Remembering the late Masaya Nakamura (1925 - 2017), founder of Namco.
On January 30th, 2017, Namco announced that its founder and former CEO (from 1955 until 2002), Masaya Nakamura, passed away on 22 January 2017 at the age of 91. The reasoning for the delay in announcing his death was due to Namco requesting respect for his family’s privacy.
Nakamura was born Dec. 24, 1925, and graduated from what is now Yokohama National University in 1948. His field? Shipbuilding. However, thanks to Japan’s economic recovery following World War 2, shipbuilding fell by the wayside. And so, in 1955, Namco was born! Initially, it was known as Nakamura Manufacturing, then later on as
Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company before finally being shortened in to the Namco name that would become recognized internationally.
He initially focused on mechanical amusement rides in the early decades, but in the 1970s, Nakamura saw potential in the field of video games after observing the prototypical arcade games that began to rise forth in the very earliest days of gaming, and he wisely steered the company more towards video gaming.
Mere years later, Namco kicked off its still-ongoing string of gaming hits such as Galaxian in 1979, and most importantly Toru Iwatani’s Pac-Man in 1980. The wild success of Namco helped pave the way for the rising video game industry, and with Nakamura at the helm, he is easily one of the most crucial figures in gaming’s history.
An interesting footnote: When Namco purchased film company Nikkatsu, Nakamura dabbled in movie production; he is even credited as executive producer on many of their films!
After 47 years as CEO of Namco, Nakamura decided to settle in to well-deserved retirement by stepping down from his CEO position in 2002 at the age of 77, remaining loosely involved with the company in a more honorary and ceremonial role. He was Japan’s 68th richest person by the time Namco merged with Bandai in 2005.
In 2007, Japan’s government recognized Nakamura’s accomplishments with a very prestigious award: the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor one in Japan can receive without being a head of state, royalty or a politician. It’s very similar in concept to Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. And in 2010, he was inducted in to the
International Video Game Hall of Fame, where he spoke via satellite feed.
62 years after Namco began as a mere
two mechanical horse rides on a department store rooftop, Namco is a global powerhouse and symbol of excellence in gaming. Nakamura’s efforts have brought many people across the world a whole lot of fun over the last several decades, and Namco will continue to do so long after his passing.
Our position is Team Watching Over Others (?)<– the question mark was part of the title
Takagi Manpei x Daito Shunsuke x Nakamura Masaya
Within the host club Kyoya, Kaoru and Mori are the three people who watches over the rest of the members, what have these three discovered about the others when they aren’t filming….!?
Daito Shunsuke = D
Takagi Manpei = M
Nakamura Masaya = N
The twins’ real fighting really troubles them!?
What is everyone like when they are on break?
D: Mori-sempai is completely different.
M: Yes, he is the most different from his character.
N: Yes you’re right. I talk so much during the break.
D: It feels like you’re constantly oiled up (laughs).
N: Am I slippery all over? (laughs)
M: No no, you are the mood maker.
D: Rather than the mood maker, you’re more like the “mood house”. You’re moody.
M: What? (laughs)
From the point of view of moody Nakamura, what kind of person do you think Manpei is?
N: Hmmm, me being a moody person…. (laughs), since Shinpei’s not here I’ll say it. I actually prefer Manpei. He has that older brother feeling.
M: Are we that different?
D: I think Manpei has more of the “I need to be more firm” because I’m the older brother feel.
M: I’m curious but out of the two of us, which one do you think will be able to venture out alone?
D: Eh!? Wait a minute, if you had to get an answer … (laughs)
N: You asked such a straightforward question.
M: Not as twins, but how do you see us as solo actors?
D: I think Shinpei suits playing cheeky, impertinent characters while Manpei suits playing more firm, steady character. On impression of course…
M: Well I always arrive on set with Shinpei but everyone else always arrives alone right. Sometimes I feel jealous.
N: You guys arrived separately twice right. Because you guys had gotten into an argument in the morning.
D: What was the reason for the argument?
N: He washed Shinpei’s white shirts with the coloured clothing and Shinpei got mad.
D: Don’t bring such arguments onto the set (laughs)
M: It was the way he said it. “Kanbenshiroyo, teme!” (dammit, don’t do that)
When you guys get into an argument who apologizes first?
M: Who apologizes first? I don’t think it happens either way.
D: Which is why it’s interesting. The two of you get into a fight, and the rest of us are careful around the both of you but then Shinpei comes near by and suddenly the two of you are back to being best friends.
N: I think it’s something only the two of them will understand.
M: Yeah, even if we don’t apologize to each other, we naturally make up.
D: Only the people around you are troubled. (laughs)
M: Once, Haru (Kawaguchi Haruna) chan said to us, “Could you two stop fighting?”
