Sunday, September 15, 2019

Nintendo cards catalogue from the mid 1930s

Some time ago, I posted about a Nintendo company report from 1970, which provided an interesting view inside the company at a time when they were expanding into an allround toy company and just starting out in the field of electronics.

Today we will travel even further back in time, to the mid 1930s, when Nintendo was still fully and solely focussed on their original product: playing cards. At the time Nintendo was the largest manufacturer of playing cards in Japan and under management of its second president Sekiryo Yamauchi, who in 1929 had succeeded his father in law, company founder Fusajiro Yamauchi.

Front (left) and back cover of the mid 1930s Nintendo catalogue

We take our trip through time using a recently surfaced Nintendo product catalogue that is more than eighty years old. The exact publishing date is not known, but based on the content, it is believed to be from between 1933 and 1937.

The catalogue measures 19.2 by 8.6 centimeters when closed. It contains 16 pages that fold out to double that width. It is printed double-sided in four colours: black, red, green and blue. Different to Western catalogues and modern day Japanese ones, the pages of the catalogue open on the left. The Japanese writing is top-to-bottom and right-to-left, as was also common at the time.

Although the catalogue contains some information in English, it is aimed at a Japanse speaking audience, with all sales information in Japanese only.

The catalogue contains four pages with information about the company, four pages with general marketing information about their playing cards, and eight pages with tables listing all products and their sales prices.