Template:Infobox Pro Gaming player

Daigo Umehara (梅原 大吾 Umehara Daigo, born 19 May 1981), is a renowned Japanese arcade fighting video game player. He specializes in 2D arcade fighting games, mainly those released by Capcom. Known as "The Beast" in the west and "Umehara" or "Ume" in Japan, Daigo is most famous for his dramatic comeback video clips on YouTube from a Street Fighter III match in Evolution 2004.

While English speakers hail him the world's most famous Street Fighter player[1][2] or the greatest Street Fighter player,[3] Japanese media simply refer to Daigo as "Kami" (神) or "God" when it comes to 2D fighting games.[4][5][6][7][8]

Early career[]

Daigo began playing fighting games at around 11 years of age.[9][10] Around the time when he was a middle school student[9], he first developed some reputation by setting a 286-win streak record in Vampire Hunter[11] before he was forced to leave due to closing time at Akihabara Sega (now Club Sega[12]) game center.[13][14] He first joined a tournament when he entered GAMEST Cup's national Vampire Hunter tournament in 1995[15], though he lost in the block's finals.[16] His second tournament and also his first tournament winning is GAMEST Cup's national Vampire Savior tournament in 1997 where he defeated Ōnuki (now Nuki) in the finals.[17][16]

In 1998, after winning the official Capcom Street Fighter Zero 3 national tournament in Japan,[16] as the tournament champion, Daigo went on to face Alex Valle, who was the winner of the U.S. national Street Fighter Alpha 3 tournament. The international "Grand Championship" was held in San José, California on November 8 (1998). The match was played as best out of three games, with each game as best out of five rounds. Daigo won 2-1.[18][19]

In September 2001, Daigo gained enough fans to have a book about him published. The title is VERSUS, also known as "Umebon" (ウメ本) or "Ume Book." It contains both his background and stories behind his competitions and opponents.[13]

In 2002, Daigo appeared in U.S. versus Japan theme exhibition matches in Japan. American players competed in four games (Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike and Marvel vs. Capcom 2) for the right to battle Japan's best players in those respective games. Daigo only entered the 3rd Strike exhibition, but defeated all of his opponents, ending each round with Ken's fierce Shoryuken. These events were filmed for the documentary Bang the Machine.[20][21]

Daigo joined Evolution Championship Series for the first time in 2003. He won Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Guilty Gear XX tournament and also won the tournaments of the same games again when he went to Evolution 2004. Daigo also went to France to participate Absolution 2004[22] and won 3 tournaments there.[16]

Since 1997, Daigo has participated a number of tournaments each year regularily but has stopped completely in 2008.[16][23]

The Dramatic Comeback[]

Daigo is most famous for the YouTube video clips[24][25][26] from the losers bracket final of Evolution Championship Series 2004's Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike competition where he made a dramatic comeback against Justin Wong who was using Chun-Li character. In the final round of the match 1, Daigo's Ken character was down to his last pixel of vitality.[27] At this point, any special attack would knock Daigo's character out, if connected, because special attacks still deal some damage even though they are blocked. Trying to finish him, Wong attempted to hit Daigo's Ken with Chun-Li's special move.[28] But instead of avoiding it, Daigo chose to "Parry," a technic of blocking a normal or special attack without losing any health, but by doing so requires moving toward opponent's direction in the same time an attack is landed. After the move was launched, not only all the fifteen hits were Parried, but Daigo also managed to get into a good position to make a powerful attacking combo[29] that knocked Chun-Li out instead. The moment was recorded and later spreaded on the Internet.[30][31][32]

An NHK's TV program, MAG-NET, has called this moment "Kiseki no Gyakuten Geki" (奇跡の逆転劇) or "The miraculous reversal play"[33]

Street Fighter IV era[]

In July 2008, Daigo came out of retirement[34] and aims for competition once again. This time, his focus was on the newly-released Street Fighter IV. On 29 November 2008, Arcadia Magazine released its January 2009 issue with an accompanying DVD of a recorded exhibition, Umehara Concept Matches. It documented Daigo dominating six of his fellow top Japanese players.[35]

