Japanese Pros & Tourney Winners Forfeit More Than US$80,000 In Prize Money

Those in the Fighting Game Community, especially fans of Street Fighter V, must already know by now about the legendary SFV player Yusuke Momochi and his stance of opposing Japan’s strict laws in esports.

Momochi recently won first place at the Capcom Pro Tour Street Fighter V Asia Premier which had its final matches played at Tokyo Game Show 2019. Unfortunately, he only got ¥60,200 out of the ¥5,000,000 grand prize. In rough calculations, he only brought home US$570 out of US$46,000. God, just typing that hurts.

Just a few days ago, the young champion of a Puzzle & Dragons tournament also had to forfeit his grand prize of the same amount. Junior high school student Yuwa only brought home a trophy, a gaming headset, a year’s supply of chocolate almonds, and a year’s supply of Real Gold Dragon Boost energy drink.

Yuwa getting his champion’s trophy. Image was taken from Yuwa’s Twitter account.

So why didn’t these two skilled players get what they deserve?

Basically the same reason why kids can’t drive. No license.

You see, the Japanese eSports Union (JeSU) sees competitive gaming as a form of gambling. So a system was established to keep track of competitors who wanted to make a career out of esports. Only those who hold a pro gamer license would be able to get the full prize money that they deserve. If you don’t have the license, you’re only eligible to earn only Â¥100,000 (roughly US$900).

Momochi has always been vocal on his criticism towards the system while Yuwa was simply restricted due to age. Players between the age of 13 to 15 are only allowed to compete under a junior license which actually takes away their right to win any prize money.

I don’t want to make any biased statements against the JeSU because I honestly don’t know what kind of research they’ve done to back up their decision-making. However, I still believe it’s super unfair that these two don’t get their prize money despite showing great skill and talent.

Thank you to Kotaku for bringing up the story of Momochi and Yuwa.

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