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Shogi 28 February 2018

“Ladies Professional Shogi Player and Her Mother” Vol. 1 Ms. Io Murota (Female 2-Dan)

Nae Kanamoto

Background for this special series on ladies professional Shogi players.

We, i-tsu-tsu, work on disseminating Japanese traditional culture, mostly Shogi.

As part of our efforts, we are going to post a series of articles written by five ladies professional Shogi players in a relay system. All of them started to learn Shogi from their childhood. From their own experiences, they talk to you about the charm and fun of Shogi, or memories with their mothers. Hopefully, the stories will help more children and mothers to start or to become interested in Shogi.

First, we would like to thank those excellent ladies professional players who contribute articles to our site.

Today, we are going to present the memorable first article by Ms. Io Murota who has a Second Dan.

Do what you love and success will come.

“Come on, let’s play together, Little girl.” An old man repeatedly approached and invited me to play Shogi, although, I kept on refusing his proposals and said “No” to him. This old man was my motivator to start Shogi.

I just followed my Mother to pick my little brother from Shogi class. The old man, a Kasugai branch chief, continued to invite such an unmotivated girl to join Shogi class. Finally, I started to learn it three months later after my brother had started.

Those days, outside of school, I had several classes including piano, swimming, English, and calligraphy. None of them strongly attracted a little girl’s attention. The old man’s passion for Shogi wore me down and took me to the Shogi tournament. I didn’t expect Shogi would become my lifetime thing, but at the first stage, I played four games with two wins and two losses. I said, “I want to do more!”, which was my first experience that I expressed my initiative to continue “classes”.

Half year later, I quitted all classes other than Shogi class. On each holiday, my mom drove everywhere in Aichi Prefecture to give me and my little brother opportunities to attend Shogi classes. I and my brother didn’t remember all movements of pieces, and so our mother took game records for us.

When I was the sixth-grade at school and had the first grade in Shogi, which was Spring, I recognized the existence of ladies professional Shogi players. Until then, I had vague image about Shogi, which Shogi was for boys, therefore I believed professional players should be men. So, knowing that women could be professional Shogi player was sensational. Women who are talented and beauties do exist! I adored them and dreamed to become someone like them. I couldn’t help saying, “I will become a professional Shogi player.” It was funny, but inevitable. The chance to witness a real ladies professional Shogi player still remains in my mind.

I started to dedicate myself to Shogi, before I knew it. All the way, I went thousands of places in where Shogi tournaments were held, even Tokyo, Osaka. I remember I went to Tendo, Yamagata prefecture, when I was junior-high. It was my great opportunity to establish a circle of friends and give me uplifting influence for good.

Even though I had really enjoyed my life with Shogi, I sometimes complained about the lack of time to play with friends in my hometown and argued with my mother about that. It was common rebellious age problems. Now I think I can understand my feelings that I had, but at the same time I am glad not to throw away Shogi from losing my temper. Anyhow, I appreciate my mother played the role of the villain to talk me out of quitting Shogi.

“Do what you love and success will come.” I never imagined I would get so much attracted to Shogi in the future. Through many life experiences, I have found Shogi as things that I should engage with.

In this day and age, we have a large choice in our lives. I think it is wonderful if you could find something you like through your real experiences. But if you don’t notice the existence of something, surely you can’t develop a taste for it. So, I would recommend children to do and experience anything they would be interested in. When that happen, I believe parents’ support is crucial and the experience children gain will certainly become their life asset.

Ms. Akiko Nakakura is one of ladies professional Shogi players whom I adore foremost. I am wondering how my old self would look on me when I tell her, “Now I am working with your idol!”

Among several classes, Ms. Murota
Among several classes, Ms. Murota

Who is the next?

In this special series, “Ladies Professional Shogi Player and Her Mother”, at the end of each article, the writer will give you a clue for the next writer.

The following is the first clue from Ms. Murota:
She was used to be Kansai headquarters-based and now belongs to Tokyo headquarters. She is also a ladies professional Shogi player and a mother.

Guess who?

この記事の執筆者Nae Kanamoto

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