Hiroshi Yamauchi Net Worth & Biography
|Popular Name:||Hiroshi Yamauchi|
|Real Name:||Hiroshi Yamauchi|
|Birth Date:||7 November 1927|
Kyoto, Empire of Japan
|Age:||Died on 19 September 2013 (aged 85)|
Michiko Inaba (m. 1945)
|Net Worth:||$4 Billion|
Hiroshi Yamauchi was a global icon and video-games pioneer who turned Nintendo into a world successful brand with franchises such as Pokémon and Super Mario Bros. He was one of the richest businesspersons in his country of Japan, and the entirety of his wealth came from his position as the founder and president/chair of the world-renowned video game company Nintendo. During his time alive and practicing his career, he was responsible for the success of the Nintendo game cube, Nintendo 64, plastic playing cards, and other Nintendo products in addition to several Nintendo video games. Away from his involvement with video games, Hiroshi was also the majority owner of the Major Baseball League team Seattle Mariners, though he never physically attended any of the team’s games until his passing on September 19, 2013. More details follow below.
Early Life: Childhood, Education
He was born Hiroshi Yamauchi born in Koyoto, Japan on November 7, 1927, into the family of Shikanojo Inaba and Kimi. His father, Shikanojo, abandoned the family when Hiroshi was five years old, and his mother gave him up to her parents when she was unable to cope as a single parent. With his grandfather being a businessman, this adoption aligned his inheritance of what became Nintendo in the future.
At age twelve, Hiroshi was sent to a preparatory school in Kyoto. He dreamed of studying engineering or law, but the second World War happened and disrupted his studies. Since he was too young to fight in the war, he was assigned to a military factory to work. After the war ended in 1945, he went to Waseda University where he studied law.
Professional Career: Business Accomplishments
Generations of children have grown up enjoying the Legend of Zelda series, Pokémon characters, Super Mario Bros, and many other video games without ever hearing Hiroshi Yamauchi’s name. Before he died at the age of 85, Hiroshi ran Nintendo for more than five decades and turned it into a globally-reputed brand bigger than Disney. Unlike Walt Disney, Hiroshi was not a creator. He never even played video games, and was, from first to last, a businessman. He knew that children were his audience and that he was not in the technology business but in the entertainment business instead.
Outside Japan, what he managed as the Famicom brand became known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Hiroshi’s games consoles did not have the most advanced specifications, but they were surely affordable and enjoyable. And also extremely profitable for the businessman.
His strategy of low-cost hardware and high-quality games wrested control of the games console industry from United States-based pioneers such as Magnavox and Atari and turned an obscure Japanese playing-card business into a giant in the video-games industry. It also made the reclusive businessman, for a while, the richest man in Japan. He admitted that he never planned any of this, as he was coerced into becoming Nintendo’s president in 1949 when he was barely 21 years old.
Abandoned by his father when he was age 5, Hiroshi was brought up by his disciplinarian grandparents, Sekiryo Yamauchi, and his wife, Tei. His grandfather was the president of the company. After enrolling at Waseda University to study law in 1945, he abandoned his studies when Sekiryo had a stroke. He was asked to take over the family business as he was the only one around. He agreed to it on the condition that no other family member would work at the company.
The young and inexperienced new president changed the company’s name to Nintendo Karuta (Nintendo Playing Cards) and started innovating. He resorted to draconian rule and laid off all the “old guard” managers not minding their years of dedicated service. The Nintendo company began to enjoy prosperity with electronic toys and had a stellar run with the Game & Watch series (handheld LCD games based on pocket calculator-type technologies). To progress, Hiroshi wanted a console like the US-based Atari models that were appearing in Japan. This resulted in a bigger hit – the Famicom – followed by the Game Boy handheld console, both of which took both Japan and the United States by storm. Nintendo soon became the world’s dominant games company.
After running Nintendo for 53 years, Hiroshi promoted Satoru Iwata to replace him in 2002. He served as chairman until 2005. At their 2008 peak, his shares in the company made him worth over 6 billion dollars. He was also the majority shareowner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team.
Personal Life: Wife, Children
Hiroshi and his wife, Michiko, had three children, daughters Yoko and Fujiko, and a son, Katsuhito.
When, after decades of estrangement, Hiroshi heard that his father had died of a stroke, he attended the funeral where he met his father’s wife and four children that he did not know existed.
Hiroshi Yamauchi Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets
Hiroshi Yamauchi had a net worth of $4 billion at the time of his death. The billionaire Japanese businessman found wealth as the founder and president/chair of the world-renowned video game company Nintendo. His businesses and properties are under the administration of his three children since his wife, Michiko, has also passed away.