Children, Teen, Japan, Shogi

Children, Teen

Gawky teen star wins new fans for Japan's 'game of generals'

Gawky teen star wins new fans for Japan's 'game of generals'

18/10/2021 11:32:00 AM

Gawky teen star wins new fans for Japan 's 'game of generals'

Shogi , the Japan ese chess variant known as the 'game of generals', is enjoying a wave of popularity in its homeland thanks to a gawky teenage prodigy with a rock-star following.

Japan's professional shogi player Sota Fujii has given the game a wave of popularity in its homeland thanks to his rock-star following. Photo: AFPShogi, the Japanese chess variant known as the"game of generals", is enjoying a wave of popularity in its homeland thanks to a gawky teenage prodigy with a rock-star following.

Polis serbu parti liar kolam renang, 299 ditahan | Harian Metro Sabah CM: Social media influencers urged to spread word on govt policies | Malay Mail Kepentingan mencapai maqam ihsan | Harian Metro

Sota Fujii's incredible success and quirky charm have made him a household name in Japan, dusting off the traditional board game's musty image and taking it to a new audience.The 19-year-old became the youngest player ever to reach shogi's highest rank of ninth dan this summer and last month became the youngest to hold three of the sport's eight major titles.

Fujii launched his bid to capture a fourth in the best-of-seven"Ryuo" championship series earlier this month, and his fellow professionals credit him with breathing new life into the chess-like game."It used to be only shogi fans who would follow it, but now general news programmes have shogi stories and that has attracted new fans," professional shogi player Taichi Nakamura told AFP.

"There never used to be many female shogi fans. But since Sota Fujii came along, a lot of women have taken an interest."With his unruly mop of hair, goofy grin and high-pitched, lilting voice, Fujii may appear an unlikely pin-up.But his face beams out from magazines, billboards and TV screens all over Japan, and his favourite cakes sell out at convenience stores within hours of him eating them during games.

His pronouncements to the media are typically understated."I don't pay so much attention to the titles themselves," Fujii said after his latest victory."The most important thing for me is how strong I can become."Ancient mercenaries

Shogi is played on a plain wooden board with pieces distinguished by painted Chinese characters. It has existed in its current form for about 400 years.The rules are similar to chess, with the main difference that captured pieces can switch sides and return to the board -- a practice said to stem from the mercenaries of 15th century Japan.

"I've been playing shogi for more than 50 years now and I've never got bored of it," said retired professional Kazuo Ishida, ranked ninth dan."That's because it's a game with infinite variety. You never get the same game twice."

Hamil luar nikah, gadis ditemukan mati di kubur bapa - Utusan Digital 114 pelajar Sekolah Seri Puteri dalam keadaan baik | Harian Metro Ingatkan gerak pagi selamat, lelaki ditahan bersama 164 kg ganja | Harian Metro

Shogi apprentices must reach first dan by the age of 21 and fourth dan by 26 if they want to turn professional. There are currently around 160 active professional players in Japan.Professionals receive a salary from the association and can earn extra from prize money and commentating on matches.

Pro player Nakamura says Fujii's high profile has attracted casual fans who are less interested in the intricacies of the game and more in the players themselves."There has been a marked increase in the number of people who don't play shogi but watch professional matches," he said.

"People have started enjoying contests in terms of the personal storyline between the two players."'Everyone knows him'Popular shogi-themed manga and anime have also helped stoke interest, but Fujii is not the first superstar the sport has produced.

Yoshiharu Habu was the original shogi prodigy, winning his first major title as a 19-year-old in 1989 before going on to hold them all at the same time -- a feat yet to be repeated.Habu was lauded with Japan's People's Honour Award in 2018 and has won 99 titles over the course of his career.

The retired player Ishida believes Fujii is stronger than Habu was in his prime, but says it remains to be seen if he can match his sustained success.He thinks there has been a"dramatic" change in the way people enjoy shogi."I think there were probably more people playing in Habu's era, but there are now a lot more fans who watch matches," he said.

"'Habu fever' was something to behold, but I think everyone in the whole country knows who Fujii is."Fujii's influence can certainly be seen in the Sunday morning kids class that Ishida teaches in Kashiwa, near Tokyo.He says more children have taken up the sport since Fujii's rise to prominence -- and there is no doubt who their favourite player is.

Sarawak election: Covid-19 positive voters not allowed to exit current treatment location on polling day | Malay Mail Ibrahimovic bengang Man United kedekut | Harian Metro Inspektor mengamuk direman tiga hari | Harian Metro

"Sota Fujii is really cool," said seven-year-old Soichi Ishikawa, struggling to make himself heard over the clack of pieces."I want to become a professional shogi player when I'm older. - AFP Read more: The Star »

Sabbaruddin Chik laid to rest in Bukit Kiara

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Culture, Arts and Tourism minister Tan Sri Sabbaruddin Chik was buried at the Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery 1 here on Sunday (Dec 5) morning.

Edmund Yeo on ‘Moonlight Shadow’ and its screening in Japan without him | Malay MailKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — The last time I spoke to Malaysian film director Edmund Yeo, he was busy with his return to the Tokyo Film Festival with his film Malu.  In what seems like a short span of time, Yeo has moved on to his next feature film and what is a huge milestone: the...

New Japan PM sends offering to controversial Yasukuni shrine | Malay MailTOKYO, Oct 17 — Japan ’s new prime minister today sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni shrine that honours war dead and is seen by neighbouring countries as a symbol of Tokyo’s past militarism. Fumio Kishida sent the “masakaki” tree offering under his name as prime minister...

Glorious day for China as they beat Japan to regain Uber Cup trophyPETALING JAYAL China showed their determination to bag their 15th Uber Cup Finals title.

China wrest Uber Cup from Japan, clinch record 15th title | Malay MailAARHUS, Oct 17 — China wrested back the Uber Cup title from Japan after defeating the defending champions 3-1 in the final played at the Ceres Arena here on Saturday night (Sunday early morning in Malaysia.) The win also helped China lift the trophy for a record 15th time, after having won the...

US intelligence chief to meet with South Korea, Japan counterparts | Malay MailWASHINGTON, Oct 16 ― The intelligence chiefs of the United States, South Korea and Japan are expected to meet in Seoul early next week for closed-door discussions about North Korea, among other issues, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a government source. US Director of National Intelligence...

New Japan PM sends offering to controversial Yasukuni shrine | New Straits TimesTOKYO: Japan ’s new prime minister on Sunday sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni shrine that honours the war dead but is seen by neighbouring countries as a symbol of Tokyo’s past militarism.