High-Profile People of 2017 Featured on "Hagoita" Paddles (News)


Tokyo, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Princess Mako, her fiance-to-be Komuro Kei, teenage shōgi sensation Fujii Sōta, and seven other people who drew much public and media attention this year, as well as a giant panda cub at a Tokyo zoo are featured on colorful hagoita wooden paddles unveiled by Japanese traditional doll maker Kyūgetsu on Wednesday.

The routine hagoita-unveiling event was held at the company's headquarters in Taitō Ward in the Japanese capital.

Hagoita paddles are used in hanetsuki, a traditional Japanese game that is similar to badminton and played mainly during the New Year period. The paddles shown at the event are larger than those actually used in the game.

The informal engagement of Princess Mako and Komuro was announced on September 3. Their wedding is set to take place on November 4, 2018, after an engagement ceremony on March 4. Princess Mako is the eldest child of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and the first grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Fujii in October 2016 became the youngest to turn professional in the world of the traditional Japanese board game of shogi at the age of 14 years and two months. Fujii, who holds the rank of fourth dan, set a record winning streak of 29 official matches in June this year.

An employee at doll maker Kyūgetsu's Tokyo headquarters holds wooden hagoita paddles featuring this year's popular news icons. Photograph taken on December 6, 2017. (© Jiji)

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