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Shogi King Sota Fujii Makes Record Earnings from Winnings, Fees in 2023; 1st to Claim All 8 Shogi Titles in Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sota Fujii

Multi-titleholder Sota Fujii earned a record ¥186.34 million from shogi prize money and playing fees in 2023, according to a list of the 10 highest-earning shogi players released by the Japan Shogi Association on Monday.

Fujii, 21, has topped the list for the second year in a row. In 2023, he became the first player to hold all eight titles of Ryuo, Meijin, Oi, Eio, Oza, Kio, Osho and Kisei at the same time.

Ninth-dan Akira Watanabe, 39, was second on the list with ¥45.62 million in earnings, followed by ninth-dan Takuya Nagase, 31, with ¥35.09 million.

Fujii’s earnings in 2023 were the highest on record for a shogi player since 1989, when the association started publishing the list.

The previous record was held by ninth-dan Yoshiharu Habu, 53, who earned ¥165.97 million in 1995. At the time, there were only seven titles, and Habu had nearly won them all.

At the beginning of 2023, Fujii held five of the titles, while Watanabe held the Kio and Meijin titles, and Nagase held the Oza title.

Fujii won the other three titles while defending his own, increasing his prize money and playing fees by ¥64.29 million compared to the previous year.