Daigo in 2009[]

Appearance on Gamer's Koshien[]

On March 5, Daigo made an appearance as the "God of fighting games world"[36] in a TV show "Gamer's Koshien". He and the fellow Japan's 4 top players (Soushihan KSK, Itabashi Zangief, Mago, and Tokido) had to compete with each other and with celebrities in a Street Fighter IV round-robin tournament where the top players had to win the amateurs overwhelmingly in order to get a good point as a handicap.[37][6]

Three nations exhibition matches[]

On April 18, at GameStop's Street Fighter IV National Tournament 2009, Francisco, California, there was exhibition matches between 4 players from 3 countries after the actual competition ended. It featured Iyo who had recently won the Japanese National SFIV tournament, Poongko who won the Korean SFIV National Tournament, Justin Wong who won the American National SFIV tournament, and Daigo Umehara who came by Capcom's invitation.[38] Daigo defeated Iyo, Poongko and Justin Wong to win the tournament.[38] He was awarded a free trip to Evolution 2009 in Las Vegas.

Daigo gained more fame after the footage of his matches in GameStop's competition were spread on the internet.[39][40] Arcadia, Japanese arcade gaming magazine, called Daigo "God of 2D Fighting Games" on the cover of its July issue.[4] Daigo began writing a column in Arcadia starting from the August issue, called Umehara Column: Michi.[41] ("Umehara Column: Street")

Evolution 2009[]

For his win at the GameStop tournament, Daigo started his Street Fighter IV competition as a seeded player in the semi-finals on July 18, which is the second day of Evo 2009. He beat 4 opponents and had to start the next day by playing against Justin Wong.[42] In the third and the last day, Daigo defeated Wong and put him into the Losers Bracket, then advanced to the grand finals just to meet Wong again. In the final showdown, Wong changed his character from Abel to Balrog (boxer, called M. Bison in Japan) to counter Daigo's signature Ryu. The two fought until the last game possible, but Daigo won the competition.[43] It was this point of the tournament that had more than 23,000 users viewing the stream broadcasting.[44]

Umehara's Concept Matches Vol.2[]

The September issue[45] of Arcadia magazine included a DVD featuring the second of "Umehara's Concept Matches". This is the sequel to the DVD from late 2008. This time Daigo fought Japan's 5 top players: Mago, Iyo, Nuki, Nemo, and Shirou.[46][47] He beat everyone but Shirou, the highest ranked[48] Abel player in Japan at the moment.[49]


On August 7, Daigo participated in an all night[50] tournament called "GODSGARDEN."[51] Though he managed to win against Momochi (highest ranked Akuma player in Japan at the moment[48]), he lost to Uryo, the highest ranked C.Viper player. Daigo lost again in the Losers Bracket to Mago, the highest ranked Sagat player who later won the tournament by defeating Uryo.[52]

Exhibition matches in Taiwan[]

Daigo participated in exhibition matches in a Street Fighter IV competition in Taiwan on October 10.[53] He beat the top 3 players in the tournament, losing just one round. The matches were broadcasted live on Famitsu's web channel.[54]

Seasons Beatings IV[]

Daigo went to America again to join a tournament called Seasons Beatings on October 16–18 in Columbus, Ohio.[55][56] He participated in the Street Fighter IV 3 on 3 on the second day with two American teammates. His team, Daigo Company, finished third overall. On the same day, there was an exhibition match between him and Justin Wong which he won by ten games to two. Daigo started the third day by winning Street Fighter II HD Remix competition, despite it was his second try of the game since Evo 2009. For Street Fighter IV Singles, Daigo lost in Winners Bracket's final to Justin Wong, who this time chose to play Fei Long. He later bounced back from Losers Bracket to win the competition.[57][58]

Exhibition match on Nico Nico Live[]

On November 26, Daigo and 5 other top Japanese Street Fighter IV players joined a Nico Nico internet live show[59] to talk about the second GODSGARDEN tournament. The show also held an exhibition match between himself and Mago, where he beat the highest ranked Sagat player 2-0.[60]

