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Blog: It turns out Banjo-Kazooie was named after the Nintendo president’s grandson
Before VGC’s launch I was fortunate enough to visit a number of independent studios across Japan – and the drinking establishments around them.
During my travels the topic of Yooka-Laylee, a spiritual successor to Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie games, would naturally come up, since I worked on it. And during one such conversation, a revelation was uncovered. With the blog section of this site launched, I can finally document it.
Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi has a grandson called – funnily enough – Banjo Yamauchi. His son is named Katsuhito Yamauchi, or ‘Katsuhi’ for short. When you combine these names you end up with ‘Banjo-Katsuhi’ – and it’s not a coincidence. I know, because the original game’s developers confirmed it.
UPDATE: Nintendo has officially announced Banjo-Kazooie Nintendo Switch for its Switch Online subscription service.
When I tweeted the story last year, Banjo-Kazooie’s game director Gregg Mayles said of my drunken Kyoto anecdote:
In Rare’s Nintendo heyday, it’s my understanding that the reigning Stamper brothers would’ve had the most oversight on issues such as this. And since they virtually never do interviews, we may never know the full story.
Banjo-Kazooie composer Grant Kirkhope didn’t have a clue when I asked him.
Following Hiroshi Yamauchi’s passing in 2013 his Nintendo stock was inherited by both Banjo and Katsuhito, and consequently they were two of the company’s biggest shareholders (these shares were later sold back to the company for over $1bn).
I wonder if Shigeru Miyamoto has an uncle named Mr. Pants?