Cho U (張栩) and Shei Imin (謝依旻) were the top male and female Taiwanese Go players in Japan last year respectively, with Cho winning a total of ￥90.5 million (US$1.08 million) in cash prizes to retain his title as the top prize winner for the fourth year in a row, according to the Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Academy.)
Cho beat Japan’s Keigo Yamashita, who won ￥86.2 million for the year, to retain his top earner title.
The 31-year-old Cho currently holds titles in three Go categories — Kisei, 10-dan and Oza.
He became Japan’s top Go prize money winner in 2007, taking in ￥116 million, an annual income that was comparable to top professional Taiwanese baseball players in Japan.
Last year, Cho did not win as many titles as the year before, but he took the Kisei title, which was worth ￥45 million. He also -defended the Judan and Oza titles and recorded competitive results in nearly every tournament.
Keigo Yamashita gave Cho a close run last year. Although he lost the Kisei title to Cho, he won the Honinbo title, which earned him ￥32 million.
Meanwhile, Shei was the top female player in Japan last year, landing a spot in the overall top 10 for the third year in a row with a ranking of eighth and earnings of ￥18.8 million.
Another Taiwanese Go player who made the top 10 list of money earners was O Meien (王銘琬), in 10th place with winnings of ￥13.9 million. O Rissei (王立誠), another Taiwanese player, ranked 14th.
Korean player Cho Chi-kun ranked ninth last year with ￥18 million in prize money, behind Shei.
Cho Chi-kun has been on the top 10 list for 31 years in a row, proving her ability to consistently maintain top form.