Nintendo - the clear meaning of the word has always been unclear, even to the Japanese...

Nintendo - (任天堂), the clear meaning of the word has always been unclear, even to the Japanese...   plus 21 more Nintendo-related facts.

It’s commonly said to refer to「運を天に任せる」or, as it’s often translated, “leave luck to heaven” but even Hiroshi Yamauchi, the great-grandson of the company’s founder, admitted that even he does not know the true meaning of the company’s name, saying that “to leave one’s luck to heaven” was a “plausible explanation”. The translation does not take into account the context of either syllables “nin” (任) or “ten” (天). “Do” (堂), however, is a common suffix which means “shrine” or “sanctuary and is frequently used by Japanese businesses that range from supermarkets to bookstores to add prestige to their name.  As mentioned in the book - The History of Nintendo by Nintendo Dream, writers Gorges and Yamazaki, if one translates “nin” (任) as “let someone do,” the word “Nintendo” (任天堂) could then mean “the temple of free hanafuda” or “the company that is allowed to make (or sell) hanafuda”.

More Nintendo-related Facts:

  1. Nintendo, 123 years old, was founded in September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, who originally produced handmade hanafuda cards. (Hanafuda translated to mean "flower cards" are playing cards of Japanese origin used for playing a number of games).
  2. Yamauchi's remains are said to be buried in the basement of Nintendo's original headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.
  3. Nintendo is Japan's third most valuable listed company with a market value of over US$85 billion, behind automaker Toyota Motor Corp and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
  4. Nintendo is the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team which was purchased in 1992 by Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third president of Nintendo. It was as a way of saying thank you to Seattle for being so welcoming to Nintendo of America.
  5. Major League Baseball initially opposed his bid on the Mariners, not wanting to have a club owned by someone outside North America.
  6. Not only has Mr. Yamauchi never seen the Mariners play live; the owner has never stepped foot in the United States.
  7. Nintendo began in the Japanese market (based in Kyoto, Japan) in 1983, the U.S. market (based in Redmond, Washington)in 1985, and the European market (based in Großostheim, Germany) in 1986.
  8. Over time, Nintendo has manufactured four TV consoles - the Famicom/NES, (Famicom=Family Computer), (NES=Nintendo Entertainment System), the Super Famicom/Super NES, the N64, the present GameCube - and many different handheld consoles, including five versions of their popular Game Boy, and the Nintendo DS.
  9. "It's on like Donkey Kong" is an expression made popular and inspired by the game of the same name - Donkey Kong. Nintendo requested a trademark on the phrase with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in November 2010.
  10. The so called 'secret song' later known to be called "Totaka's Song"(named after its composer Kazumi Totaka), was discovered and secretly hidden in a great deal of nintendo games.  What followed was an internet-wide search for appearances of the song in all of the other games he had composed for. This caught the attention of the internet at large and through many hard-working contributors, the song has been unearthed in nearly every game he has worked on.
  11. Kazumi Totaka
  12. The total number of games sold since Nintendo released the Family Computer back in 1983 is around 4,015,400,000.
  13. One of the many ventures explored by early Nintendo was a "love hotel." These establishments were popular in Japan - even today, and offerred couples rooms by the hour.
  14. The Virtual Boy was a failure in both Japan and America. Because of this, it was never released in Europe or Australia.
  15. The true King of Kong, Hank Chien, has broken the record for the highest score in the game Donkey Kong with an outstanding 1,138,600 points, making it the 4th time in a row he has beaten his own record!
  16. Shigeru Miyamoto, a Japanese video game designer and producer, is often called the "Steven Spielberg of Gaming," and is best known as the creator of some of the most successful video game franchises of all time, including Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin, and the Wii series.
  17. Miyamoto designs are from things he experiences in real life. The Legend of Zelda was inspired by his childhood wanderings. The Mario enemy Chain Chomp was a result of being attacked by a dog as a child. Nintendogs was inspired by getting a dog and Pikmin was inspired by gardening.
  18. Shigeru Miyamoto
  19. Nintendo actually purchased a domain for Shigeru Miyamoto himself  back in 2009. It seems they don't have any actual plans to turn this into a site with content on the man himself. The site simply redirects to 
  20. In February 2002, a Louisiana woman sued Nintendo because her son died after suffering seizures caused by playing Nintendo 64 for eight hours a day, six days a week. Nintendo denied any responsibility.
  21. In calendar year 2011, Nintendo of America processed 548 tons of returned products (U.S. and Canada), of which 68 percent was reused and 30 percent recycled.
  22. As of September 30, 2012, Nintendo has sold over 637.7 million hardware units.
  23. In later years, Nintendo was recognized with multiple awards for such innovations as:
  • The 'modern' invention of the plus-shaped D-pad, which radically changed how people interact with their video games and, by extension, their televisions. Unlike a joystick, the control pad could be manipulated precisely and easily with a single thumb.
  • The Wii was recognized for its motion-sensing controls, which have attracted a broad range of nontraditional gamers and veteran players alike.
  • The Nintendo DS was recognized for its touch-screen control scheme and distinctive dual-screen display.

Source(s): wikipedia,,,,, wikipedia,,
Original Photo credit: Flickr user JD Hancock (Mario on red background)

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