Wife Versus Husband in Final for
36th Japanese Championship Title

by Kazuhiko Shiotani - 10 November 2006
Junko Nakamura
The final of this year’s Japan Backgammon Championship was held between Junko Nakamura and Yukio Nakamura, with Junko defeating her two-time Japan Champion husband to become the first woman to take the title.

There were 128 entries for this year’s Championship class. Junko is currently ranked 24th in Japan while her husband is ranked 6th.


This was the second time in the history of the Japanese Backgammon League (JBL) that a wife and husband met in the final of the championship, the first time was 21 years ago when Mr. Kazuhiro Shino (semi-finalist at this year's World Championship) won the title in 1985.


In an interview with the Japanese Backgammon League Monthly Magazine, Junko said, ” I have been playing the game for more than 20 years. I remember seeing that final in 1985 and thinking to myself how great it would be if I could play my husband at the final like that. But when I actually sat across the table from Yukio before the match started, it felt awkward and I could not get my motivation up. I asked him how he was handling it and he said, “We are both representing all the players we beat along the way and so we should do our best to focus on winning.” That made me feel much better and I ended up winning the match.”

2006 Japan Backgammon Champion Junko Nakamura in action.

The first prize for the Championship will be a fully paid trip to the World Championships in Monaco next year. The Nakamura family has been busy traveling recently as their 12-year-old daughter Yuri won the Beginner’s class in 2005 and a trip to Norway which her mother chaperoned. On the prize, Junko said, “I am happy that I can go for myself this time.”

Mrs. Junko Nakamura in Awards Ceremony speech.
Mr. Yukio Nakamura, 2006 Japan Backgammon Championship Runner-Up.
The backgammon-playing Nakamura family.

When asked about what the next goal was for the Nakamura family, Junko replied, “To have one of our daughters win the Intermediate and have a championship title in all the divisions.”


The Backgammon Festival was held from October 6 to 9 in the Nakano Sunplaza attracting 600 people from all over Japan as well as some from abroad. One of our guests from the United States was Japan Open Consolation B winner Paul Weaver who also hosted a lecture to introduce his new book “Backgammon Openings Book A” which he recently finished writing with Nack Ballard. Jake Jacobs also joined us again this year and won the Monte Carlo Open side event.


Winner of the Japan Open was Kazuhide Niki, who is currently ranked 2nd in Japan, a well deserved first major title.

Susumu Mizutani (L) versus Kazuhide Niki in Japan Open final.
Japan Open finalist Susumu Mizutani.
Japan Open Champion Kazuhide Niki (R).
Japan Open Champion Kazuhide Niki and Runner-Up Susumu Mizutani.


Results of the Main Events:

2006 Japan Championship and Open

Oct 6 - 9, Nakano Sunplaza.

(All entry numbers include re-entries)


Japanese Championships


Championship Class (128)

1 - Junko Nakamura

2 - Yukio Nakamura

3/4 - Masayuki Mochizuki/Tsuyoshi Minakami


Intermediate Class (128)

1 - Yu-suke Itagaki

2 - Kazuma Ishioka

3/4 - Yu-ki Takahashi/Hiroyuki Mori


Beginner Class (128)

1 - Yasushi Itoh

2 - Kumi Naka

3/4 - Morio Takeda/Tsutomu Suzuki


Japan Open (53)


1 - Kazuhide Niki

2 - Susumu Mizutani,

3/4 - Masayuki Mochizuki/Yousuke Takahashi

Consolation A:

1 - Hironobu Yazawa

2 - Kazuhiko Yotsushika

Consolation B:

1 - Paul Weaver

2 - Masahiko Nasu


Team Match (16 teams)

1 - Komagome BG

(Akiko Abe & Takumitsu Suzuki & Sinichiroh Kaneko & Hironobu Yazawa)

2 - Nerima

(Raizoh Ishizuka & Takashi Uno & Ryuzoh Suzuki & Chitose Okamura)


1 - Team Dice

(Masakazu Matsushima & Teruyuki Suzuki & Takeshi Yorita & Miwa Hashizume)


Ladies Tournament (16)

1 - Michiko Matsumiya

2 - Hiromi Funahashi

3 - Aoi Wakayama

4 - Yuriko Kondoh


Mixed Doubles (32 pairs)

1 - Shinichiroh Kaneko & Hiromi Funahashi

2 - Tomoko Tachikawa & Masahiro Yamaguchi


Blitz (80)

1 - Hironobu Yazawa, 2 - Yuji Sumi


Round Robin (62)

1 - Keiichi Sasaki,

2 - Tadanori Nakayama,

3 - Kanta Terao


1-Point Match (128)

1 - Raizoh Ishizuka

2 - Takashi Uno


Monte Carlo Tournament (32)

1 - Jake Jacobs

2 - Nozomu Kawazoe




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