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Mahjong Watch News

Professional people talk

Living with Mahjong #5-1

Daisuke Takahata

Sega NET Mahjong MJ Director 

September 23rd 2015

“Mahjong Made Me more Patient”

"Do you want to go to a geisen?" "Geisen" is an abbreviation for "game center" in Japanese. It is also called an "Amusement Facility" in the gaming industry. Words are abbreviated because they are used frequently. From middle and high school students to the even the elderly in recent times, game centers in Japan are popular. We had a chance to talk to Mr. Daisuke Takahata from SEGA Interactive Inc., which supplies many of these game centers with their machines.

Who is Daisuke Takahata?

Born in Hokkaido, 1981. Blood type A, Aquarius. Assistant manager of SEGA Interactive 2nd Research and Development Headquarters. The director for Sega NET Mahjong (MJ) for smartphones as of September, 2015. Favorite hand is Sanshoku Dojyun. His signature move is tsumo giri okkake riichi and tsumo with 300/500 after dealer riichi.

Raised in a Land of the Legendary Horses

Haiseiko, Toukaiteiou, Naritabrian—these are some of the names of the legendary racehorses that the town of Niikappu, Hokkaido, has produced. Mr. Takahata grew up in an environment where stellar racehorses are bred.

“The only pastime for me was to play on my NES.” says Mr. Takahata with a smile.

Mr. Takahata's father worked as the head rancher at a ranch for producing thoroughbreds in Niikappu, Hokkaido. Mr. Takahata, who lived on the ranch, biked to an elementary school 4 kilometers away. The road was not paved and there were no streetlights.

"When I finished school, I went straight home. If I went to my friend's house, I wouldn’t be able to go home since it’d be so dark by the time I leave.” Mr. Takahata stated with a laugh.

“Once I got home I’d be absorbed into the world of NES my father bought for me, and I’d be in bed by 8:00. I also owned a copy of a Mahjong game for the, but since I didn't really know the rules, I didn't play it much."

This is a living environment where the horses are the top priority since they are worth tens of millions of yen. It was strictly forbidden to make any sort of loud noise. 

"For example, we would never think of shooting fireworks in the summer. If something happened because the horses got scared by the noise, it would have been difficult to manage."

This is Mr. Takahata’s hometown, Niikappu, Hokkaido, that produced a number of racehorses that thrilled the entirety of Japan.

A Shocking School Trip

Mr. Takahata's career is interesting. After working part-time at Kyoto Joypolis, he joined SEGA Amusement Kansai Co., Ltd. (now SEGA Entertainment Co., Ltd.). The story goes back to his high school days.

"When I was in the second year of high school, I went to Kyoto for a school trip. I had the opportunity to go to Kyoto Joypolis on the 10th floor of Isetan Kyoto Station, which I was able to enter for free. I was astounded.”

Kyoto Joypolis was an amusement theme park operated by SEGA Entertainment Co., Ltd.

"This is not a place where you can describe with only a single word. It was only one floor, but at that time it was the same size as one of Japan's top 5 game centers. It was glorious and for me it was the same as an amusement park.

“’How do I convince my parents to let me go to Kyoto?’ That was the only thing on my mind after that."

In 2001, right after graduating high school, Mr. Takahata started living by himself in Kyoto. His wish came true, and he started a part-time job in Kyoto Joypolis.

"Living in Kyoto was my dream. Every day was exciting. How the old and new coexisted in Kyoto was also a good fit for me. The customers were mainly students. I did everything from being the attendee, commentating for the horse racing game and for tournaments between shops in Kansai, customer service, and repairs. 

“It was especially exciting when I planned an event for a racing game called <Initial D ARCADESTAGE>. We had a lot of customers participate and it was amazing. I also participated as the commentator for the event and it was really fun. However, when I heard that the contract term with the tenant would expire in 2002 and be closed down soon after, it felt like there was a hole in my life."

continue to Living with Mahjong #5-2