PUTEAUX, France - Mahjong News interviews The first ever World Champion of Riichi Mahjong, Hiroshi Yamai.
The final tiles have been drawn, and the four-day lead-up to the final Top Table two-hanchan battle has finished... and when the chips settled, it was Hiroshi Yamai to step out into the limelight as the world's first ever Champion of Riichi Mahjong.
The gathered crowd was eager to congratulate the new victor as Mahjong News caught up with him. JPML Pro Jenn Barr was on hand to translate, paraphrased here to share with our readers.
Yamai-san expressed tremendous gratitude at having been able to win this prestigious competition, noting that he did not ever imagine that such a thing was possible for himself. He noted he was simply grateful for the opportunity to come to France and play in the tournament. He stated he knew he would try his best, but winning wasn't something he thought would happen, and he is grateful for and honored by the title.
He also wanted to point out that he was impressed with the level of competition that the European and Western players brought to the table, and looked forward to more opportunities to test their metal in the future.
Mr. Hiroshi Yamai-san was a gracious and appreciative winner, and he will no doubt carry the torch as champion well, and Mahjong News offers him our deepest and most heart felt congratulations and esteem.