Before properly being called a pro gamer from signing a sponsorship deal with MadCatz, Japanese media usually referred to Umehara as "God of fighting games" (格闘ゲームの神 "Kakutou Game no Kami").
|Name||Daigo Umehara (梅原大吾 Umehara Daigo)|
|Alias||The Beast, Umehara (ウメハラ Umehara )|
|Date of Birth||May 19,1981|
|Place of Birth||Aomori, Japan|
|Occupation||Pro gamer, Columnist|
Umehara began going to an arcade game center and playing fighting games at around 10 years of age when he was an elementary school student, the same time when Street Fighter II and Garou Densetsu (Fatal Fury) hit the game center.Because the SF2 cabinet had a very long line and also had older kids playing, his first fighting game is actually Garou Densetsu. Because there was usually a long line in his free time and he could not stay too late, Umehara first started challenging other players in Street Fighter II Dash (Champion Edition) even though he felt shy and had to ask for permission to challenge first, but that was also when he started to like playing with other players.
Around the time when he was a 13-year-old middle school student, Umehara shifted his main game to Vampire Hunter because he thought he did better than SF2 and first developed some reputation by setting a 286-win streak record before he was forced to leave due to closing time at Akihabara Sega (now Club Sega) game center. He first joined a tournament when he entered GAMEST Cup's national Vampire Hunter tournament in 1995, though he lost in the block's finals. 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.
In 1998, Umehara participated Capcom's official Street Fighter Zero 3 national tournament and advanced to the finals which took place on a stage in Tokyo Game Show 1998: Autumn on October 11. After winning the tournament by defeating Ōnuki 3-1, as the champion, Umehara 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. This is Umehara's first trip to U.S. and first overseas tournament. The match was played as best out of three games, with each game as best out of five rounds. Umehara won 2-1. These two events received a 50-minute TV coverage in Japan.
In 2002, Umehara 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. Umehara 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.
In 2003, Umehara won Super Street Fighter II Turbo tournament in the first Super Battle Opera (Tougeki) and won the same game in Evolution Championship Series when he joined the event for the first time in the same year, making him the first player to win both SBO and Evolution in same year on the same game. Umehara also went to Evolution 2004 and Absolution 2004 on April 18 in England and won SSF2 Turbo there.
Umehara has participated regularly in a number of tournaments since 1997. He quitted fighting games in 2008.
Street Fighter IV era
In July 2008, Umehara came out of retirement and aims for competition once again. This time, his focus was on the newly-released Street Fighter IV. Because of this, Japanese arcade gaming magazine Arcadia has included a DVD featuring "Umehara Concept Matches" in its January 2009 issue (released on November 29, 2008) and "The God has returned" was stated in Umehara's player introduction part. The DVD contains exhibition matches between him and Japan's 6 top players such as Inoue, Itabashi Zangief, Fuudo, and Nemo. He beat everyone but Mago.
Appearance on Gamer's Koshien
On March 5, Umehara made an appearance as the "God of fighting games world" 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.
GameStop International Exhibition
On April 18, Umehara was invited by Capcom to participate in exhibition matches in GameStop's Street Fighter IV National Tournament 2009, San Francisco, California. He played against Japan's SF4 national champ Iyo, South Korea's SF4 national champ, Poongko, and Justin Wong who just won USA's SF4 national champ at the tournament. Umehara won by defeating all three and was awarded a free trip to Evolution 2009 in Las Vegas.
Arcadia, Japanese arcade gaming magazine, called Umehara "God of 2D Fighting Games World" on the cover of its July issue. Umehara began writing a column in Arcadia starting from the August issue, called Umehara Column: Michi. ("Umehara Column: Street")
For his win at the GameStop tournament, Umehara 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. In the third and the last day, Umehara 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 Umehara's signature Ryu. The two fought until the last game possible, but Umehara won the competition. It was this point of the tournament that had more than 23,000 users viewing the stream broadcasting.
