EARLY YEARS

Shigeru’s path to success was influenced by many of his life events ranging from the his small adventures as a child to the opportunities given to him by his father. Here you can read a little bit more about his life.

CHILDHOOD ADVENTURES

Born in 1952, Miyamoto grew up in Sonobe, Kyoto, a rural town in the Kansai region. He loved reading and drawing manga, listening to music, doing puppet shows, and wandering the countryside. While wandering, he came across a cave, which features prominently in his own recounting of his formative life moment. According to Miyamoto, he would often return to the cave to watch platonic shadows dance across the wall, and after he mustered the courage, he brought a lantern to explore the darkness. It was these early explorations into the unknown natural world that would provide the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda. Further, these early wandering would offer the experiential blueprint for the ways in which a Japanese sensibility of nature would influence his work.

YOUNG AMBITIONS

Miyamoto entered Kanazawa Art and Industrial Design University, to study Industrial Design and Engineering. By his own admission, he was a terrible student, taking five years to finish his own four-year degree because he rarely attended classes and focused instead on playing banjo for his college band. Despite his educational shortcomings, his studies emphasized human interactions in complex processes through analysis and design, and his training came to bear on his design process after he joined Nintendo. Upon graduation, Miyamoto didn’t have a job lined up and thought that he might try his hand as a manga artist. His father, in response to this development, arranged an interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi, the president of Nintendo at the time. Miyamoto showcased some of his industrial design projects to Nintendo leading him to being hired and was given a job in the planning department as an artist.

BEGINNING AT NINTENDO

Using his aesthetic talents with his industrial engineering training, Miyamoto was paired up with fellow game designer, Gunpei Yokoi and created Donkey Kong in 1981. Inspired by the classic cartoon, Popeye, Miyamoto designed the three characters in this game, one of which would become Nintendo’s most iconic character, Mario. It was this initial success, that propelled Miyamoto into a career as a game designer, producer, director, and hardware developer, influencing the industry throughout his forty years at Nintendo.