Inicio English Yakuza’s Exclusive! Julia Hedberg, Konami’s Judge Mama

Yakuza’s Exclusive! Julia Hedberg, Konami’s Judge Mama

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(Lechería, April 27th. Yakuza Webzine).- Julia Hedberg, a.k.a Judge Mama, found some time in her tight schedule to share with Yakuza Webzine how she went from running her own costume design/construction business to be the first Judge Manager at Konami, where in addition of leading more than nine thousand volunteers (1500 from Latin America), she develops new ideas and organize the Judge Program.

  • If you want to read the full Q&A and know all the information to be part of the Konami Judge Program, just click here
  • Si desea ver la entrevista en español, haga click aquí.

As Judge Manager, she is «Judge Mama», and she recruits, trains, keeps track of and supports Judges in order to make Yu-Gi-Oh! part of the Organized Play. Not only for local events, but for Premier ones as well. And, by doing that, it is possible to provide the best experience for the players (the experienced ones as well as the new ones)

A task that at the beginning looked like a good temporary job and started by purchasing Yugi and Kaiba starter decks; currently has more than a decade being part of Julia’s life, after she decided to learn the basics and apply for a job at the Mall Tour ran by UDE in the early 2000s.

«Judge Mama» tells us that she began in the world of Yu-Gi-Oh! by giving short lectures with oversized cards and walking people through dueling against each other. However, she wanted a better position so she applied to the Duel the Master area, the “Millennium Puzzle”. As a Puzzle Duelist, her job was to Duel as many people as possible during the tour hours, and not have more than a handful of losses per day. Plus, she got to wear a very sharp looking black suit instead of the khaki pants that they made her wear while giving lectures.

Eventually she became a pretty good player so she planned to start competing in Regionals to try and win a chance to go to Worlds. However, the very first Regional held by UDE was near her, and the TO asked if she’d be interested in judging. She decided to do it and that first bite meant the end of her career as a player.

Despite the fact that her first Yu-Gi-Oh! judging experience was somewhat chaotic, she confesses that after all these years she has made a lot of friends, has had a lot of fun, has travelled to a lot of different places, has felt like she has made a worthwhile contribution to the game, and has ended up with that awesome job as Judge Manager. But above all, she finally got rid of those khaki pants.

Julia remembers that at the beginning there were no Policy Documents, PSCT, many rulings resources, or even a Judge Program. Definitely, Judging has come a really long way since then.

For the future of the Konami Judge Program, Julia would like to focus on more resources for judges, particularly the ones who don’t get the opportunity to judge at a YCS or WCQ. She has a few projects she is currently working on that should help them out a lot.

«Judge Mama» is also the one responsible of selecting the judges that will represent KDE-US territory in the World Championship every year; and for that, she chooses judges with a lot of previous experience, who have a reliable rulings and policy knowledge and the necessary diplomacy, flexibility, and patience to work under the very exacting standards of a WC.

Latin America, an important territory for Yu-Gi-Oh!

According to Julia, Latin America has shown a lot of growth in the years Konami has been managing the TCG, and its future is getting bigger and better since there are lots of good players there. In fact, in 2005 a Mexican won the second place in the WC, in 2007 a Chilean won the WC and finally, in 2010 a Panamanian won the second WC title for the territory.

She also told us that players in Latin America generally finish the rounds faster, pay better attention to the Head Judge during the player meeting and follow directions better. Not to mention that there aren’t lines of people wanting to hug and kiss her at North America events, and there usually are at the Latin America events.

Draw, paint and sculpt

The famous manager confess that her life as the Judge Manager has taken over a lot of her personal life, especially when they have a lot of Premier Level tournaments going on. She is usually accessible to judges via social media on the evenings and even on weekends if there’s an event going on and they really need a question answered.

However, before starting in the TCG industries she ran her own costume design/construction business, so she enjoys designing and creating costumes and other clothing. She likes doing fine needlework and embroidery and reading. Furthermore, she used to draw, paint and sculpt but haven’t done much along those lines for years, so she wants to start trying and making time to pick that up again.

By Shougo Amakusa (@shougoamakusa)

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