With even Nintendo hit by the global financial crisis, the 81-year-old Yamauchi's net worth plunged by $3.3 billion to $4.5 billion. He is now ranked third by business magazine Forbes Asia's March 2 issue.
Japan's 2009 top ten plutocrats are:
1. Tadashi Yanai (Uniqlo), $6.1 billion
2. Kunio Busujima (Sankyo), $5.2 billion
3. Hiroshi Yamauchi (Nintendo), $4.5 billion
4. Akira Mori (Mori Trust), $4.2 billion
5. Masayoshi Son (Softbank), $3.9 billion
6. Eitaro Itoyama (free agent), $3.7 billion
7. Hiroshi Mikitani (Rakuten), $3.6 billion
8. Nobutada Saji (Suntory), $3.5 billion
9. Hiroko Takei (Takefuji heiress/widow), $2.8 billion
10. Takemitsu Takizaki (Keyence), $2.4 billion
Yamauchi ruled the company with an iron hand and oversaw Nintendo's transition into video games.