Daigo in 2010[]

World Game Cup: Cannes 2010[]

Instead of participating GODSGARDEN 2 (March 6)[61], Daigo flew to France to enter Street Fighter IV tournaments in World Game Cup[62] gaming event that took place between March 3–7. For the main tournaments, he finished the second place in singles and first in 2 on 2. For the special event, Daigo lost in the quarter-finals.[63][64]


On March 21, Daigo got a chance to fight Japan's 9 top Street Fighter IV players in "Umehara versus Japan" exhibition matches which was a part of The 13th Nagoya Street Battle tournaments. Players such as Tokido, Kin Dev, Mago are among his opponents, only Momochi managed to beat him.[65]

Japan's Street Fighter IV National Tournament 2010[]

Daigo and two teammates participated official[66] Street Fighter IV National Tournament[67] on April 4. His team lost in the quarter-finals. The tournament was broadcasted live on Nico Nico Live channel, which gathered more than 48,000 attendees and 200,000 comments total.[68]

Super Street Fighter IV launch party[]

Daigo went to America to join Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV "Fight Club" launch party in Los Angeles on April 23[69]. The party held exhibition matches in which he played various characters including Hakan, Guy and Dee Jay against a dozen of challengers. The event ended with a 3-out-of-5 match[70], which had over 6,000 users viewing simultaneously on the live stream[71], between him (using Guile) and Justin Wong (using Rufus). Their draw result from double K.O. at the end left Daigo undefeated in that night.

It is also revealed in the event that Daigo accepted a sponsorship deal from Mad Catz and will play under their name in the future tournaments.[72][73][74][75][76][77]

Exhibition on e-CAPCOM Special DVD[]

The limited edition of Super Street Fighter IV game from e-CAPCOM store comes with a special DVD featuring two tournaments between Japan's 8 top players: Daigo, Tokido, Iyo, Shirou, Kin Dev, Momochi, Tokidoki Nukings, and Itabashi Zangief. The first one is a "new character only" tournament where Daigo played as Adon. The second one is for old characters.[78][79]

Exhibition on Technical Guide DVD[]

The Super Street Fighter IV Technical Guide published by Enterbrain which was released on April 28 includes a DVD featuring exhibition matches of the new characters played by Japan's 7 top players: Daigo, Tokido, Kin Dev, Iyo, Momochi, Itabashi Zangief, and Shirou.[80][81]

Appearance on NHK MAG-NET[]

On May 9, Daigo made his appearance as the "Super Player"[82] on an NHK's Sunday night program "MAG-NET" which had a scoop on Street Fighter. The show told the story about his fame (including his 2004 dramatic comeback), his life, his competitions and his opponents. There was also Daigo's tutorial session where he demonstrated his arcade stick gripping method called "Umehara Mochi" (ウメハラ持ち) or "Umehara Grip" and his signature Ryu's combo technique—Shouryuuken > Focus Attack Dash Cancel > Metsu Hadouken.[83][84]

Matches on Nico Nico Live[]

On May 15, Nico Nico Live held a Super Street Fighter IV online competition where participating online players on Xbox Live got a chance to fight Japan's 3 top players: Daigo, Mago, and Tokido. They also have offline matches and a short talk corner. The 200 minutes live show received more than 44,000 attendees and 200,000 comments total.[85]

Evolution APAC Championship Series[]

Daigo is slated to compete in the Evolution APAC or Asian Pacific tournament held across the weekend of May 29 and 30 in Sydney, Australia. He will be entering on the 29th's last chance qualifiers in which an open tournament will be held to qualify for the EVO APAC finals held the next day on the 30th. The grand prize for the finals will be the EVO APAC trophy as well as a paid flight to Las Vegas to compete in Evolution 2010. This is the first step Daigo will take towards competing in Evolution 2010.[86]

Tournament placings[]

