Japan’s Mahjong Masters tournament qualifying additional WRC seats
This year the JPML is qualifying two seats for the 2020 World Riichi Championship in addition to the usual delegation of professional players.
For previous WRC tournaments, Japan’s closed selection process has only allowed professional players to represent their country at these events. (With two WRC tournaments to look at so far, this isn’t exactly a deep analysis.) This year, however, two additional spots have opened as qualifier seats that are only available to amateur players.
JPML’s 29th Mahjong Masters tournament is scheduled to begin in April, preceded by several qualifying events for professionals and amateurs. The final rounds take place in early May. As stated on the event information page of JPML’s website, the top two amateurs of the Mahjong Masters tournament will be offered the invitation to attend in Vienna.
The process to reach the tournament stage of Mahjong Masters is still a challenging prospect. Players need to make past the qualifying stages, and into the tournament phase. Once the tournament is over, invitations will be offered to amateur players, starting with the top placing participants, until both seats have been accepted. Amateur players are still required to cover the financial costs of attending in Vienna.
So what has motivated the JPML to add this change? In addition to JPML’s growing global support of Riichi played worldwide, Gemma Sakamoto of WRC states, “I wanted there to be a possibility of seeing Japanese amateurs getting to WRC, and the Masters tournament is a great way to offer them a path to the tournament.”