Monday, October 22, 2018

Nintendo Company Overview from 1970

The year 1970 was an important year in the history of Nintendo. It had just completed new offices at its headquarter location in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto and received a listing at the premiere stock market in Osaka.

To mark this moment, and attract (wholesale) customers and investors, the company produced a company overview brochure (会社概況).

Nintendo Company Overview from 1970 (front)

The brochure has 16 pages inside. It was printed in full colour.

Full layout of the brochure (front, 16 pages content, back)

The first page contains a summary of the key information about the company.
This includes its full name in Japanese (任天堂株式会社 or 'Nintendō kabushikigaisha') and in English spelling ('Nintendo Co., Ltd.'), a list of activities the company is involved in, and the name of the managing director (山内 溥, Hiroshi Yamauchi).

It also mentions September 1889 as the company start (with the year written as 'Meiji 22' or 明治22年), and November 22 1947 as the date it was formally registered in its current form (with the year written as 'Shōwa 22' or 昭和22年).

The five areas that make up the company purpose

The activities listed as 'purpose' for the company are:
  • Manufacture and sale of playing cards (トランプ類の製造販売)
  • Manufacture and sale of recreational equipment (娯楽用具の製造販売)
  • Manufacture and sale of office equipment (事務用機器の製造販売)
  • Processing paper products (紙製品の加工)
  • All business incidental to each of the preceding items (前各号に附帯する一切の事業)
The company - still mostly a toy company at the time - was still poised to diversify into new markets, including office equipment and "entertainment goods for indoor and outdoor use" (according to the brochure), notwithstanding various less successful attempts in the previous decade like instant food.

This table presents how the volume of shares developed over the years between 1947 ('Shōwa 22') and 1969 ('Shōwa 44'). It also shows that a lot of capital was injected into the company in 1969, most likely to fund the modernisation of offices and factories and to cover the investments needed to extend manufacturing capabilities for new product ranges.

The next pages in the brochure list highlights from the company history. Here the start of manufacturing western style playing cards ('Trump' cards) is still listed as 1911. In later documents, and on the companies current website, this date was changed to 1902.

Other notable dates mentioned include:
  • The founding of the Yamauchi Nintendo group company (山内任天堂) in 1933
  • The move of the headquarters to the Higashiyama district and concentration of activities at that location in 1952
  • The very successful introduction of Disney licensed playing cards in 1959
  • The start of production of indoor games other than cards in 1963

The brochure also lists all properties used by Nintendo in 1970, with the sizes of the lots as well as the total floorspace in use. Besides the headquarters in Higashiyama (Kyoto) and an additional manufacturing site in Uji (also in Kyoto are), this includes distribution centres in Tokyo and Nagoya, a branch office in Tokyo and sales offices in Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka and Okayama.

Besides this useful company info, the real value of this brochure for me are the many photos that show the offices and manufacturing facilities from that time.

For a full tour check out this post.

[The scans shown here were kindly provided by Fabrice Heilig.]

Also take a look at this company overview from 1989 and this 1993 Nintendo Company report.

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