Iwata-san is a new book published today in Japan, charting the history of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata through interviews. One of those, released and translated in excerpt today, is a new interview with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto about the late Nintendo president.
In sections shared and translated by IGN, Miyamoto reflects on his relationship with Iwata. Though they rarely worked together on games, the two were close, often sharing thoughts with each other over lunches.
"To me, he was a friend more than anything," Miyamoto says. "It never felt like he was my boss or that I was working under him. He never got angry; we never fought about anything."
Miyamoto shared stories of the two going Dutch on food bills, a tradition they held even as the two later ascended the Nintendo ladder. Though Miyamoto was seven years older than Iwata, it was never a point of friction that the latter became the former's boss. "It had always been obvious that he was more suited for the position (than me), so it never became a problem," Miyamoto says. "I think it allowed us to naturally become true friends."
Shigesato Itoi, creator of EarthBound and founder of Hobonichi, which is publishing Iwata-san, commented on Miyamoto and Iwata's friendship in another interview translated by IGN.
"On the day of Iwata's funeral, it rained in torrents, and Miyamoto and I were waiting around," Itoi says in a new interview. "Suddenly I decided to ask him how much chance Iwata himself had believed he had to be cured. Miyamoto responded immediately, in a very natural manner. 'He totally believed that he would become better. He didn't have the slightest intention to die.' That answer made me realize just how close Miyamoto and Iwata were, and to what extent they understood each other."
Iwata died in 2015 due to a bile duct growth at age 55, but left behind a lasting legacy at Nintendo. The games industry has since honored him in various ways, from translating previously Japan-only excerpts of his popular Iwata Asks column to hidden tributes on Nintendo Switch consoles. It's touching to still see so many remember him and reflect on the impact he had on both Nintendo and the industry as a whole.