Nintendo’s ex-chairman and president of fifty-five years, Hiroshi Yamauchi, has been named as the richest man in Japan by Forbes. Yamauchi’s net worth is estimated at $7.8 billion. His fortune rose by $3 billion alone last year, triple that of 2006 thanks to the rising value of Nintendo shares.
As president of the firm, Yamauchi was responsible for turning Nintendo from a card-making company into the video games company know today, with a move into home and arcade video games in the mid-seventies.
Although Yamauchi stepped down as president
of Nintendo in 2002, his influence on the company was evident right up to his departure as chairman
Reports that Yamauchi personally suggested much of the basic design of the Nintendo DS have not been confirmed, but the veteran, who was not a gamer, was known to be a keen advocate of Nintendo’s current policy of pursuing a wider audience for gaming with atypical products.
According to Forbes, Japan’s forty wealthiest businesspeople are worth a combined $89.9 billion, up by $10.7 billion on the previous year – in part due to the yen’s strength against the dollar. The second richest man is property developer Akira Mori, whose net wealth increased by $2.2 billion this year to $7.7 billion.
Number three in the list is Kunio Busujima, one of several pachinko manufacturers in the list. Enix founder Yasuhiro Fukushima is at number twenty-five with a fortune of $1.16 billion, while Konami founder and CEO Kagemasa Kozuki is at number thirty-four on $790 million.
Sega Sammy’s Hajime Satomi is at thirty-six on $760 million. Husband and wife team and Koei founders Keiko and Yoichi Erikawa are at number thirty-nine with a net worth of $720 million.