Nintendo’s senior managing director and representative director Genyo Takeda delivered his eulogy for Satoru Iwata at a funeral service held today, the late president having sadly passed away earlier this week.
Within, Takeda shared how he had been struck by Iwata’s compassion for people and the level of interaction he maintained with everyone at Nintendo. Those that had once looked to Iwata for guidance may no longer be able to do so, but Takeda is sure that they had will now have the determination to learn from their own experiences.
But what was most significantly poignant was Takeda’s discussion around the seeds that Iwata had already planted, and how they would soon “put forth small flowers” that, in bringing smiles to people around the world, will eventually “blossom into a grand flower.”
Nintendo’s complete translated transcript is below:
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.