Nippon Ichi Software was founded in September 1991 in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, as an entertainment software company. It was relocated and reincorporated on July 12, 1993. 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. subsidiary of Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. of Japan, established its North American operations on December 24, 2003. Based in Santa Ana, California, NIS America, Inc. handles operations including localization, marketing, and publishing of Nippon Ichi titles. The first game to be released in North America by NIS America was Phantom Brave. NIS America was the result of the company's wish to focus on international publication of their works in the U.S., given the increased popularity of their titles. Prior to the creation of this subsidiary, NIS software titles that appeared in the U.S. 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. The publisher has become a somewhat of a well-known presence in the North American market, having won RPGLand's "Stateside Publisher of the Year Award" in 2009.