Kochi Prefecture pachinko operator Hamako shut down this week in preparation for bankruptcy proceedings in what is being described as one of the biggest business collapses in this rural prefecture in decades.
Established in 1953, Hamako and its three subsidiaries had at one time operated four pachinko parlors as well as some restaurants, but it has now collapsed under a combined debt of around JPY4 billion (US$36 million).
At its peak in the mid-1990s, Hamako’s annual revenues reached almost JPY13 billion ($117 million). After that, however, the decline in the popularity of pachinko and competition from major enterprises from outside the prefecture drove the firm into a gradual decline from which it was unable to escape.
Hamako’s final two pachinko parlors, Passo Asakura and Circle 8 Niida, closed their doors on Sunday for the last time.