Umehara's Concept Matches Vol.2
The September issue 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 Umehara fought Japan's 5 top players: Mago, Iyo, Nuki, Nemo, and Shirou. He beat everyone but Shirou, the highest ranked Abel player in Japan at the moment.
On August 7, Umehara participated in an all night tournament called "GODSGARDEN." Though he managed to win against Momochi (highest ranked Akuma player in Japan at the moment), he lost to Uryo, the highest ranked C.Viper player. Umehara lost again in the Losers Bracket to Mago, the highest ranked Sagat player who later won the tournament by defeating Uryo.
Exhibition matches in Taiwan
Umehara participated in exhibition matches in a Street Fighter IV competition in Taiwan on October 10. He beat the top 3 players in the tournament, losing just one round. The matches were broadcasted live on Famitsu's web channel.
Seasons Beatings IV
Umehara went to America again to join a tournament called Seasons Beatings on October 16–18 in Columbus, Ohio. 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. Umehara started the third day by winning Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix competition, despite it was his second try of the game since Evo 2009. For Street Fighter IV Singles, Umehara 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.
Exhibition match on Nico Nico Live
On November 26, Umehara and 5 other top Japanese Street Fighter IV players joined a Nico Nico internet live show "Toriaezu Namachuu: Anime & Game" 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.
World Game Cup: Cannes 2010
Instead of participating GODSGARDEN #2 (March 6), Umehara flew to France to enter Street Fighter IV tournaments in World Game Cup 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, Umehara lost in the quarter-finals.[Video]
Japan's SF4 National Tournament 2010
Umehara and two teammates participated Capcom's official Street Fighter IV National Tournament and qualified to the top 14 on the last day on April 4. His team lost in the quarter-finals. The competition was broadcasted live on Nico Nico Live channel, which gathered more than 48,000 attendees and 200,000 comments total. [Summary]
Super Street Fighter IV launch party
Umehara went to America to join Capcom's Super Street Fighter IV "Fight Club" launch party in Los Angeles on April 23. 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, which had over 6,000 users viewing simultaneously on the live stream, between him (using Guile) and Justin Wong (using Rufus). Their draw result from double K.O. at the end left Umehara undefeated in that night.
It was also revealed in the event that Umehara accepted a sponsorship deal from Mad Catz and will play under their name in the future tournaments.
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: Umehara, Tokido, Iyo, Shirou, Kin Devu, Momochi, Tokidoki Nukings, and Itabashi Zangief. The first one is a "new character only" tournament where Umehara played as Adon. The second one is for old characters.
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: Umehara, Tokido, Kin Devu, Iyo, Momochi, Itabashi Zangief, and Shirou.
Appearance on NHK MAG-NET
On May 9, Umehara made his appearance as the "Super Player" 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 Umehara'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. [YouTube][Summary]
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: Umehara, 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.
Umehara went to Australia for the first time when he participated Evolution APAC's Super Street Fighter IV tournament in Sydney on May 29–30. He won the tournament losing just one game and, as the grand prize, earned a paid flight to Evolution 2010 in Las Vegas where he will start off as a seeded player.
Xbox Live Park participation
On June 4, Umehara joined the 106th Xbox Live Park online event held by Microsoft Japan with Famitsu's editorial department. Participating Xbox Live Gold members got a chance to have a Super Street Fighter IV online match and chat with Umehara in the 2-hour period.
After the invitation to play in Electronic Sports World Cup (July 3–4) was cancelled and after getting the 2nd place in Nagoya Street Battle 15 (July 4), Umehara joined Evolution 2010 between July 9–11 and faced a tougher challenge than before with over 1,700 players from around the world participating in the Super Street Fighter IV tournament. However, without going down to Losers bracket, Umehara won the tournament in front of ten thousands of audiences both in the hall and in front of computer screens. The live stream of the event set a new record with approximate 48,000 viewers at peak 2 channels combined (Stickam 18,000 and Ustream 30,000) during the SSF4 grand finals before it went down due to technical problems. Beside the prize money, the medal, and the SSF4 trophy, Umehara also received Evo exclusive golden arcade stick with serial number 1.