N: By the YOUNGEST Haru-chan. (laughs)
M: “Sorry” was all we could say in reply.
What kind of person is Daito-kun?
N: If I am the mood, then he is the maker.
D: Don’t break up the word mood and maker. It’s the first time I’ve heard it that way. (laughs)
M: You know how to stop us when we have to. For example. When the director is explaining something, there’s always someone not listening right. At that time Daito-kun will bang his hands and say “come on, let’s stop that”. Everyone will get startled and stop.
N: And at first he was shy and hard to get acquainted with. It was around the second half of the drama and the beginning of the movie when you finally opened up your heart to us.
D: Was it really that recent?
Haru-chan is a hard worker
Do you have any secrets regarding the other members?
D: Do we have things we can say…?
M: They are all pretty dangerous (laughs).
N: At first I thought Haru-chan was really shy, but she talks a lot doesn’t she. In one sense, I think she’s really the mood maker.
D: Yes, I think she’s quite ingenuous. Also I think she’s really attached to us.
D: I think she just really likes the feel on the set. She really gives off so much love for the show. She trusts us as a team so she’s willing to make weird faces and show us a different side of her. (laughs)
M: And the running was complicated for her. She was all over the place right?
D: That was quite shocking. She didn’t really know where to put her weight. And so couldn’t run properly.
N: In the drama whenever there was a scene where Haruhi had to run… She would be practicing before filming. We would be laughing…. But eventually we started pointing out her faults. Daito also filmed her running and studied the clip with her.
D: Her run was bad and together the two of us would study her running form.
M: In the last episode of the drama, Haruhi had a huge running scene right. I asked her about it after the filming, she had told me that to correct her running, she had been practicing her running in the park.
D: Great, she’s such a hard worker.
Do you have any stories about Chiba-chan?
N: He’s like a walking bomb… you have no idea which line you could cut to cause an explosion (laughs)
M: But he’s so cute. When the miso soup he drinks is too hot he’ll raise both his arms and go “ha!”
D: He’s really mature and I thought he was pretty manly but his actions and small gestures are so adorable.
N: Yes I was so astonished by that gap (between cute and manly)
M: once Chiba-chan came up to me and said “hey, let’s play a game on set.” “What kind of game?” I asked. The kind where you go up to someone’s ears and whisper “sukidayo” (I like you)
D: Is he stupid? (laughs)
M: I declined right away.
N: He did that to me too. That was a game? I think I remembering replying “me too” …..
D: What are you two?
N: I think once we started going to meals together, the walls broke down and love was born.
N: When I’m with Chiba-chan I just naturally put my arms over his shoulder. So much sometimes he would tell me to stop it (laughs)
D: When I took a look at the interview pictures there were so many pictures of you on Chiba-chan’s shoulders.
M: The relationship you two have is so different from the rabu rabu (love love) feel that Honey and Mori have. The two of you are always flirting with each other. I have so many pictures of the two of you flirting with each other on my cellphone.
N: Well there’s nothing you can do about that anymore. But Daito-kun you are pretty close with Chiba-chan too right. You two have similar interests.
D: Yes yes, Haruhi too.
N: Yes, the three of you like the same kind of music.
M: Also that manga Daito-kun recommended. Chiba-chan bought it and read it.
D: Ryusei too. Many of the mangas I recommended, he had already read.
M: Oh yeah, we haven’t really said anything about him. (laughs)
D: Ryusei is mysterious I must say. He’s got this special tempo. At first I thought he was really mature but once I started talking to him, I found him quite funny. And when it comes to acting he’s very passionate. But it’s not the “hot” kind of passion…. more like warm.
N: Like he’s filling up with warmth.
D: Yes yes. Filling up with warmth
M: That guy, he takes pictures of Shinpei and me sleeping without permission and then sends them to us with a message “I got it today too as well.”
N: When you two sleep it is the hardest to tell you two part
Who’s a popular man and who’s an unpopular man?
There’s an element of love in the movie this time, please tell me about your love life and how you view falling in love?
D: I think Nakamura Masaya’s way to becoming popular is out of this world.
N: Really? I’m not popular with the girls though!
M: The speed it takes for you to get close to a female is so fast. Shinoda Mariko san who guest starred in the movie said that when she sees Masaya she laughs.
N: No no….. that’s not it. She really only laughed because I looked funny.
D: You definitely have an element I don’t have. I can’t talk easily with females. Really I can’t….
N: Whether that person is female or male, I can talk a lot with them, but Daito-kun doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who can.
M: I don’t want to imagine Daito-kun holding hands with a girl while walking.
N: For example, when it’s cold there are people who will ask their partner right away “are you cold?” and those who wonder if they should ask that question.
