Well, first of all, the­re is a Japa­ne­se vari­ant of chess cal­led Sho­gi. To put it sim­ply, the­re is just a much broa­der appeal in gene­ral as famous play­ers such as Moriuchi and Habu are wide­ly known throughout the country.

Hika­ru Naka­mu­ra über Schach in Japan (via chesspatzerblog)