Konami Ban Non-Japanese Citizens from Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournaments
By Yung Namahage • 3 weeks ago

Last year, I went to a trade show in London for my day job that had a number of tech companies exhibiting their wares. In another wing of the venue, I noticed a huge banner promoting an official Yu-Gi-Oh! card tournament, endorsed by the company that owns the the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand: Konami, happening the next day. Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around to check it out the next day, but as someone who grew up with the anime and card game (even if it wasn't my favorite anime card game) it was a nice blast from the past, and a reminder there's a lot of people out there who still collect the cards and play the game on a competitive scale.

That was just my experience in the west, but over in Japan the Yu-Gi-Oh! competitive scene is still going strong. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Japan Championship 2024 took place this March, using the Japanese Official Card Game, which is slightly different from the Trading Card Game we have here. The aim of the official tournament is to find the best duelist in Japan, with the top 4 players qualifying for the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship over in Seattle this September, which will use a combination of OCG and TCG rules.

However, Konami made a rather controversial change to the Japan Championship tournament rules: "Eligibility for participation is limited to Japan nationals who have an address in Japan at the time of pre-reservation for the shop qualifier and on the day of participation in the tournament." Last year, the only requirement for entry was having a permanent address in Japan, meaning expats could take part. But now they specifically specifiy that only Japanese nationals can d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel.

Konami aren't known for being the most consumer-friendly company out there, especially to western audiences. Still, if the top prize is a chance to represent Japan by representing Japan on the world stage, it does kinda make sense that they'd want a Japanese person if they're playing a Japanese game after all. What do you guys think? Is Konami justifies here, or is this straight up discrimination? Sound off below!