M: I’d be able to ask her.
D: Wow I think that’s great. I’m the kind of person who’ll wonder, “what if she refuses my offer of a kairo (hand warmer)?” Scary.
N: You don’t have to think so deeply….
D: Even on set, when I pass a staff member I think, “that person looks cold.”
N: I’m at a loss for words ~. If you have told them, you would have been popular (laughs).
Well if you become love rivals who do you think is the strongest?
N: Hmm ~ I wonder who. But I definitely do not want Yusuke as an enemy.
D: If Yusuke came in the picture I’d have half given up. Also Nakamura Masaya. I think a man who decides to get married at the age of 25 is very cool. But you’re kind of gaudy (laughs)
M: I wonder if people like Masaya tend to be able to make girls’ hearts skip a beat when they say something harsh.
N: Nah, I’d mostly likely say something like “are you feverish?” I actually wouldn’t want Manpei as my enemy too.
N: I just feel like you’d win over Shinpei in this situation.
There is suspicion that Mori sempai is under a lot of stress
Manpei-san, what do you think would happen if the brothers got into a fight (over a girl)?
M: For our first love, Shinpei and I fell in love with the same person. But I was the one she confessed to… everyone around me liked her. I went “Oh okay..” and I rejected her.
D: The fact that you would step back is so like Kaoru.
N: For example, if there was only one cream puff left, who would let the other one have it?
M: We’d always share it. We’ll only fight over fried chicken.
D: How concrete.
N: So Manpei would definitely break first.
M: Yeah, probably. That is why I don’t want Shinpei as an enemy. I also don’t want Chiba-chan as an enemy.
D: Yeah, his genre is different huh.
M: Yeah, if Chiba-chan just showed a little bit more manly side of him, we’d all be in trouble right.
N: Yeah it’s a great gap. It’s so different from when I try to be cool.
M: He’s got both the cute and the cool.
D: Yeah, but if you look at him really closely, he’s actually not all that cute (laughs)
N: Especially in the morning. He does have facial hair.
M: And then he becomes an jiji (old man) when we film late into the night.
D: Old man!
N: Hey, that’s enough.
D: Old man! (continues to laugh)
N: Hey, every morning when I come on set, I also often get asked by everyone, “what happened today?”
M: Masaya is quite spectacular in the morning after all.
N: Today too, when I took off my hat someone said, “you’re going bald aren’t you?”
M: Daito-kun, you asked him many times right? “Nakamura-kun, are you going bald?”
D: There was a time when I hadn’t seen Masaya for about two weeks. When I saw him, his hair seemed to have thinned out. I thought maybe the stress he was feeling was really abnormal and I was worried. (laughs)
N: You laugh too much.
Who do you think is not popular with the girls?
D: Manpei, why are you looking at me?
M: No no, I really think that Daito-kun is very cool.
D: What is with you guys?
N: No no nothing (laughs) It’s just that your private life is so full of mysteries.
M: He is the most mysterious.
N: You say that on your time off, you’re either at the gym or at a manga cafe.
D: There’s nothing mysterious about that. I just live a much simpler life than the rest of you.
M: Once, I went home with Daito-kun on the train but it felt really weird. Like, Daito also rides the train…. that kind of feeling.
What other character would you like to try playing?
Well then lastly, aside from the character you are playing now, what other character would you like to try playing?
N: Hmmm ~. Well it would be impossible to play Haruhi or Mitsukuni. If I did it, it wouldn’t be beautiful.
D: Physically, there’s quite a few character that would be impossible to play. Playing the twins would be impossible as well.
N: But if Daito-kun and Yusuke played twins, I’d accept it.
D: We’d be a very annoying pair of twins.
N: What do you think? Being this close to Yusuke’s face? (moves his head close to Daito’s)
D: It would be kind of hard to accept ~ (laughs)
M: I think Daito’s a bit like Kaoru don’t you think?
N: Yeah I think so. What about you?
M: I’d like to play Kyoya.
D: Oh really? I’d definitely like to see someone aside from me playing Kyoya.
N: Hmm them, how about me?
M: What if you played Nekozawa?
N: Nekozawa ~? I wonder if I’d be able to intimidate people when I wear that cloak.
D: I think you’d be able to.
M: But I kind of want to see Nakamura-kun play Honey-sempai.
D: But his honey degree (honey-ness?) is zero. He’d be more of a Bitter-sempai.
N: If I were to play Honey-sempai, then I think the only person who would be able to play Mori-sempai would be a foreign wrestler.
(laughs) Thank you very much!
D: Was that okay? We kept going off tangent though.
I don’t mind you guys going off tangent, so no worries.
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