TV Asahi Announcer Misaki Hayashi: “I like Cheeto TSU too much” – How a unique dual talent of a local announcer and a professional mahjong player was born! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

TV Asahi Announcer Misaki Hayashi: “I like Cheeto TSU too much” – How a unique dual talent of a local announcer and a professional mahjong player was born!

Direct interview with Misaki Hayashi!

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I’m just looking forward to the day I get to play!
News program anchor and professional mahjong player
Overcoming the opposition that rose within the station, I fulfilled a dream that I have had since my college days– I became a professional mahjong player.

A senior at his part-time job gave him a tile for his birthday, and that’s when he got hooked. Nothing has lasted longer than mahjong.”

As is often the case in romantic dramas, TV Asahi’s Misaki Hayashi, 33, who fell in love with mahjong and even became a professional mahjong player, did not have the best first impression of mahjong.

When I was preparing for the university entrance exam, my father and younger brother used to play mahjong at home. Even though everyone else was holed up in their rooms studying, I could hear the constant jingling and jangling, and I had a bad impression of ……, or rather, I hated it (laughs).

But at the end of his first year of college, he was drawn in after meeting a part-time worker again in his room.

I have always liked to think about this and that by myself. I look at the discarded tiles, and I look at how my opponent is doing. …… Mahjong is a game where no two situations are ever the same. It’s not often that you can even open a tile and say, ‘This is similar to the other day. That’s what makes it so much fun.”

The beautiful mahjong player smiled quietly when he said that this is the same reason why Sadaharu Oh, the world’s homerun king, is “only attracted to baseball.

Mahjong is a battle against yourself in the end. Even if I think a tile looks dangerous, there are times when I have to cut it in order to advance my hand, and there are times when I have to restrain myself. To go or to retreat – I can face myself carefully. Mahjong is just a day when I know when I’m going to play, and I’m looking forward to it.”

When he closes his eyes, all he can recall are the frustrating games. Among them, Hayashi says, “I will always have a memory of when I first started playing mahjong.

I swung at a single four concealed triplet. And it was a five-team hand. I was treated as a double yaku-man and I was the winning hand, so I was told, ‘Yes, 96,000 points. I was so upset (laughs). This is the only time I’ve ever seen someone go a-ga with four concealed cards in single hand, but recently I had a chance to make a tenpai. I waited for one round without riichi, but some people were ringing. I said to myself, ‘I have to go stop him,’ and I riichied, and the declared tile hit a tan’yao. ……

Hayashi’s favorite “yaku” is chi-titsu.

It takes a little time to reach tenpai, which is why I am so happy when I get an “ah-ga” (win). I like Chi-Tsu so much that even if there are not so many Suits, I always end up watching Chi-Tsu.

Last year, the popular announcer for the noon news program “ANN News,” whose photo on SNS became entertainment news, became a professional mahjong player.

This magazine wondered if such a two-faced career was possible, but what we found in front of us was a professional mahjong player with a love of mahjong.

He told us that he decided to become a professional mahjong player when he was in his third year at Meiji University, before he joined TV Asahi.

When I was looking for a job, I considered it as one of my options,” he said. When I saw professionals playing games and reporting on the action, I thought, ‘This is such a fun world. I wanted to learn mahjong and deepen my knowledge of the game.

After much deliberation, he chose to become a bureau announcer, a dream that could only come true as a new graduate, but he continued to dream of becoming a professional mahjong player. When the M-League was launched in 2006, he finally couldn’t hold back his thoughts. It is such an interesting game, but there are still people who have a bad image of it. As an announcer, I wondered if there was anything I could do to convey the beauty and fun of mahjong.

Is it possible to become a professional mahjong player while working at TV Asahi?

When I asked the head of the announcing department directly, I received an unexpected answer.

He said, “‘It is possible. If you really want to pursue it, it would be great if you could follow the process as a project. That was the reason for the “Hajimete Hajimete” video, “Tetsuman. Hayashi – Road to becoming a professional mahjong player” (from February 2008).

However, this unprecedented project ended in failure. Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the project had to be abandoned. Nevertheless, Anna Hayashi’s passion for the project was not lost. Moved by his enthusiasm, a helping hand was extended to him.

Ayaka Matsuda, 29, a professional mahjong player whom she met in TV Asahi’s mahjong club at the beginning of last year, told her, ‘If you want to become a professional, I will teach you. She reviewed past exams with me, and when I asked her questions on line, she responded immediately.”

There were various opinions about her challenge within the station, with some expressing concern at the time of her first challenge, saying, “A newscaster playing professional mahjong?

However, the excitement of the M-League helped to foster an understanding within the station, and a company-wide atmosphere of support was created.

I was not without anxiety about what would happen to me as a newscaster, or what people would think of me,” he said. That is why I was so happy when I was told by a junior member of the announcements department that I had become a professional mahjong player, that I was great, and that I wanted to find something I could work hard at.

On April 14, as a “professional mahjong announcer,” she tried her hand at her first mahjong game, which she had longed to do.

In my first game, I made a mistake in the score of the parent and the child, and I lost my confidence. My voice became quiet and I couldn’t have a good conversation with the commentator, Rumi Nikaido (43), which was also disappointing.

My score was 50 points. However, the commentary section was lively with comments such as, “As expected of a pro,” and “Announcer Hayashi’s play-by-play commentary is so comfortable to listen to that it made me feel sleepy.

I saw that comment! I was wondering if you were sleepy (laughs). But when I was feeling down, I was encouraged by your words of encouragement to ‘hang in there. Thank you very much. But still – when you make a tenpai and get a single shot at a thin spot, you have to get more excited. ……”

The reflections never cease. However, the image of mahjong has already begun to change thanks to Hayashi’s two-faced style.

On April 14, he made his first appearance at the “IKUSA 2024 Amateur Tournament. It was a good thing that she was able to accurately convey the wait for a hand. Next to her is Rumi Nikaido, a professional mahjong player.
As a newbie mahjong player in the Japan Professional Mahjong Federation, she plays in the E3 League, the lowest level, and the M-League players are a long way away.
She says she wants to report on the unknown world of mahjong and the appeal of the game, just like she did for the Health Mahjong Tournament for the elderly, which she covered in the past. I played, too, but everyone was so strong (laughs).
Unpublished photograph of Misaki Hayashi, TV Asahi’s announcer: “I liked Cheeto Tights so much,” and the birth of her unique two-faced style
Unpublished photos from the magazine: Misaki Hayashi, TV Asahi’s “I Love Cheetoitz Too Much” and the Birth of a Unique Dual Talent
Unpublished photograph of Misaki Hayashi, TV Asahi: “I love Cheetoitz too much,” the birth of a unique two-faced team.

From the May 10 and 17, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura (4th photo)

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