Most successful Street Fighter player
During Super VS Battle 20-X tournament on August 22 in London, England, Umehara was recognized as "the most successful player in major tournaments of Street Fighter" in Guinness World Records.
SBO 2010 Final
After winning the qualifier on May 22, Umehara's team participated in the Super Battle Opera 2010's Street Fighter IV finals on September 19 and won the second place. The event took place as a part of Tokyo Game Show 2010 at Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex. A pay-per-view live stream was distributed by Nico Nico Douga.
October - November
Umehara returned to North America 4 times between October and November to participate Season's Beatings V (October 15-17), Southern California Regionals 2010 (November 6-7), The Canada Cup 2010 (November 13-14), and Northern California Regionals 8 (November 20-21). He won all 4 Super Street Fighter II Turbo competitions. He also went to Kuwait for his own exhibition matches event on November 26.
After the release of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (December 16, 2010), Umehara switched his main character from Ryu to Yun due to the changes from the previous game. However, he didn't participate in any tournament until Topanga Charity Cup on April 23 in which he won. Umehara also announced in January that he will play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 competitively.
On May 16, Capcom Japan gave away "Umehara Believer" (ウメハラ信者 Umehara Shinja) in-game title for SSF4:AE to 100 selected arcade gamers who bought a SSF4:AE guidebook.
Umehara went outside the country for the first time since 2010 to participated Revelations on June 10-12. He then return to America again to participated NorCal Regionals 2011 on June 18-19. He won SSF4AE and SSF2T (side tournament) in both tournaments.
Umehara participated Evolution 2011 between July 29-31. He finished the 4th place in SSF4AE and won SSF2T (side tournament). The event has a panel dedicated to him called "Inside the Mind of The Beast: Daigo Umehara Exposed!" where he discussed about his matches in the previous years.
Umehara spent the rest of the year participating several tournaments  and also had his own exhibition match events in game centers , university, and Kuwait.
On January 11, Daigo Umehara was announced as the "official supporter" of Square Enix's new arcade 4 on 4 light-gun shooter Gunslinger Stratos. He then began promoting the game by participating in the big promotion campaign in April .
Umehara's semi-autobiography "Willpower to Keep Winning" (勝ち続ける意志力 Kachi Tsuzukeru Ishiryoku) was released on April 2 . The book became a big hit and was ranked third place in Amazon Japan's Best Sellers Rank in Book category. Umehara also received special talk show on Nico Nico about his book on April 7 and June 30. As of May 10, the book had sold more than 28,000 copies.
On April 8, Umehara participated The 2nd TOPANGA Charity Cup which raised almost 800,000 yen to the Japan's Red Cross.
Umehara and Taito Station game center Minami-guchi branch held a special event twice on May 19 and June 30. The latter was to help a disabled Street Fighter player Osamu Ichikawa fulfill his dream of playing in an arcade game center, and with Umehara himself.
Umehara participated Evolution 2012 between July 6-8. He set a new record becoming the only player who reached top 8 four consecutive years in Street Fighter IV. He was also the only Japanese player left in the last day.
Umehara participated The 2nd TOPANGA League between August 17 to September 16, and won 500,000 yen prize money from finishing 2nd place.
During October, Umehara appeared in several events  including Yokkaichi University festival.
On October 20, Umehara won Japan's Street Fighter 25th Anniversary National Tournament and was qualified for Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Grand Finals which was held on December 8 in Burlingame, California. He played total 11 matches and only lost to one player in the entire tournament.
Umehara's Battle Tour 2013 was announced in January. The tour was to visit 5 game centers in 5 prefectures in Japan between January and May.
