Japanese video game player Daigo Umehara, known in the professional world as Daigo or The Beast, is a specialist in 2D arcade fighting games. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever Street Fighter players and holds the current record for “the most successful player in major tournaments” of the game. The world’s most decorated Street Fighter player, gaming legend and international award winner, Daigo, offers a unique look into the eSports world.
Daigo started his winning streak in 1997 at the Gamest Cup’s national Vampire Saviour tournament. Finding his niche didn’t take long as after competing in Capcom’s official Street Fighter Zero 3 national tournament and winning in the grand championships in San Francisco, Daigo stuck solely to the Street Fighter franchise. His career went from strength to strength and his worldwide recognition got him sponsorship deals with big brands Red Bull Esports, Hyper X and Cygamers.
There are few professional Street Fighter competitions Daigo has not excelled at. Some of his impressive achievements include seven Evo Championship wins, first place at the World Game Cup 2010, Capcom Pro Tour winner 2014 and Hong Kong ESports Festival winner 2016 and 2017. To document his achievements and rise to fame Daigo has released five books, been the subject of a number of documentaries such as the Red Bull sponsored ‘Mind of a Bull’ and has his own Mango series.
As a sponsored gamer, Daigo was not naive about the realities of trying to turn professional in the virtual world. On a number of occasions, he has donated his monetary winnings to the Evo Scholarship. The scholarship supports aspiring game designers in their studies, which Daigo feels passionate about supporting. He has also given talks to university students to inspire them to become eSports stars. In 2017 he spoke to a sold-out audience at Kei University in Tokyo, about having a winning mindset.
As Japan’s first professional gamer, Daigo paved the way for eSports athletes behind him. Now he is inspiring the next generation with his honest discussions on the journey he faced being one of the first eSports global stars.