Hello Mahjong players of the world, this is Shintaro Konno. Last I wrote about, “Golden One-Away,” the word created by the comic artist Masayuki Katayama, but it seems like the fact that I mentioned Masayuki Katayama was noticed by the readers. I asked Jenn, “Why do people outside of Japan know about Mr. Katayama?” She said it was because they read Obaka Miiko.
“Wow, really?” I was surprised to hear that it was read by people outside of Japan. I knew that Japanese comics and animations were popular outside of Japan, but I didn’t think that a comic like Mr. Katayama’s would be read overseas.
When I heard that, I remembered the time when I first got interested in the professional Mahjong community.
It’s already been 20 years since then. At that time I was working at a Mahjong parlor, spending my days working on my game, but I never put much thought into becoming a pro.
Then, one day I saw the comic, “No Mark Bakuhaitou” (No Mark Bomb-tile Clan), written by Mr. Katayama.
“No Mark Bakuhaitou” was a comic about the world of Mahjong pro’s with captivating characters named Bakuoka, Teppeki, Daisuke, Chabashira and Yatsuzaki playing each other and in the end Bakuoka defeats Teppeki. I read this piece and for the first time I was interested in the Mahjong pro world. I started to think that I would like to stand on a stage like that someday. After I thought that I had gained enough skill, I made my debut as a pro in 2000.
I am already in my 10th year as a pro, but when my junior pros ask me what a good book to read is, I always tell them to read “No Mark Bakuhaitou.”
I had one dream. That was that I would be a model for a character in Mr. Katayama’s comic.
There are many dreams that don’t come true, but this one did. In the comic, “Kotodama Mambo” there was a character named “Konjiki,” that was modeled after me. (It wasn’t the main character )
This is one of my favorite memories since I started my work as a pro.
In that way, I can say that Masayuki Katayama changed my life. All of his work is great. It might be hard to find outside of Japan, but if you can get a hold of it, I recommend all of his work. Be on the lookout.
See you next time.
Shintaro Konno is Grade 4 in the Japan Professional Mahjong League and runs mahjong lessons in the Kanto region. You can find him as a pro on Ron2 and Konami’s Mahjong Fight Club.