Umehara participated Gunslinger Stratos event and national tournament in Tokyo on January 12-13.
Umehara went to Kuwait for the third time to attend K.O. Fighting Game Festival 2013 on February 7-9.
Umehara participated in many events during March and April. He went to Boston to attend Mad Catz Unveiled event and PAX East on March 21-24. He had a book talk event on March 29. He was invited for a talk session in Spring Fighter 2013 at New York University on April 13. He appeared at Mad Catz booth  and for 4 on 4 exhibition match in Niconico Chokaigi 2 on April 27-28.
|2013||TOPANGA Asia League||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||2nd|
|2013||K.O. Fighting Game Festival Kuwait||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012 (3 on 3)||1st||Teammate: Mago, Tokido|
|2012||Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Tournaments Grand Finals||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||2nd|
|2012||Japan's Street Fighter 25th Anniversary National Tournaments||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||1st|
|2012||2nd TOPANGA League||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||2nd|
|2012||Pre-Evo tournament at Taito Station Shinjuku Minami-guchi||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||1st|
|2012||South East Asia Major||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||2nd|
|2012||LG Cup SF4HD||Super Street Fighter IV: AE 2012||2nd|
|2011||NSB meets Mad Catz TE-S||Super Street Fighter IV: AE (3 on 3)||1st||Teammate: Mago, Tokido|
|2011||Nagoya Street Battle 30||Super Street Fighter IV: AE (3 on 3)||1st||Teammate: Mago, Tokido|
|2011||NorCal Regionals 2011||Super Street Fighter IV: AE||1st||-|
|2011||ReveLAtions 2011||Super Street Fighter IV: AE||1st||-|
|2011||TOPANGA Charity Cup||Super Street Fighter IV: AE (5 on 5)||1st||Teammate: Nyanshi, Bon-chan, Mago, Tokido|
|2010||Northern California Regionals 8||Super Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||1st||Teammate: Ricky Ortiz, Floe|
|2010||Northern California Regionals 8||Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix||1st||-|
|2010||Canada Cup 2010||Super Street Fighter IV||1st||-|
|2010||Canada Cup 2010||Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix||1st||-|
|2010||Canada Cup 2010||Super Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||3rd||Teammate: Air, Mago|
|2010||Southern California Regionals 2010||Super Street Fighter IV||2nd||-|
|2010||Southern California Regionals 2010||Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix||1st||-|
|2010||Season's Beatings V||Super Street Fighter II Turbo||1st||-|
|2010||Nagoya Street Battle 17||Super Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||1st||Teammate: MACHI, Momochi|
|2010||Super Battle Opera 2010||Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||2nd||Teammate: TKD, Bon-chan|
|2010||Ayano Cup||Street Fighter IV (5 on 5)||1st||Teammate: Nyanshi, Misse, Nemo, Iyo|
|2010||Super VS Battle 20-X||Super Street Fighter IV||3rd||-|
|2010||Evolution 2010||Super Street Fighter IV||1st||-|
|2010||Nagoya Street Battle 15||Super Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||2nd||Teammate: Mago, Tokido|
|2010||Evolution Asia-Pacific||Super Street Fighter IV||1st||-|
|2010||World Game Cup 2010||Street Fighter IV (2 on 2)||1st||Teammate: Eita|
|2010||World Game Cup 2010||Street Fighter IV||2nd||-|
|2009||Season's Beatings IV||Street Fighter IV||1st||-|
|2009||Season's Beatings IV||SSF2 Turbo HD Remix||1st||-|
|2009||Season's Beatings IV||Street Fighter IV (3 on 3)||3rd||Team: Daigo Company|
|2009||Shiozawa Cup||Street Fighter IV (5 on 5)||1st||Teammate: Nyanshi, Misse, Iyo, Bon-chan|
|2009||GODSGARDEN #1||Street Fighter IV||3rd||-|
|2009||Evolution 2009||Street Fighter IV||1st||-|
