While it's a commonly shared fact that Nintendo (NTDOY) got its start as an entertainment company by manufacturing playing cards, many may not be aware of the company's intriguing journey. From its humble beginnings in Kyoto, Japan, Nintendo has come a long way to become the beloved family-friendly video game giant it is today.
Nintendo wasn't always the family-friendly video game company people know today. It has an obscure history with the Japanese Yakuza, a notorious organized crime syndicate. During the 1960s, Nintendo faced financial troubles and sought funding from the Yakuza. This dark chapter in Nintendo's story adds a layer of complexity to its evolution.
In 1889, Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi began manufacturing and selling hand-painted playing cards in Kyoto, Japan. These intricately designed cards featured vibrant pops of color and became popular among locals. Little did Yamauchi know that this venture would be the foundation for Nintendo's future success.