Japanese esports organization CJ eSports officially began operations on July 7. The team currently consists of Super Smash Bros. Melee players Masaya “aMSa” Chikamoto and Hitoshi “Sanne” Hatama. “Abu” joined the organization as a player and team manager.
CJ eSports was founded by old-school Melee player Ryota “CaptainJack” Yoshida. The team is currently composed primarily of Super Smash Bros. Melee players. However, the team aims to assist serious competitors in both Melee and Smash Ultimate.
CaptainJack initially announced his plan of forming an esports team near the end of 2018. At first, this simply involved providing prize pools for local Japanese tournaments. Of course, CJ eSports has now expanded to involve directly sponsoring Smash players from Japan.
CJ eSports has not yet announced if it will expand further in order to bring on more players. However, the company’s focus on Smash as a whole suggests that it may sponsor dedicated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players in the future.
While CaptainJack currently competes in both Melee and Ultimate, he is past his glory days as a competitor. However, he was one of the best players in the world during the early years of Melee, from about 2004 to 2008. In his prime, CaptainJack defeated Ken Hoang, Joel Isai Alvarado, Christopher “Azen” McMullen, Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez, and Amsah Augustuszoon.
As Japan’s best player and a top 10 player in the world, aMSa is naturally CJ eSports’ most renowned member. AMSa has placed in the top 8 of three major tournaments in 2019: GENESIS, Smash’N’Splash, and Smash Summit. He has only missed top 8 at one tournament, placing 9th at GOML 2019.
This year, aMSa has won sets against Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, Johnny “S2J” Kim, Zachary “SFAT” Cordoni, and Edgard “n0ne” Sheleby. He also boasts a 2-0 record over Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. Interestingly, CJ eSports is the third competitive gaming team that aMSa has joined. He is also a Red Bull athlete and a member of VGBootCamp.
AMSa is further a commentator for Japanese Super Smash Bros. Ultimate events. However, he does not compete in Ultimate as he did in Smash 4. This is because he playtested Ultimate during development, along with Ryuto “Ranai” Hayashi, Yuya “9B” Araki, and Tomoyasu “Earth” Yamakawa.
Though he is not as well-known as aMSa, Sanne is currently one of the strongest players in Japan. In 2019, he has beaten Japanese greats like aMSa, “Shippu,” and Nao “Gucci” Iguchi. Sanne has only attended one supermajor this year, GENESIS 6 in February. There, he finished in 97th place.
Abu is a bit of an interesting pick-up on the part of CJ eSports. He is currently involved in the management of a host club, a form of Japanese nighttime entertainment. However, Abu does have a bit of a background in esports, having worked with programs like YUBIWAZA and Buzz e-Sports.
Dylan Tate is a student in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, including Smash Bros., Splatoon, ARMS, and Pokémon. Dylan also writes competitive guides for Dignitas and Nintendo news articles for Nintendo Enthusiast.