Not many CEOs these days are liked, let alone loved, but Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata was one of those few that absolutely no one had a problem with. He was loveable, huggable, slow to anger, the opposite of greedy, and humble enough to impose a pay cut upon HIMSELF when the company had a bad year. Because he was too good for this world, he passed on at the unfair age of 55.
Iwata was also the most public of Nintendo’s bosses, hosting a series of roundtables called “Iwata Asks” where the veteram directors of Nintendo would discuss the making of their newest games and the classic games of their past. A lot of previously unknown facts about Mario, Zelda and other series were revealed thanks to these sessions. After Iwata’s death, a book collection of some of these roundtables, coupled with personal recollections of Iwata from those who knew him, was published in Japan. It’s a testament to Iwata’s positive legacy that the book is also being translated into English to be published here.
In America, the book has appropriately been titled “Ask Iwata.” In Japan it was released as simply Iwata-san, and was put together by Hobonichi, a company founded by EarthBound’s Shigesato Itoi. “Iwata said that the vision behind his business was to make everyone happy: himself, his friends at work, and his customers,” Itoi is quoted as saying in the book. “He used the English word for ‘happy’ instead of the Japanese word, which charmed me. It’s funny how you remember the most insignificant things, but whenever Iwata used the word ‘happy,’ he would show you the palms of both of his hands. That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
“Ask Iwata” will be released on April 13, at a price of $22.99. Preorders are open now on Amazon.