Youngest Shogi Professional Sota Fujii Becomes the First Middle School Student to Reach Rank 5-dan

The youngest shogi professional player in history, 4-dan Sota Fujii (15), has successfully claimed a victory with 114 moves against 4-dan Hirotaka Kajiura on the ninth round of the class C2 Meijin ranking tournament at the Shogi Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo. With this being Fujii’s ninth consecutive victory, his advancement to class C1 has been guaranteed without him having to wait for the last round. At the same time, this advancement has also fulfilled the condition for him to be promoted to rank 5-dan. This is the first time in history that a middle school student has managed to achieve both of these accomplishments.

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Continue reading Youngest Shogi Professional Sota Fujii Becomes the First Middle School Student to Reach Rank 5-dan

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Sota Fujii, Ryuuou no Oshigoto!, and the New Age of Shogi

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“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

—Mark Twain

I have been seeing a lot of responses to Ryuuou no Oshigoto! (The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done) right after the anime started airing. Among them, one that I frequently encounter is “how unrealistic the plot of the story is”. On one side, we have a 9-year old girl who has only played shogi for three months; on another, we have… a 16-year old boy who is both a professional shogi player and a title holder. Some remarked how the child prodigy trope is utilized too excessively, which ruined the so-called realism of the show.

But, is it really unrealistic? Or, if I were to pose another question, to what extent would a real-life achievement in shogi be considered “realistic”?

In this post, I won’t be talking about Hifumi Kato, a former Meijin who is the professional shogi player with the longest career. Nor will I be talking about Yoshiharu Habu, who is the only person ever to be qualified for seven professional lifetime titles in shogi. This time, it’s about Sota Fujii, the youngest professional shogi player who recorded a winning streak of 29 matches at his young age of 14.

Continue reading Sota Fujii, Ryuuou no Oshigoto!, and the New Age of Shogi