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Shibuya Game Interview with Tanukana

Original: Shibuya Game , publicized on Aug 4, 2017

"The emerging heroine" struggling to be the strongest, Tanukana interviewed

(Excerpt from Shibuya Game)

As being on par with male players, she has a large number of fans in home and abroad. So competitive that she gets great pleasure from winnings and can't take off a chagrined look from her face when being on the back foot. Such a human figure full of fight has been attracting audience.
This time, we tried to discover the real face of the "emerging heroine," who's become a pro gamer about half a year ago.

November 13th in 2016, it was announced that the female Tekken player "Tanukana" contracted with the pro gaming team "CYCLOPS Athlete Gaming."
A 24 year old woman from Shikoku(†). Tanukana is the fourth Tekken pro gamer in Japan, and the second female pro gamer(††).

† The smallest and the least populated mainland. Tokushima prefecture, where Tanukana lived, is over 310 miles from Tokyo.
†† The first Japanese female pro gamer is ChocoBlanka. She's SF franchise pro gamer Momochi's wife.

(Excerpt from Shibuya Game)

Before pro gamer

Interviewer: Firstly, could you please tell me the steps you took until being a pro gamer?

Tanukana: I went to an architecture shool. Most of the students were men, and "Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion" was especially popular among them. I used to try Tekken when I went to a game arcade with my friends, then I started playing seriously.
I was like a mediocre in the whole community when I was a high schooler, but I was the strongest high schooler. Every weekend, we took an expedition to another prefecture to fight players there. I became the strongest player in the prefecture shortly after I graduated high school. I sometimes fought the strongest player in another prefecture and grandually went to further game arcades.
I initially wanted to be an architect, so I worked at a design office after graduation from the architecture shool. I was responsible for designing, but the office sort of went under... haha. Anyway, I have a lot of qualifications.

Interviewer: What qualifications do you have?

Tanukana: I'm qualified for operating a crane and excavator, and handling hazardous materials as well haha. In addition to it, the third-class trace drawing skills test and the second-class civil engineering works execution managing engineer. I was not able to get the qualification of the second-class architect because it requires practical experience, but the office went under haha. But I can use 3D CAD and so on. Of course, I can design, too.
Anyway, things came to like that and I found a new job. But, days off there were not Saturdays and Sundays. So I gave up going out to tournaments as tournaments are held on Saturdays and Sundays, like "I no longer can go out to tourneys as much as I did, but ok, fine."
So I gradually played Tekken less and less, but then Tekken 7 was released, which allowed us to fight online between distant game arcades for the first time. There were many players online to fight even on weekdays. It amused me again, and I re-started Tekken.

Interviewer: So Tekken 7's online system changed your mind.

Tanukana: Yes. I started feeling I honestly wanted to go out to tournaments. Back then, my work was going pretty well. That was right after I passed the examination for promotion and my position and salary went up a little.
So I thought it would be better for me to quit games, but I heard of the open recruitment of pro gamers from CYCLOPS and I gave a shot at applying for it.
I didn't think I would pass at all. I was like, "whoa, Tekken?" "well, in Osaka," and just applied for memory's sake haha.

Interviewer: How did you find the recruitment?

Tanukana: One Tekken player told me, like "hey, look at what I found."
My parents originally didn't like games. Because it didn't practically benefit me at all even though I played for a long time. They were like, "speaking of a 24 or 25 woman, she should get married soon. But, why the hell are you obsessed about games?" and they said "quit games if you don't pass this." And I said "yep, right. I'll quit games and get married by now.' Then I passed it lol.

Interviewer: So did you have a real possibility of marriage?

Tanukana: I had a boyfriend who kindly proposed to me. To tell the truth, I applied for it without telling him. And I told him after all the things were sewn up. He got super angry haha. Of course, it was understandable...
And he said "so which will you choose, me or games?" and I said "um, we say you only live once. So I'd like games. Sorry."
I feel guilty.

Interviewer: That's a very surprising story.

Tanukana: Well, but I seriously thought I would regret if I didn't try. Anyway, I quit the job and went to here lol.
As I spent whole my adolescence for Tekken, it was really heavy for me to quit Tekken on reflection.
I got a lot of good things from games. I was able to get to know people of various ages that I couldn't get to know in everyday life, and people in other prefectures...
I don't mean I don't want to be ordinarily married as quitting games, but I wanted to try a variety of things.

Interviewer: You couldn't imagine you would be married and live ordinarily, could you.

Tanukana: No, because all my adolescence was games lol.
And, I think it could be the final opportunity for a 24 year old woman to move to another prefecture(†††). You live only once, so I wanted to achieve what only I could achieve, and I decided to try.

††† Osaka is about 70 miles far from Tokushima.

Interviewer: What was your adolescence like?

