Manao Kagawa (@MNO_shogi) is known for her accomplishments in the world of a shogi (a strategic game sometimes called Japanese chess or Game of Generals). She debuted at the age of 15 (the youngest women's player at the time), and even won the women's rank of "Queen" in 2013, defending it the following year.

She's also known for her enthusiasm for some otaku-related activities such as voice acting, contributing to gaming magazines, and cosplay. In particular, her awesome and fitting cosplay of junior high school student shogi player Ginko Sora from The Ryuo's Work is Never Done! (Ryūō no Oshigoto!), handmade by her mother, got her a lot of praise.

Kagawa is in headlines for a different reason lately, however. The accomplished shogi player recently participated in a Twitter hashtag campaign called #オタク垢抜けた選手権2020 (Otaku akanukeru shenshuken 2020), or roughly "The otaku styling up 2020 championship," in which otaku shared before and after photos of themselves "refining their looks" as otaku.

Kagawa's photos of her transformation follow the timeline of "elementary school student"---"high school student"---"20's"---"junior high school student (?)" and the drastic change has many on Twitter doing a double take.

Many people who found out about Kagawa due to the hashtag and her Tweet going viral, as well as longtime fans were understandably stunned at the transformation and wondered if they were actually photos of the same person.

Kagawa recently took to her YouTube channel to explain that when younger she gravitated towards things that boy's typically liked, preferring "cool" to "cute", and in her own words found herself adopting a "boyish" style. This continued as she entered the world of shogi, which had not yet welcomed as many women's players so she found the look helped her fit in. After entering university, meeting other women's players whose style she admired, and making more public appearances, she found herself preferring her new look.

If you'd like to follow Kagawa's shogi activities and hobbies, be sure to check her out on Twitter and YouTube.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.