Episode 1. [Introduction] ~ Formation, Association and Birth of a Mahjong「Pro」~➀(Babby’s New・「Professional Theory」)

Check Mahjong No Jan-Ryu for the original article.

*Translation of the original article start below*

This article is from one of monthly magazine “Mahjong Kai”’s popular articles called Babby’s New・「Professional Theory」. Below will be a special post from the magazine that was released on the「February 1st, 2016 Edition」(Bold and colored fonts were added for the purpose of this site)

▼▼▼ Baba Pro’s article follows below ▼▼▼

「Change」Is Something That Was Brought After 5 years Time.

It’s been a while, my fellow「Mahjong Kai」readers. This is Hirokazu Baba, aka Babby.

I have returned after 5 years of absense. Thank you all and it will be a pleasure to be with you all again.

It has been a little over 5 years since the end of publishing「Babby’s Professional Theory」. During those days, there has been many「changes」amongst the Mahjong community and the Mahjong professionals.

As mentioned in the articles 5 years ago, the biggest impact were things like Nico-Nama, SNS, Online Mahjong and other various elements within the internet world. The internet eveolved Mahjong from a 「Playing Game」into a 「Watching Game」.

A new fan bases were made where they learned how to play Mahjong through the internet and get better, and even as far as going to participating in online competition tournaments.

「Mahjong Professionals」were created 40~45 years ago, and who would have thought a new generation like this would have sprouted. I was asked by the editorial department from Mahjong Kai last year to re-start a series with this same exact theme. The temporary name for the series of articles was「New Professional Theory」.

It was mainly to examine the Mahjong community in this new era and to write suggestions from Mahjong professionals, but I realized something. Before talking about「New Professional Theory」, I thought we needed to go over the history of Mahjong professionals first.

For example――

Why did a category such as a「Mahjong Professional」created?
What was the reason for creating a「Mahjong Professional」title match?
What was the process of forming a「Mahjong Professional」organization?
Why and how did the「Mahjong Professional」organization split up?

――and such to name a few.

I’m assuming that many of the younger Mahjong professionals would not be able to answer these questions. If anything, I hear that there are many「misunderstandings」regarding these topics.

It’s not like the old saying to visit the old to learn something new, but one cannot discuss「New Professiona Theory」unless they do not fully understand the history up to the current day of a Mahjong professional. ―― That is what I strongly felt.

So before we go into the actual main topic, let’s go through the「History」part as an introduction.

Although I will be pulling some information from various sources, majority of what we will be going over will be through my personal「View」and「Memory」.

This is because my personal Mahjong experience itself will link to the「History of Mahjong Professionals」. That being said, please bare with me as it might sound like「my personal history」for a while.

The Origin of Babby

I first learned Mahjong in Showa 48 Period (1973) and was in the 8th grade.

Coincidently this was the same year when「Kindai Mahjong」(Takeshobou)was first published.

Although the first Mahjong specific publication was by「Pro Mahjong Nyumon」(Shinhyoshya), Kinda Mahjong was the first publication that was released on a periodic basis(monthly magazine).

In an era where there were no places to play Mahjong or internet, Game Centers nor game consoles, the only thing for me to look forward to what Kindai Mahjong and a Mahjong class that was aired every Friday called 「11PM」.

But I was only 14 years old at the time. Fully understanding Kinda Mahjong was difficult, and so was 11PM since I had to sneak my way without getting caught by my parents.

But I was still able to learn about「Tetsuya Asada」though Kinda Mahjong, and 「Takeo Kojima」through 11PM.

These two became ideal role models for me.

I then go to high school in the Showa 50 Period (1975). This is the time when something happened that solidified my Mahjong career. With Kinda Mahjong’s revised magazine structure and myself being able to understand more of its contents, Mahjong became so much fun that I was lost for words.

The matches, the strategies, the interviews, the columns, the novels, the comics, the reader’s words and even the editorial messages were all things that I was reading into all day.

I read the same page over and over. I even brought it to school with me, and had Kindai Mahjong open during my train commute, in class, during lunch and pretty much everywhere I had a chance.

And one day, on my way to school, I had an attacked by an extreme urge for something.

「To read the next edition as soon as possible!」

As a implusive move, I change my train route and headed to Iidabashi Station. Yes, I headed towards Takeshobou with a stand-up collared school uniform. It was pretty crazy of me, looking back at it now.

No high schooler elsewhere would have ditched school to go buy a prereleases Mahjong magazine directly from the publisher. I’m sure the staff at Takeshobou were surprised as well.

But once they knew that there was a high school student with a stand-up collared uniform who was also a Kinda Mahjong fanatic, I was forced into the president’s office. That is where I met Kyoichiro Noguchi(deceased).

(To be continued)

▲▲▲ Baba Pro’s article ends here▲▲▲

Click Here for Episode 2.

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