Year Tournament Game Place Note
2010 World Game Cup 2010 Street Fighter IV (2 on 2) 1st[87] Teammate: Eita
2010 World Game Cup 2010 Street Fighter IV 2nd[87] -
2009 Seasons Beatings IV Street Fighter IV 1st -
2009 Seasons Beatings IV Street Fighter II HD Remix 1st -
2009 Seasons Beatings IV Street Fighter IV (3 on 3) 3rd Team: Daigo Company
2009 GODSGARDEN 1 Street Fighter IV 3rd[88] -
2009 Evolution 2009 Street Fighter IV 1st[89] -
2007 2nd Darkstalker Combination Cup Vampire Hunter 1st -
2007 Hyper-Mania 4 Hyper Street Fighter II (Tag) 2nd -
2007 X-Mania 7 Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Tag) 2nd -
2006 Evolution 2006 Guilty Gear XX Slash 2nd -
2005 Super Battle Opera 2005 Street Fighter III 3rd (2 on 2) 1st Teammate: Nuki, Team: UmeNuki
2005 Super Battle Opera 2005 Capcom Fighting Jam (Tag) 2nd -
2004 4th Cooperation Cup Street Fighter III 3rd 1st -
2004 Absolution 2004 Super Street Fighter II Turbo 1st -
2004 Absolution 2004 Guilty Gear XX #Reload 1st -
2004 Absolution 2004 Street Fighter III 3rd 1st -
2004 Evolution 2004 Super Street Fighter II Turbo 1st -
2004 Evolution 2004 Guilty Gear XX 1st -
2004 Evolution 2004 Street Fighter III 3rd 2nd -
2004 Kakutou Ishin Street Fighter III 3rd 2nd -
2004 Absolution 2004 Street Fighter Zero 3 3rd -
2004 Kakutou Ishin Street Fighter Zero 3 2nd -
2003 Evolution 2003 Super Street Fighter II Turbo 1st -
2003 Evolution 2003 Guilty Gear XX 1st -
2003 Evolution 2003 Street Fighter III 3rd 2nd -
2003 Evolution 2003 Capcom vs. SNK 2 2nd -
2003 Super Battle Opera (#1) Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Tag) 1st -
2003 Super Battle Opera (#1) Capcom vs. SNK 2 2nd -
2000 Official National Tournament Capcom vs. SNK 1st -
2000 3rd Official National Tournament Street Fighter Zero 3 1st -
2000 X-Mania 2000 Super Street Fighter II Turbo (3 on 3) 3rd -
1999 Official National Tournament Street Fighter Zero 3 (Tag) 2nd -
1998 Official National Tournament Street Fighter Zero 3 1st World Champion
1997 GAMEST Cup Vampire Savior 1st -

Most of data from 2007 and older is provided by Complete list and more data on smaller scale tournaments can be found on the Japanese fan site. All data is verified by sources as of May, 21, 2010. Reports from official sites are included if available. Only first, second, and third place are displayed here.

See also[]

