Japan was in complete overhaul in the year 1889. The wounds of civil war were beginning to mend, the samurai system was abolished into history, and a new government sought to bring the country into a modern age. In that year, the Constitution of the Empire of Japan established the Meiji Government as the sole leader of the country and put the Empire of Japan on the map as a growing superpower for the next sixty years.
But more importantly, 1889 was the year Nintendo was founded in the city of Kyoto! Who needs world history when we have this guy?!
It is well known nowadays that Nintendo did not start off as a video game company when its foundations were laid in the city of Kyoto, simply because video games didn’t exactly exist in the year 1889. In the days of its founding, Nintendo found its foothold in the gaming market by created playing cards, and their paper stock was of such a high quality that their products became a favorite of Japan’s high rollers. History ensued and in 1981, a giant gorilla named Donkey Kong and his enemy Jump Man changed the world as we know it.
A little more recently, the City of Kyoto has begun uncovering and restoring old photos in a project to celebrate 150 years since the beginning of Japan’s Meiji era. Japan’s internal calendar system runs in accordance with the life of its emperors, and the Meiji era extends from 1868, when Emperor Meiji rose to power as a child at the close of the Meiji civil war, until his death in 1912.
Of these old photos, one stands out more than others as relevant to the interest of gamers.
A happening shot of Nintendo’s original headquarters. Tucked away on the banks of the picturesque Kamogawa River in Kyoto, the Marufuku Nintendo Card Co. laid its foundations in the year 1889, probably 100 percent ignorant to the iconic status that it would one day achieve.
Sadly, the building was demolished in 2004 and replaced by… a parking lot. You know what they say…