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Shogi record-breaker Sota Fujii announces he has left high school to focus on game

Sota Fujii is seen at Shogi Hall in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on July 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Naoaki Hasegawa)

TOKYO -- Shogi prodigy Sota Fujii, 18, withdrew from his high school, the Nagoya University Affiliated Upper Secondary School, at the end of January, according to an announcement by the Japan Shogi Association on Feb. 16.

    Fujii, the current holder of the Oi title, was a third-year student at the school. In his comments conveyed through the association, Fujii said, "By winning the title, my resolve to devote myself to shogi has grown stronger. In the autumn (of 2020) my mind was set, and after a number of discussions with my school, I presented my request to leave the facility dated at the end of January. I intend to work harder than before, and look forward to your support in the future."

    In 2016, when Fujii was aged 14 years and 2 months and in his second year at the Nagoya University Affiliated Lower Secondary School, the same institution's junior high school, he became the youngest person ever to turn pro in shogi. His school is an integrated one, and upon graduating from its junior high school he enrolled at the same institution's senior high school.

    Fujii broke records again in July 2020 when he became the youngest person in shogi history to win a title tournament; he was aged 17 years and 11 months when he earned the Kisei title. In August of the same year, he also obtained the Oi title and became the youngest person ever to have two titles to their name.

    (Japanese original by Hideki Yamamura, Cultural News Department)

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