Saturday, June 25, 2022

Nintendo Nagoya office opens in 1959

In the 1950s, Nintendo was expanding its operation, including a move of the headquarters to a new, larger production location. The Nintendo Playing Cards Report from the mid 1950s provides a good overview of the various locations in use at that time in Kyoto, as well as branch offices in Tokyo and Osaka. These branch offices supported the company's national sales and distribution network.

The magazine below introduces another new location.

The magazine is called Gangu Shoho (玩具商報), which translates to 'Toy Business Bulletin'.

It is a monthly magazine, and this particular copy is number two from 1959. The issue date 'February 5th 1959' is printed on the top right corner, in the traditional top down notation (昭和三十四年二月五日). The magazine cost 100 yen.

The magazine is filled with trade news and ads by manufacturers and distributors of toys and games, as well as sweets. Basically, anything you are likely to find in the toy section of a department store, a toy store, or a dagashiya (駄菓子屋).

The news section includes a piece about Nintendo.

The headline reads "Nintendo Nagoya branch newly established".

The article states: "Nintendo Playing Cards Company from Kyoto, the largest manufacturer of playing cards and Hanafuda, has been responding to customer requests by opening a new Nagoya branch, and is starting branch operations from the new year."

The building pictured features a large (neon?) Nintendo (任天堂) sign and some big playing cards attached to the front. Above the entry, the marufuku logo can be seen.

The new branch is located in the Nishi ward in Nagoya (名古屋市西区).

Further in the back of the magazine, Nintendo also placed an ad that announces the new office.

It's a full page ad, that shouts the news: "Nintendo Nagoya Branch opened" (開店 任天堂名古屋支店).

Nintendo's two main products of the time are also shown and mentioned in the text: Western style playing cards (トランプ) and 'President' cards (大統領印かるた), the traditional Japanese playing cards, sold under the Napoleon brand.

The office is located close to a stop of the Meidocho tramway (市電明道町). This tramway was discontinued in 1971.

It is not only tramways that do not stand the test of time. Company locations also come and go, and this Nagoya branch is no exception. In this price list of the Nintendo Nagoya branch from 1971, a different location is given. So, at some point in time, a move must have happened.

Of course, I could not resist entering the address from 1959 in Google Maps, to see what is left of the building. Unfortunately, this is what appeared on my screen:

The only thing that remains, is a parking lot in the shape of the original building. I guess, a lot can change in sixty years. 

As you all now, Nintendo kept growing as time marched on. Check out this later issue of the Gangu Shoho, to see what Nintendo's catalogue of products looked like in 1975.

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