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Shinji Saito Winning the 2015 2a World Title

Shinji Saito is a Japanese 2A yo-yo player. He is a 13 time World Champion, and is considered by many in the yo-yo community to be the greatest competitive yo-yo player of all time. Though he mainly plays in 2A (two-handed looping), he also boasts considerable skill in 1A (string play).

Formerly a long-time member of Team Yomega, Saito was briefly affiliated with YoYoFactory, and is currently sponsored by Turning Point. During the late 1990s, he was a member of Team High Performance Japan, which was vital to Bandai's Hyper Yo-Yo promotions in Japan.

Shinji has 9 of his World Titles in 2A. In his early consecutive title wins he would be the one to be furthest ahead in the creation and development of arm-wrap tricks known in 2A today. He is viewed as a model flawlessness with his looping form and a technically broad and mechanical player, which some would nickname him as "The Machine". During his reign of titles in the 2000's decade only Koji Yokoyama and Hiraku Fuji could get close to him score wise, and even those would be comfortable scores of 10-15 points behind usually. Shinji would have a tougher track record at Japan Nationals where Koji, Hiraku and a handful of other 2A Japan Champions would obtain their few rare placings over Shinji. The closest score between Koji and Hiraku to Shinji on the Worlds turf was Koji in 2007, where he performed his best routine of his career and fell short of Shinji by the margin of 95.5 and 98.5 points respectively. This caused Koji to retire from competition.

The following year in the 2008 2A division would be Shinji's only loss at Worlds, where he had an uncharacteristic amount of tangles and restarts getting him 2nd. A relatively unknown 2A competitor at the time, Western Japan's regional champion Takuma Yamamoto, who got 6th place at Japan Nationals a couple months prior, would surprisingly just edge Shinji out by scores of 94.12 to 92.79 points winning his first of his four 2A world titles.

From 2006-2009, the World Yo-Yo Contest held a world title crowning division called the Combined Division meant to reward players skilled in multiple styles. Shinji won all 4 years and is the only player to be a Combined Division World Champion. People speculate that this division was retired because no one could beat Shinji in it at the time.

YoYoFactory_Presents_Shinji_Saito_1st_Place_2A_World_YoYo_Contest_2011_(finals)

YoYoFactory Presents Shinji Saito 1st Place 2A World YoYo Contest 2011 (finals)

Shinji would be outplaced by a non-Japanese 2A competitor only once. Which came from his only loss at the international Asia Pacific YoYo Contest in 2016 placing 2nd to Hong Kong National Champion Lui Man Ki. Shinji would also have many mistakes in this routine and those resulted in enough Major Deductions to give Lui Man Ki the win.

Shinji_Saito_Meets_Duncan_Hornet

Shinji Saito Meets Duncan Hornet

Shinji's thirteen world titles is the most of anyone in history. In the chase, there are three players are tied for second most count of world titles held at seven, being Hajime Miura, Takeshi Matsuura and Rei Iwakura. Hajime is the youngest of them and still the most competitively active player of the three to have a chance to catch up to Shinji. The 2a player besides Shinji with the most world titles is Shu Takada at six.

Signature Yo-yos

Achievements

2001

  • UTYJ Tokyo Regional - 2A Division - 2nd Place
  • JYYA Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2002

  • UTYJ Tokyo Regional - 2A Division - 3rd Place
  • UTYJ National - 2A Division - 3rd Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2003

  • East Japan Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 3rd Place
  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 5th Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2004

  • East Japan Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 4th Place
  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 1A Division - 6th Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2005

  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2006

  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - Combined Division - 1st Place

2007

  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - Combined Division - 1st Place

2008

  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 2nd Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - Combined Division - 1st Place

2009

  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - Combined Division - 1st Place

2010

2011

2013

  • East Japan Yo-Yo Contest A-Block - 1A Division - 2nd Place

2014

  • East Japan Yo-Yo Contest A-Block - 2A Division - 3rd Place
  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 6th Place
  • Asia-Pacific Yo-Yo Championships - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • Duncan International Yo-Yo Championship - 2A Division - 1st Place

2015

  • North Japan Yo-Yo Contest A-Block - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • Japan National Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 3rd Place
  • Asia-Pacific Yo-Yo Championships - 2A Division - 1st Place
  • World Yo-Yo Contest - 2A Division - 1st Place

2016

2017

  • Japan Open Yo-Yo Championship - DL (2A) Division - 1st Place

2018

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