The former and late president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, was a major figure in the gaming industry, and one that was beloved by those he worked alongside. The impact of his decisions and choices for the company can still be seen today, and over in Japan, people are still celebrating the man, especially after the recent release of a new book titled "Iwata-san". While the book currently is only available in Japanese, IGN has translated some of the excerpts from the novel, which contain comments from both Shigeru Miyamoto and Shigesato Itoi. Both men commented on how it was like to work with Iwata over the years, and how they miss him, making for an emotional read.
The first paragraph is about Miyamoto's thoughts on his experiences and thoughts about how it was like to work for Iwata:
Miyamoto said:To me, he was a friend more than anything. It never felt like he was my boss or that I was working under him. He never got angry; we never fought about anything. Normally, if someone younger than yourself with fewer years of experience becomes president, it might be difficult to get along with each other, but it was never like that. It had always been obvious that he was more suited for the position (than me), so it never became a problem. I think it allowed us to naturally become true friends.
Another memory is of the two's first meals together, when Iwata was in charge of HAL Laboratories and met with Miyamoto to discuss an upcoming project:
Miyamoto said:Nintendo doesn’t pay for social expenses, so we had to go Dutch on the bill. That became a tradition that lasted even after he became company president and I became an executive.
Earthbound creator Shigesato Itoi commented further about those lunches, saying:
Itoi said:Monday lunches with Miyamoto must have been one of Iwata’s favorite things.
Iwata said that the vision behind his business was to make everyone happy: himself, his friends at work, and his customers. 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.
A rather heart-rending quote describes how Nintendo's been doing since Iwata's passing:
Miyamoto said:Since he passed away, Nintendo has been doing just fine. He left many words and structures that live on in the work of our younger employees today. The only problem is that, if there is some good-for-nothing idea I come up with over the weekend, I have no one to share it with the next Monday. That I can no longer hear him say ‘Oh, about that thing…’ is a bit of a problem for me. It makes me sad.
Itoi remembers a day back in 2015--the day of Iwata's funeral:
Itoi said:On the day of Iwata’s funeral, it rained in torrents, and Miyamoto and I were waiting around. Suddenly I decided to ask him how much chance Iwata himself had believed he had to be cured. Miyamoto responded immediately, in a very natural manner. 'He totally believed that he would become better. He didn’t have the slightest intention to die.’ That answer made me realize just how close Miyamoto and Iwata were, and to what extent they understood each other.
Itoi also remembers when he first met Iwata, back in the early 1990s.
Itoi said:It’s hard to describe how I felt when first meeting him. There was something very pleasant about him. Without even really knowing him, you could immediately feel that he was someone you could trust. What I really appreciated about Iwata is that he was never insecure, and he would never show off or get mad just to show his authority or anything like that. That’s why you could have long conversations with him without things ever becoming awkward in the slightest.
Satoru Iwata was the CEO of Nintendo from 2002 until he passed away in 2015, and was known for his assistance in the development of several integral titles in Nintendo's history, such as Earthbound, and Pokemon, while also working together with Shigeru Miyamoto to create a concept design for what would become the Nintendo DS.