|2007||2nd Darkstalker Combination Cup||Vampire Hunter||1st||-|
|2007||Hyper-Mania 4||Hyper Street Fighter II (Team)||2nd||-|
|2007||X-Mania 7||Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Team)||2nd||-|
|2006||Evolution 2006||Guilty Gear XX Slash||2nd||-|
|2005||Super Battle Opera 2005||Street Fighter III 3rd Strike (2 on 2)||1st||Teammate: Nuki [Video]|
|2005||Super Battle Opera 2005||Capcom Fighting Jam (Team)||2nd||-|
|2004||4th Cooperation Cup||Street Fighter III 3rd Strike||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 Strike||1st||-|
|2004||Absolution 2004||Street Fighter Zero 3||3rd||-|
|2004||Evolution 2004||Super Street Fighter II Turbo||1st||-|
|2004||Evolution 2004||Guilty Gear XX||1st||-|
|2004||Evolution 2004||Street Fighter III 3rd Strike||2nd||-|
|2004||Kakutou Ishin||Street Fighter III 3rd Strike||2nd||-|
|2004||Kakutou Ishin||Street Fighter Zero 3||2nd||-|
|2004||Evolution 2003||Super Street Fighter II Turbo||1st||-|
|2003||Evolution 2003||Guilty Gear XX||1st||-|
|2003||Evolution 2003||Street Fighter III 3rd Strike||2nd||-|
|2003||Evolution 2003||Capcom vs. SNK 2||2nd||-|
|2003||Super Battle Opera (#1)||Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Team)||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 (Team)||2nd||-|
|1998||Official National Tournament||Street Fighter Zero 3||1st||International Champion|
|1997||GAMEST Cup||Vampire Savior||1st||-|
Most of data from 2007 and older is provided by beastdaigo.jp. Complete list and more data on smaller-scaled tournaments can be found on the Japanese fan site. All data is verified by sources as of May, 31, 2010. Reports from official sites are included if available. Only first, second, and third place are displayed here.
The Famous Comeback at Evo 2004
Daigo Umehara started becoming famous internationally from the YouTube video clips of his match in the Losers bracket final in Evolution Championship Series 2004's Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike competition where he made a dramatic comeback against Justin Wong's Chun-Li. In the final round of match 1, Umehara's Ken was down to his last pixel of vitality. At this point, any special attack would knock Umehara's character out if connected, since special attacks deal chip damage even when blocked. In an attempt to win the round, Wong attempted to hit Umehara's Ken with Chun-Li's multihit Super Art move "Hou Yoku Sen" (鳳翼扇). However, instead of avoiding it, Umehara chose to "Parry," a technique whereby an incoming attack is blocked without the player losing any health, but by doing so requires moving toward opponent's direction in the same time a hit lands. After the move was launched, not only were all 15 hits Parried, but Umehara also managed to get into a good position to make a powerful attacking combo that knocked Chun-Li out instead. This moment was recorded and later spread on the Internet, gaining immense popularity.
The comeback is alternatively called Evo 2004 Moment #37 from a highlight video clip. For some Japanese, it is also known as Haisui no Gyakuten Geki (背水の逆転劇) from the title of a duplicate of the video.
The oldest video of the moment
Evo 2004 Moment #37
The entire match
On May 9, 2010, 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." (Summary)
In 2011, the moment was recreated as the hardest trial in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition.
In April 2012, the moment was parodied in the first episode of Acchi Kocchi anime.
In February 2013, the moment was parodied in the 8th episode of gdgd Fairies anime.
- The best moments of pro gaming history (Kotaku)
- The best of YouTube (Eurogamer)
The Internet Meme
Umehara is one of the Japanese Internet memes. More info here.
Appearance on Television
|1998||Street Fighter Zero 3 |
|2011||Yoasobi 3 Shimai||Gaming|