Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 18, 2015

Iwata’s Funeral

The rain didn’t keep more than 4000 from attending.

Takeda gave a eulogy:

As we gather here today for a joint funeral with Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Mr. Iwata’s family, I would like to share my heartfelt condolences. President Iwata, allow me to call you Iwata-san, just as I always used to.

Iwata-san, you left us far too soon. Having just chaired our shareholders’ meeting the other day on June 26, the news of your sudden death has left all the employees overcome with a deep sorrow. The late Yamauchi-san passed the baton to you in naming you the president of Nintendo in 2002, and the two Senior Managing Directors of the company, Shigeru Miyamoto and I, have been assisting and working alongside you. Being rather short-tempered myself, the thing that I am most deeply struck by is that you were a true leader in every sense of the word, overflowing with compassion for people. You always maintained a two-way dialogue, even with the next generation of employees, or with much younger members of the development and marketing teams, or with employees outside of Japan whose different customs and cultures can make communication challenging — sometimes even admitting your own mistakes to them. You demonstrated this through your belief that people could eventually come to understand one another, and your strong conviction that the best way for us to grow is through patient communication, even if it took several times, a dozen times or even seemingly endless discussion.

You succeeded in planting the seed in employees’ hearts that, in order to solve an issue, there is a fundamental cycle whereby you make a hypothesis, execute the plan, see the result and then make adjustments, and by which you have caringly nurtured these seeds to sprout and mature into plants.

Until now, our successors and the younger generation would take a few first steps and then look back at you for guidance because they could not tell if they had chosen the right path. Today they cannot ask for your guidance anymore.

However, I am sure that they have already made the firm determination that they will continue on their own, making the hypothesis, executing the plan, seeing the results and reflecting on the results to improve and adjust by themselves.

In the face of your unbelievable passing it will surely take some time before we can emerge from this deep sorrow. Please know, however, that the seeds you have planted, and the plants that have sprouted will put forth small flowers as they bring smiles to the faces of people around the world, blossom into a grand flower bigger than even you, our leader, Iwata-san. Together with Miyamoto and others of our generation, we swear in our hearts that we will continue our efforts so that, someday, we can report and present to you the blossoming of these flowers. May you continuously watch over and guide us managers, our employees and your family.

On behalf of all of us, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences and sincerest prayer. May you rest in peace, Iwata-san.


This eulogy does tell us some things. The ‘sudden death’ tells me Iwata’s passing was a surprise to everyone. The ‘left all the employees overcome with a deep sorrow’ tells us that morale has been hit. Third, the ‘two Senior Managing Directors’ running the company now are Takeda and Miyamoto.

There has to be a president. Odds are is that it will be Takeda or Miyamoto. Out of the two, I would guess Miyamoto because he is such a public face of Nintendo. The fans love him. The employees love him. The press loves him. Now maybe Nintendo might bring someone else in. I don’t think this is likely especially someone outside The Council. I’ve wondered if Nintendo would be so bold to run around without a president. I don’t think the shareholders would accept that though.

All the ‘change’ talk Fils-Aime and others said at E3 2015 is being interpreted as Nintendo knowing that Iwata was about to die and that ‘big changes’ were in place for when Iwata kicked the bucket. The eulogy clearly shows this not to be true. Not only does Iwata’s colleagues seem surprised at his passing, Takeda vows he and Miyamoto will continue Iwata’s direction. This means Nintendo ain’t going to be making games for Sony or Microsoft consoles. This also means that the ‘change’ talk was what I thought all along: hints of what is to come with the NX and Generation 9. I largely ignored E3 2015 because it is the end of the lifecycle for the 3DS and even the Wii U. I want to know about the NX. I want to know about Nintendo’s online system. I want to know about Generation 9. Nintendo was saying, “Wait until next E3, Malstrom.” Very well.

Gamespot did a fine tribute video for Iwata. Check it out.





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