Shogi prodigy Sota Fujii won the prestigious Meijin championship June 1, making him only the second player in the Japanese board game’s history to hold seven major titles simultaneously after Yoshiharu Habu.
The 20-year-old Fujii, who has improved his skills with the use of artificial intelligence software, clinched the best-of-seven Meijin series against his 39-year-old opponent, Akira Watanabe, by winning Game 5 in Takayama, Nagano Prefecture.
He also became the youngest Meijin title holder, breaking the previous record of 21 years, two months, set by Koji Tanigawa in 1983.
Fujii holds seven of the game’s eight major titles, with Takuya Nagase holding the last remaining title, Oza.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve come to this point, one step at a time,” a humble Fujii said. “I’ll work hard to live up to my new status (as a holder of seven major titles). I’ll try to raise my level even by a little bit.”
Fujii has broken numerous records for youngest player, turning pro at 14 and two months and winning his first major, Kisei, in July 2020 at 17 and 11 months.
On June 5, Fujii won the first game of the best-of-five Kisei title match series in Vietnam. It was his first overseas game.(Kyodo)