September 23rd, 1889 – The Nintendo Origin Story


The word Nintendo can be roughly translated from Japanese to English as “leave luck to heaven,” and on September 23rd, 1889Nintendo Koppai (Later Nintendo Company, Limited) was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda.

Mario Hanafuda

In 1633, the Japanese government had banned all foreign playing cards and games trying to deter illegal gambling. For the next 250 years the government continued doing the same thing with every new card game that appeared. A couple of years after, however, the government accepted the new card game Hanafuda, which used illustrations instead of numbers; the name literally translates as “flower cards.”

Hanafuda 680Even though it was something new, the constant banning of these games had taken a toll on the public, reducing the games´ popularity, until a young entrepreneur named Fusajiro Yamauchi came up with a new approach to save this game and increase its popularity. His new approach was to use hand crafted artwork instead of general illustrations. The handmade cards soon became popular, and Yamauchi hired assistants to mass-produce cards to satisfy demand. Nintendo now continues to manufacture playing cards in Japan and organizes its own contract bridge tournament called the “Nintendo Cup.”

By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as cab services and love hotels . . . a type of short-stay hotel found around the world operated primarily for the purpose of allowing couples privacy for sexual activities

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


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