Tanukana: In my school days, I went to either a game arcade or a part-time job after school. All the money I got paid for part-time job went to games lol.
I had eight pm curfew in my high school days. The game arcade was located about 30 minutes by bicycle at the speed of sound from home. I finished school around half past four pm, arrived at the game arcade around five pm, spent two hours and a half playing Tekken and then went back home in a hurry. I repeated this.
The curfew was extended to 10 pm on days I had work. So I told a lie saying I had work when I wanted to play Tekken for a long time lol.
But one day I told that lie and was hit by a car on the way home, and my parents found my lie lol. I should've gone home straightaway... The driver took me to a hospital even though I got almost no injuries... The scariest was the moment my father was going into the sickroom. His face! haha. I played Tekken without such rigorous parents' seeing.
Some Tekken players kindly took me to other game arcades in other prefectures to fight players there on holidays. I think I did nothing other than those lol.
You have to win a player at a similar rank as you are at to go up to a higher rank, but we were yet to have an online system at that time. I mean, I had to go to other prefectures as I no longer had players at similar ranks in the prefecture!

Interviewer: So you dominated Tokushima prefecture.

Tanukana: As I've said, I became the strongest player in the prefecture shortly after I graduated high school.
I was a mediocre when I was a high schooler. Many high school friends played Tekken as well, but they became unwilling to fight me, like "cuz I would spend all my money if I fight you!" haha.

Interviewer: You were of such a warrior race in adolescence.

Tanukana: I did nothing other than battles lol.

Interviewer: Weren't your parents opposed to your idea of becoming a pro gamer?

Tanukana: They were like "well, ok, fine. But try as hard as you can if you've decided." They kindly said "well, the time you've spent until now will no longer be a waste if you're able to become a pro gamer. You try it for the time being."

About living as pro gamer

Interviewer: Let me move on to talks about you at the moment. Now that you're a full-time pro gamer. What's your daily schedule like?

Tanukana: I play at a game arcade from around four pm to the closing hour of 12 pm when I practice. It's about eight hours a day.
The game arcade I go to is a little far from home, but it has equipment for streaming. So I practice there, streaming it.

Interviewer: When do you get up in the morning?

Tanukana: I got up at nine o'clock today, but usually around 12 o'clock, not in the morning haha.

Interviewer: What do you do until four pm?

Tanukana: I take a bath and then have a meal, and then sort of kill time lazily... like that haha.
After I got home from the game arcade, I see videos of great players. I sort of do studies of videos like crazy. Sometimes I tend to see funny videos against my will... Then I come to like "no, no! This is not!" lol.
I go to bed around three am. It's unavoidable for gamers to go to bed that late. Most of gamers play from eight pm to 10 pm, you know.
We don't have players online to fight daytime and have to play late at night.
So I can't help but go to bed late and my skin condition is going... lol.
You know, what you could find on the way home around midnight would be only McDonalds? And you would buy and have french fries as it's cheap!?

Interviewer: It's a question of mental discipline lol.

Tanukana: I have one on the way home! In Nihonbashi!

Interviewer: How do you practice at the game arcade?

Tanukana: I do online matches between distant arcades... That's all.
I have a couple of like mentors in Osaka, and sometimes call on them to coach me. I ask them kinds of what to do against a specific move.

Interviewer: What are pro gamers like for you?

Tanukana: Well, existence to deliver pleasure of games to people, I think.

Interviewer: Do you have any strong intent to be or do in particular as a pro gamer?

Tanukana: That's to be stronger.
I think any professional gamers must be strong. But the reason why I'm able to be a pro gamer is largely thanks to being a woman, I think... I want to be so strong that everybody would think I would be abled to become a pro gamer even if I were a man. So I'm trying to develop my abilities.

Interviewer: You go to tournaments abroad as well.

Tanukana: Yes, a lot. I've been to Taiwan, China, Korea and US.

Interviewer: Which country was interesting the most?

Tanukana: Taiwan was. It was a little while ago, though. There were a lot of pro-Japanese people and they were very kind to me.
I was about 19 at that time. Everyone were super kind to me, who was a babe in the woods, giving me a ton of foods, and I was like "OMG super yummy!"
After that, I'm occasionally offered businesses. But players I fought in such events were not very strong, so I was not serious, but just enjoyed getting all of them bodied, sort of saying "hahhahahahahahhahahaaahhh!" lol.
I was so young I used to cosplay at that time. I was, welp... green haha.

(Excerpt from Shibuya Game)

Interviewer: It sounds interesting haha. Lastly, could you please tell me your goal as a pro gamer for the future?

Tanukana: I'll win tournaments home and abroad.
I want to make people consider me to be strong. Because, as I've said, pro gamers must be strong. I want solid results at any cost right now! Just like that.
I know I'm sort of less strong than Koren top players or Nobi-san. I'm struggling to bridge the gap by practing.
That being said, I don't think I'm unable to beat them in tournaments. I think I have at least a 30% chance of beating them. Now I want to make it to fifty-fifty, and win tournaments. To achieve that, I'm aiming to develop real abilities a little more.
As there are a few Tekken tournaments, strong players almost always advance at any tournaments. I want to win the first place although I know it's hard.

(Excerpt from Shibuya Game)

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