Almost two weeks ago, Team Empire reached out to Mara, the fisherman with a big heart who singlehandedly kept the Dota 2 scene in Japan alive.
The International 2018 took place over a month ago by now, but there’s some things which you can’t forget. One of those was the segment which included Osagawara, aka Mara.
The Japanese fisherman already organized numerous events in his home country under the name “Mara Cup”/“Oyster Cup”. This series of tournaments offered as a reward exactly what the name suggested, namely all kinds of sea food for the participants. It only makes sense since Mara himself comes from a family of fishermen. If you’re interested in his story, you can read more about it on his blog.
You can find the full interview on Team Empire’s website. Mara talks about eSports and Japan, a combination which should work in theory. That was made possible only recently with the government making several changes which benefit pro gamers. Osagawara created Enlife, a team made to organize events, the most famous of which is no doubt the Oyster Cup. Regarding the eSports situation, Mara stated:
“In general, only few people can earn money by gaming and making tournaments, and most people think that videogames are bad for your job and self-development. However, it’s obvious esports is growing in a positive way. They can make fun of videogames whenever they want, but I will always say that videogames are cool!
As for the most popular games, if we’re speaking about the audience, fighting games, LoL, PUBG and Fortnite are the most popular. By the way, Japanese play fighting games and CS:GO on a global level!”
When you think about it, the most famous Japanese players to be recognized worldwide are coming from the fighting genre, mostly Street Fighter – Daigo “TheBeast” Umehara and Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi. Fighting games were already a thing for the last few decades and Japan always had plenty of fans for them. Dota 2, on the other hand, isn’t so popular and that’s where Mara comes in. About his future plans he mentioned:
“First of all, I’m going to make another Mara Cup in winter. I still haven’t started the preparations, but I will do it for sure and make lots of oysters again! PLEASE EAT AND GO FOR THE VICTORY! (laughs) Speaking about my coveted desire, I would like to make a bigger tournament not only for Japanese players. Japan Dota Minor or The Oyster Major, for example (laughs). I’m opened for offerings from abroad or from, Japanese companies. I will support everyone who wants to make a Dota tournament in Japan!
I think now I’m in situation where I can’t do something bigger alone. But I am ready to make as much Mara Cups as possible. It is so fun!”
It's guaranteed that we’ll see more Mara Cups in the future with the first one coming this winter. As for the situation in Japan, it looks like things will get better for the eSports community, since Japan already recognized and allowed eSports competitions to take place within the country a few months back.