Daigo Umehara may be famous for playing video game Street Fighter as Evil Ryu, but he just did a very good deed.
Daigo Umehara is one of the few people in the world who became so good at arcade games that he was able to progress past feeding them coins and started making money from them instead. As the most famous Street Fighter player in the world, Umehara has won international tournaments held in multiple continents, earning the nickname “The Beast” along the way.
Now, though, you could also call him “The Benefactor,” because the 34-year-old Tokyo native has donated all of his winnings from his most recent professional tournament to a scholarship fund.
Earlier this month in San Francisco, Umehara took part in the 2015 Capcom Cup competition, which is administered by Street Fighter developer and publisher Capcom. Falling in the finals, Umehara’s second-place finish was still good enough to net US$60,000 in prize money. Rather than run to the nearest arcade to play Street Fighter 240,000 times, though, Umehara had something more philanthropic in mind.
“Just as you need an opponent in fighting games, the community is equally important to me,” Umehara stated, adding “The stronger the community grows, the further my career expands.” So just like successful professional athletes in major sports often seek to give something back, so too has Umehara chosen to donate the entire $60,000 he was awarded at Capcom Cup 2015 to the Evo Scholarship fund. Primarily funded by subscriptions to the annual Evo fighting game tournament, the Evo Scholarship benefits applicants to New York University’s Game Center game design program.
Thanks to Umehara’s unexpected contribution, New York University has extended its application deadline for the fall 2016 game development program to January 15. In truly humble fashion, the famous fighting game master wrapped up his announcement by saying “I cannot express my gratitude to the community,” but we think he’s done so in an incredibly admirable way.