retired from the company and allowed Sekiryo Yamauchi to take over the company as president. In 1933, Sekiryo Yamauchi established a joint venture with another company and renamed the company Yamauchi Nintendo & Company. In 1947, Sekiryo established the company Marufuku Company, Ltd., to distribute the Hanafuda cards, as well as several other brands of cards that had been introduced by Nintendo. Sekiryo Yamauchi also had only daughters, so again his son-in-law Shikanojo Inaba- Yamauchi was adopted into the family. Shikanojo never became president because he left his family. Subsequently, his son Hiroshi was brought up by his grandparents. Hiroshi later took over the company instead of his father.
1889-1956 Nintendo as Card Company Hiroshi Yamauchi attended Waseda University in Tokyo. However, after his grandfather died in 1949 he took office as the president of Nintendo. He renamed "Yamauchi Nintendo & Company" to "Nintendo Playing Card Company, Limited", and in 1951 he renamed their distribution company from "Marufuku Company, Limited," to "Nintendo Karuta Company, Limited". In 1953, Nintendo became the first company in Japan to produce playing cards from plastic. This was a huge hit and allowed Nintendo to dominate the card market. In 1956, Hiroshi Yamauchi visited the U.S., to engage in talks with the United States Playing Card Company , the dominant playing card manufacturer in the United States. Yamauchi was shocked to find that the world's biggest company in his business was relegated to using a small office. This was a turning point for Yamauchi, who then realized the limitations of the playing card business. In 1959, Nintendo struck a deal with Disney to have them allow Nintendo to use Disney's characters on Nintendo's playing cards. Previously, Western playing cards were regarded as something similar to hanafuda and mahjong: a device for gambling. By tying playing cards to
- Spring '16
- Nintendo, Nintendo Company