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167 players have come to Tokyo, looking for a National title, the right to represent their country at Worlds in Berlin, and a part of the $50,000 up for grabs. Kazuhiko Mitsuya, Michihisa Onoda and Yuusuke Sasaki made up last year’s Japanese National team, and none of them showed up today, which is a bit odd because they make up three of the seven players invited who decided not to play this weekend. This means that Japan is guaranteed a completely new team for Worlds this year, and with names like Tsuyoshi Fujita, Masashi Ooiso, Tsuyoshi Ikeda, Jin Okamoto, Katsuhiro Mori and Satoshi Nakamura in attendance, it looks like Japan is in prime position to send a contender to Germany this year. Without a doubt, a strong finish at Berlin would put the exclamation point on what has been a breakout year for Japanese Magic, and today’s tournament will decide who gets the opportunity to make that happen.

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