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Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. was founded in 1994 in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, as an entertainment software company. Since then Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. has grown into an international company focused on creating video game products across modern console platforms. NIS America, Inc., the United States-based subsidiary of Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. of Japan, established operations on December 24, 2003. Based in Santa Ana, California, NIS America, Inc. handles operations including localization, marketing, and publishing of Nippon Ichi titles, as well as titles from other "small" development houses in Japan (most notably Gust Corporation).
NIS America was the result of the company's wish to focus on internal publication of their works in the US, given the increased popularity of their titles. Prior to the creation of this subsidiary, NIS software titles that appeared in the US were localized and distributed by outside publishers. Notable examples would be Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, published in North America by Atlus and in Europe by Koei, La Pucelle, published in North America by Mastiff Inc, and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure which was also published in North America by Atlus. Nippon Ichi, meaning "Japan's Best" or "#1 in Japan," is often abbreviated as "N1."