  • Street Fighter
  • Electronic Sports
  • Nico Nico Douga


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  2. "SFIV National Tournament Finals! This Saturday!". Evo Championship Series. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  3. "Daigo Umehara: The King of Fighters". Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arcadia Editorial Department (2009-05-30). "月刊アルカディア7月号". Enterbrain. Retrieved 2009-07-19. ""God of 2D fighting games" was written on the cover."  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Arcadia_cover" defined multiple times with different content
  5. "Kami" (神) was used for Daigo's player introduction part in Umehara Concept Matches Vol.1 and Vol.2 DVD from 2008 and 2009. The DVDs were included with Arcadia magazines published by Enterbrain.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "ゲーマーズ甲子園 #9 / MONDO21". Nico Nico. 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-05-21. "In 2008, a Japanese TV show "Gamer's Koshien" refers to Daigo as "God of fighting games world.""  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "GamerKoshien2009_02" defined multiple times with different content
  7. "格闘ゲームの神,ウメハラ氏が米Mad Catzと契約。プロゲーマーとして活動を開始". 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
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  9. 9.0 9.1 This information has been translated from Japanese Wikipedia. It was also cited by (a credible Daigo Umehara fan site). Daigo also said in an interview in 2005 that he has around 10 years experience.
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  11. At 255 wins the game’s counter reset to zero, but it still counts. The record was displayed at the game center.
  12. "クラブセガ秋葉原". Sega. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "ウメハラ本". Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
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  19. GameSpot (2004). "Spotlight on the Evolution 2K4 Fighting Game Tournament". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-27. ""Daigo became the most feared player among the Capcom competitive circles when he defeated Alex Valle during an official Street Fighter Alpha 3 world championship in 1998 (creating a legion of copycat V-Akuma players overnight with his infamous Demon Flip Vism combo). Since then, his fierce reputation has not diminished, as he consistently places in the top three in the majority of the 2D games he enters. If you want to be considered the best in the world, you have to be able to defeat this guy consistently (sorry...lucky flukes don't count)."" 
  20. Peter Kang (executive producer); Gene Na (executive producer); Richard Lowe (producer); Tamara Katepoo (director); Daigo Umehara, et al. (subject).. Bang the Machine. [Documentary]. California, USA: JabStrongFierce. "A documentary of an exhibition tournament in Japan showing the difference between American and Japanese gaming cultures." 
  21. cast members have stated that the Bang The Machine documentary may never be officially released, because material was destroyed during the events of September 11, 2001.
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  27. the character's vitality is indicated by a horizontal bar graph composed of columns of pixels. The player loses the game when his or her character's vitality is depleted.
  28. hou-yoku-sen鳳翼扇, lit. "Phoenix flaps his wings" or "Phoenix wing-fan", Chun-Li's super art #2 in 3rd Strike, which is 2 sets of extremely fast kicks into a kick that juggles the opponent
  29. consists of 4 moves ending with shippuu-jin-rai-kyaku 疾風迅雷脚, lit. "lightning-fast hurricane kicks" or "hurricane thunderclap leg", Ken's super art #3 in Street Fighter III, which is a series of kicks that lifts and then pushes the opponent away
  30. Livingston, Tim (2008-08-19). "EVO 2K8: Fighting Games Personified". Advanced Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  31. Spitalieri, Mike (2007-03-22). "The 9 biggest moments in pro gaming (page 3 of 3)". IDG Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  32. McCarthy, Dave (2006-08-31). "The best of YouTube Article - Page 2". Eurogamer Network Ltd. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  33. See details in this page's 2010 section.
  34. INH CO.,LTD (2007). "株式会社アイエヌエイチ > X-MANIA7 (samples from the DVD about X-MANIA 7)" (in Japanese). INH CO.,LTD. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  35. Arcadia magazine (2010-05-15). "ウメハラプロvs井上、板橋ザンギエフ、ふ~ど、JOE、ネモ、マゴ". Nico Nico. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  36. As stated in the show's promotion video and in the show.
  37. "ゲーマーズ甲子園 :: MONDO21:". Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
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  40. "ストⅣ世界大会 ジャスティン×ウメハラ【高画質】". 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
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  42. Evo2009 (2009-07-16). "Evo2009 SFIV: Semi-Finals Winners Bracket". Evo2009. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
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  44. srkdotcom (2009-07-20). "Evo 2009 Live Broadcast". srkdotcom. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  45. The release date is July 30.
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  48. 48.0 48.1 All details of the players are in Players page of GODSGARDEN website. The rank is calculated by data collected from arcade player card
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  50. The event began 4 P.M. and the finals ended around 4 A.M..
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  66. This is the only Street Fighter IV tournament sponsored by Capcom directly. It is 3 on 3 arcade version tournament. The champions will be awarded golden gloves directly from the game producer.
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  82. As stated on the advertising banner on the front page of the show.
  83. "MAG・ネット ~マンガ・アニメ・ゲームのゲンバ~:". NHK. Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
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External links[]

es:Daigo Umehara fr:Daigo Umehara nl:Daigo Umehara ja:梅原大吾 pl:Daigo Umehara pt:Daigo Umehara ru:Даиго Umehara sv:Daigo Umehara zh:醍醐梅原