Minoru Arakawa
Born (1946-09-03) September 3, 1946 (age 74)
Alma materKyoto University (B.S. and M.S)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.S)
Years active1972–present
Known forFounder of Nintendo of America
Spouse(s)Yoko Yamauchi (m. 1973)

Minoru Arakawa (荒川 實, Arakawa Minoru, born September 3, 1946) is a Japanese businessman best known as the founder and former president of Nintendo of America, and the co-founder of Tetris Online, Inc.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Minoru Arakawa was born on 3 September 1946 in Kyoto, Japan, the second son of Waichiro Arakawa and Michi Ishihara.[1][2][lower-alpha 1] Waichiro was the manager of Arakawa Textiles, and was more concerned with maintaining positive relationships with suppliers and customers than growing the company.[4] Michi was an artist, who spent afternoons in the family garden or her studio; her paintings were hung at their family home.[3] Arakawa's family was wealthy; the total real estate of Arakawa's family combined was about one-fifth of the downtown district in Kyoto.[1]

Arakawa began studying at Kyoto University in 1964, taking general classes for the first two years before focusing on civil engineering.[5] He graduated with a master's degree in 1969,[1] before moving to Boston in 1971 to continue studying civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He witnessed several protests against the United States involvement in the Vietnam War, but did not participate.[6] Arakawa graduated MIT with a second master's degree in 1972. Following a conversation on campus with a group of young Japanese businessmen, he decided to try to find work with a trading company. Upon returning to Japan, he was hired by Marubeni, a company in Tokyo that developed hotels and office buildings.[7] At a Christmas party in Kyoto, Arakawa met Yoko Yamauchi, daughter of Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi.[8] They married in November 1973.[9] Arakawa, along with his wife and three-year-old daughter Maki, moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1977 for work.[1][10] A second daughter, Masayo was born in 1978.[11]

File:Minoru Arakawa – Nintendo – Gameboy, interviewed by Maximilian Schönherr 1990.mp3

Game Boy interview snippet 1990

Hiroshi Yamauchi offered Arakawa to establish Nintendo of America; while Yoko opposed the position, having seen the impact of the company on her father's life, Arakawa accepted the offer.[12] Arakawa and his wife established an office in Manhattan in 1980,[13] and Arakawa became the company's first president. After a disastrous experience with the Radar Scope arcade game Arakawa was in charge of importing to the US, he rebounded by converting the poorly received Radar Scope to the phenomenally successful Donkey Kong, which has had many sequels. As this was first game to feature Mario, Arakawa is credited with naming the character, a name which stems from his, at the time, Italian landlord Mario Segale.[2] Starting in 1985, he and Howard Lincoln were instrumental in rebuilding the North American video game industry (after the crash of 1983) with the Nintendo Entertainment System.[14] Arakawa also hired Howard Phillips, who would be invaluable to the creation of Nintendo Power magazine.[15] Arakawa resigned as NOA president and was succeeded by Tatsumi Kimishima, former chief financial officer of Nintendo's Pokémon subsidiary, in January 2002.[16] Arakawa won a lifetime achievement award in February 2007 at the Interactive Achievement Awards.[17]

In January 2006, Arakawa co-founded Tetris Online, Inc. with Henk Rogers and Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov, which developed various games for Nintendo DS, Wii, iOS, and Facebook. Arakawa served as the president of Tetris Online, Inc. until March 2013.[18] He is also an advisor to Avatar Reality.[19]

References[edit | edit source]


  1. Minoru Arakawa's elder brother, Shoichi, later took over the family business. His sister married a professor of medicine.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Taiyoung 2012, p. 26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Profile: Minoru Arakawa". IGN. 25 June 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sheff 1993, p. 81.
  4. Sheff 1993, p. 80.
  5. Sheff 1993, pp. 81–82.
  6. Sheff 1993, p. 82.
  7. Sheff 1993, p. 83.
  8. Sheff 1993, p. 84.
  9. Sheff 1993, p. 88.
  10. Sheff 1993, p. 89.
  11. Sheff 1993, p. 90.
  12. Sheff 1993, p. 94.
  13. Sheff 1993, p. 95.
  14. "75 Power Players". Next Generation (Imagine Media) (11): 58. November 1995. "In 1985 when Nintendo entered the US home videogame market, there was no home videogame market, just the spectacular remnants of an industry that left everyone wary. With Arakawa and Lincoln at the helm and the odds stacked against them, Nintendo of America brilliantly laid the foundations for the sprawling, multifaceted beast that now likes to be known as the interactive entertainment business." 
  15. Cifaldi, Frank (11 December 2012). "Nintendo Power: Remembering America's Longest-Lasting Game Magazine". Gamasutra. Retrieved 1 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Nintendo Of America President Retires, Replaced By Pokemon USA Exec". Gamasutra. 8 January 2002. Retrieved 1 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Former Nintendo execs honored for lifetime achievements". Joystiq. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Minoru Arakawa: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Businessweek. Retrieved August 23, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Purchese, Robert (8 March 2007). "GDC: CryEngine for virtual world". Eurogamer. Retrieved 1 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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