Following the sad passing of Nintendo chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi, who led the company as CEO for over 50 years before handing the reins to Satoru Iwata in 2002, over 2,000 people attended the memorial which was held in Japan on Saturday.
The news was revealed by former Nintendo Executive Howard Lincoln who is now CEO of Nintendo-owned Seattle Mariners baseball team.
“There’s a flood of recollections,” Lincoln said in an interview with BizJournals.
“I’ve known and worked for him (Yamauchi) for more than 30 years. More than 2,000 people came to his (memorial) in Japan on Saturday, I was told. He was a man of small stature and commanding presence. People liked him. I saw him in action in Japan and the United States, and he was always very warm. He was a visionary. We need to think about and never forget all he did for Seattle and for the Northwest.”
“He was always very kind to me and I really appreciated the fact that he had confidence in me from 1982 when I first met him to now. I can still see him sitting in the conference room in Kyoto with that kind smile. It’s really a sad day.”
Yamauchi purchased the Mariners for US$100 Million is 1992 as a thank you gift to the people of the Pacific Northwest region in USA. He also said the purchase was purely out of a desire to make people happy.
“If it were for business, I would not have accepted the offer, I believe,” Yamauchi said at the time of the purchase.
“It’s quite another reason that I went ahead with the Mariners. Of course, it’s nothing like I’m going to throw money in the drain or nothing like that, because I am going to get some of the ownership. … And I may be able to help people to be happy.”
Yamauchi died last week aged 85 in Japan after a battle of pneumonia. At the time of his death he was serving as Nintendo Chairman and owned the majority of shares in the company.
Yamauchi was the great-grandson of the founder of Nintendo Fusajiro Yamauchi who built the company in 1889 (known then as ‘Nintendo Koppai’) to sell a playing card game called Hanafuda.