~ The following article is from “Mahjong Kai No 12” ~
This is an extra article, in which Oogai writes about sympathy towards mahjong pros. Mahjong pros are the child of someone, and as you’d expect their feelings can be hurt, and the words of opponents or unknown people can be scary.
On a certain video site, during a live broadcast of a big title championships for women’s pro mahjong, a certain incident occurred. I happened to see the scene, and I couldn’t take it, so I threw out the script that was nearly completed and hurried to write this, which became the contents for this article. I’m sorry that the headings and the contents may not match completely, but please understand.
There are no humans who don’t make mistakes
In this 8 match finals to decide the best of women’s mahjong, we’ll make note of the approximate score after 6 matches.
For the first time on this big of a stage, A-pro is leading with +60 points, followed by B-pro, whose skill would be recognized by anyone, at +50 points.
With a placement scoring system in which a single place higher is worth 20 points, you could call their scores essentially tied. And furthermore, C-pro is in the plus single digits, and with some effort in the remaining 2 matches, she’s still within range. And then, unexpectedly, the person stuck in last, starting out as the defending champion from last year but being blown out in the current women’s title match, is D-pro.
In that manner we head to the 7th match. As expected, in this match too, the two in good form are continuing to lead the field. And then in south 1, an incident happens on A-pro’s dealer turn. Heading into this round, B-pro was leading and A-pro was second, with a score difference of about 10000 points. With 2 riichi sticks left over, and being dealer, this is undoubtedly a do or die moment for A-pro.
However, being the first time in the finale of the championship finals on such a grand stage, A-pro was certainly extremely nervous, and, here she made the huge error of declaring noten riichi.
She immediately recognized that she misread the hand shape but it was too late, and unfortunately the round went to ryuukyoku and the result was a chombo, and at the end of the 7th match a penalty of minus 40 points was imposed.
Even if they are a pro, for a single human being to make a mistake is not a strange thing. And that’s saying nothing of her circumstances, being ①the first time on the big stage ②two matches away from the goal ③with respect for her well accomplished opponent ④with exhilaration for potentially being able to win ⑤feeing pressured due to letting said opponent take the lead ⑥in her first match surrounded by TV cameras and so on, there were a lot of conditions that would shake your concentration. I only knew up to ⑤, but even then that’s more than enough to make anyone extremely nervous. And when you add in ⑥, I can’t even imagine the difficulty of that. Who can blame someone for making a mistake with all that going on.
But the real shame was in the round right after having received the chombo, while still reeling from the shock, making unsteady discards against B-pro’s riichi, she dealt into a seemingly fatal mangan.
I am not very well-acquainted with A-pro. To the extent that I’ve never even talked to her. As such I wasn’t supporting her specifically when I was watching, it’s just that this way of losing is painful to watch. Surely many other people also share her pain.
So, for what reason did I take up my pen? It’s not in regards to her blunder or the way she played afterwards. While her mind was in disarray she held her head up and stuck her chest out, and did the best she could at the time I believe. What I’m concerned about is the thoughtless comments from viewers.
People who have watched this kind of broadcast before are probably already familiar with this, but for videos on this site, viewers comments scroll across in real time. What follows is quite a cold-hearted matter.
From the moment she declared noten riichi you could count the number of sympathetic comments. Everything else was various forms of vile and abusive comments. As viewers of this broadcast, you’d expect that these people put a lot of effort into mahjong. People like that must surely have experienced their own painful mistakes. Why would people like that insist on speaking ill of a mistake from someone else who also loves mahjong in the same way?
Am I the only one who is worried that, after this incident, broadcasts over the internet might not happen anymore? What will happen if people like me who feel unhappy about this raise their voices and video streaming sites pull out? If the leaders of each group conclude that “We must protect our players from people’s inconsiderate comments,” no one can say with certainty that this won’t happen.
Even though everyone who plays in front of the cameras thinks “I want to show good mahjong,” there will be times when the result is the opposite. At times like this, players will react to the anonymous comments written on the internet, to a greater extent than the people writing them realize. I’d like for people to, as much as possible, have a kinder outlook when watching, but how do you feel about that? Whether you are a pro or a fan, we should all strive to improve our strength in mahjong and our strength of character.
Good luck to A-pro in the future
This was the next day. Using a certain social network service, A-pro wrote a post titled “To the people who were kind enough to watch my match.”
In that, along with apologizing for being unable to meet expectations, she revealed that she had received a large amount of abusive messages, and continued on in this way:
“(A lot of people are saying ‘Resign’ but) I don’t want to quit. It is the last promise I made to my grandfather in heaven, so I don’t want to make this something that I give up so easily.”
I feel like I’ve been saved. Do your best A-pro. May your mahjong life be rich.
Author: Oogai, Hiromi
Profile: Born in 1960 and from Tokyo. With the 101 Kyogi-Renmei. The 22nd and 30th champion. After experiencing as a family-style restaurant manager, he fell in love with the competitive mahjong style and goes into the Pro Mahjong industry.
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Translator Daniel Pascua
I am a top competitor in many games who goes by the nickname DdR_Dan. I have been playing mahjong for 4 years, almost all online on tenhou. My biggest accomplishment in mahjong is probably maintaining 6 dan or higher rank on tenhou for over 1400 consecutive games, and reaching 7 dan once. I also played in the IORMC for the US team 2016 and 2017.