Minoru Arakawa is the founder and first president of Nintendo of America. Formerly a real-estate developer, Arakawa married Yoko Yamauchi, daughter of Hiroshi Yamauchi, then-president of Nintendo Co. LTD of Japan. Effective, though a workaholic, Arakawa's potential was seen early on by Hiroshi Yamauchi, who convinced Arakawa (against the objections of his wife) to become president of Nintendo of America.
Under Arakawa's leadership, and after a rocky start, Nintendo of America saw success with arcade hit Donkey Kong. Arakawa tapped young (and little-known) employee Shigeru Miyamoto to design and program Donkey Kong after Nintendo failed to make headway in the US with Radar Scope. Donkey Kong was a wild success in the US and bolstered Nintendo's commitment to their new market.
During the decline of the arcade era, Arakawa convinced Nintendo of Japan to sell the Famicom (NES) in the US, which was a smashing success. A charistmatic, yet soft-spoken individual, Arakawa made Nintendo a household name in the US and was influential in decision-making at Nintendo, including overseeing the launch of the Pokémon series, until his retirement in January of 2002.