Minoru Arakawa

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Minoru Arakawa
Born (1946-09-03) September 3, 1946 (age 70)
Kyoto, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Alma mater Kyoto University (B.S. and M.S)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.S)
Known for Founder of Nintendo of America

Minoru Arakawa (荒川 實?, Arakawa Minoru, born September 3, 1946) is the founder and former president of Nintendo of America and the co-founder of Tetris Online, Inc.


Born in September 1946 in Kyoto, Japan, Minoru Arakawa attended Kyoto University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying Civil Engineering. In 1972, he was hired by Japanese conglomerate Marubeni as part of their international staff, with the responsibility of helping to develop hotels, offices and condominiums overseas. He married the daughter of Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, Yoko Yamauchi, but continued to work for Marubeni, eventually moving to Vancouver with his family in 1977.[1][2]

Arakawa accepted the offer from Hiroshi to establish Nintendo of America. The company was founded in New York City in 1980, and Arakawa became its 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.[3] Arakawa also hired Howard Philips, who would be invaluable to the creation of Nintendo Power magazine.[4]

Arakawa resigned as NOA president and was succeeded by Tatsumi Kimishima, former chief financial officer of Nintendo's Pokémon subsidiary, in January 2002.[5] Arakawa won a lifetime achievement award in February 2007 at the Interactive Achievement Awards.[6]

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.[7] He is also an advisor to Avatar Reality.[8]


  1. ^ Mark Wolf. Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of gaming. 1. p. 26. 
  2. ^ a b "Profile: Minoru Arakawa". IGN. 25 June 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "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. 
  4. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (11 December 2012). "Nintendo Power: Remembering America's Longest-Lasting Game Magazine". Gamasutra. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Nintendo Of America President Retires, Replaced By Pokemon USA Exec". Gamasutra. 8 January 2002. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Former Nintendo execs honored for lifetime achievements". Joystiq. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Minoru Arakawa: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Businessweek. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ Purchese, Robert (8 March 2007). "GDC: CryEngine for virtual world". Eurogamer. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  • Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children by David Sheff, 1993, Random House.
  • Beuscher, Dave. "Minoru Arakawa Biography". Allgame. Retrieved July 13, 2013.