||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (March 2011)|
Yoshiharu Habu was born in Tokorozawa, Saitama in 1970 and moved to Hachioji, Tokyo before entering kindergarten. Habu first encountered shogi in his first year of elementary school, when his classmates taught him how the shogi pieces move. He was so fascinated by the game that his mother entered him in a shogi tournament held at the Hachioji Shogi Club in the summer of in 1978. Although Habu was eliminated during the preliminary rounds with a record of 1 win and 2 losses, his parents took him to the shogi club every weekend from October 1978. Habu improved so rapidly that he was promoted to amateur 5-dan in October 1981 at the age of 11. 
During his elementary school days, Habu regularly participated in regional shogi tournaments, mainly for children. At these tournaments, Habu played against several children of the same age who would also become professional players, including Toshiyuki Moriuchi(ja), Yasumitsu Sato(ja) and Manabu Senzaki(ja). Those players born around 1970 are now known as the "Habu generation"(ja), not just because they were born in the same year, but also due to their outstanding achievements as players. 
In July 1981, Habu qualified to participate in the Amateur Meijin Tournament(ja) as the youngest ever representative ever of the Tokyo Suburban Area, and won four tournaments for elementary school children the following August. He expressed his desire to become a professional player and asked advice from Katsuyasu Nakajima, the owner of the Hachioji Shogi Club and a student of Tatsuya Futakami. Habu applied to the "apprentice professional training school"(ja) (奨励会 shōreikai?)  as Futakami's student and was accepted as a member in 1982.
Habu became a 4-dan professional in 1985 at the age of 14. He was the third "high school kid professional" in shogi history following Hifumi Kato(ja) and Koji Tanigawa(ja). In 1989, at the age of 19, Habu 6-dan won the Ryu-oh championship, defeating Akira Shima(ja) who led a 4-person shogi study group "Shimaken" in which Habu himself took part. This was the first time Habu won one of the seven major titles making him, at the time, the youngest titleholder ever. Although he lost the Ryu-oh title to Tanigawa the following year, Habu won the Kioh championship four months later in 1991. Since then he has held at least one of the seven major titles every year since then, and according to custom of the titleholder system he has, therefore, never been referred to by his dan ranking since winning that first championship in 1989.
Accumulating three wins in major championships (Ryu-oh in 1989, Kioh in 1991 and 1992), Habu actually did qualify for promotion to 9-dan in March 1992, but the existing promotion rules required him to be promoted to 8-dan first and then to wait one year before his next promotion. He was officially promoted to 9-dan on April 1, 1994. 
In 1992 Habu won the Oza championship defeating Bungo Fukuzaki(ja) to hold two titles (Kioh and Oza) simultaneously. In 1996 (February 14 to July 30), Habu became the first professional to ever hold all seven major titles (Ryu-oh, Meijin, Kisei, Oi, Oza, Kioh, and Osho) at the same time, a remarkable feat that has not been duplicated since.
In June 2014, Habu defeated the defending Meijin Toshiyuki Moriuchi four games to none to become the 72nd Meijin. Habu lost his Meijin title to Moriuchi in 2011 (69th Meijin match) and was unable defeat Moriuchi and regain the title in both 2012 (70th Meijin match) and 2013 (71st Meijin match). By defeating Moriuchi, Habu not only moved into a tie with both Moriuchi and Yoshio Kimura for third place on the all time Meijin winner's list, he also became the first person the recapture the title for the third time. 
In 1996 Habu married the actress Rie Hatada, who retired from her career after marriage. As of 2012 they have two daughters.  He is also one of the best chess players in Japan, with an Elo rating of 2415 (February 2014).
- 1982, December 2: 6-kyu
- 1983, February 2: 5-kyu (6 wins, 3 losses)
- 1983, March 28: 4-kyu (6 wins, no losses)
- 1983, May 11: 3-kyu: (6 wins, no losses)
- 1983, July 7: 2-kyu: (6 wins, no losses)
- 1983, August 24: 1-kyu: (6 wins, no losses)
- 1984, January 11: 1-dan (12 wins, 4 losses)
- 1984, September 10: 2-dan (14 wins, 5 losses)
- 1985, April 25: 3-dan (12 wins, 4 losses)
- 1985, December 12: 4-dan (13 wins, 4 losses)
- 1988, April 1: 5-dan (promoted to C1-class Meijinsen)
- 1989, October 1: 6-dan (being the Ryu-oh challenger)
- 1990, October 1: 7-dan (being Ryu-oh title holder himself)
- 1993, April 1: 8-dan (promoted to A-class Meijinsen)
- 1994, April 1: 9-dan (one year after of 8-dan promotion, having got qualified earlier to the 9-dan on accumulation of three major titles)
Titles and other championships
|Title||Years Held||Number of titles|
|Ryu-oh||1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2002||6|
|Meijin||1994–1996, 2003, 2008–2010、2014 (current)||8|
|Kisei||1993–1995, 2000, 2008–2014 (current)||13|
|Oi||1993–2001, 2004–2006, 2011-2013 (current)||15|
|Oza||1992–2010, 2012-2013 (current)||21|
|Osho||1996–2001, 2003, 2005–2009||12|
- Non-title tournaments
|Tournament||Years Held||Number of times|
|Asahi Cup Open(ja)||2009, 2011, 2013||3|
|*All Nihon Pro(ja)||1990, 1992, 1998||3|
|Ginga-sen(ja)||1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012||7|
|NHK Cup||1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2008-2011||10|
|*Hayazashi Senshuken(ja)||1992, 1995, 2002||3|
|Nihon Series(ja)||1991, 1998, 2003, 2010-2011||5|
|*All Star Kachinuki-sen(ja)||1988, 1990, 1997, 1999||4|
|*Young Lions(ja)||1987, 1989||2|
Lifetime titles: Lifetime NHK Cup Champion
Note: Tournaments marked with an asterisk (*) are no longer held.
Habu's has received the following awards in recognition of his accomplishments throughout his career. The "Annual shogi awards" are awarded by the Japan Shogi Association(ja), or JSA, to its members each year in recognition of performance during official play throughout the previous professional shogi year or shogi"nendo" (年度?) (April 1 to March 31). "Other awards" includes those awarded by the JSA for career accomplishments and those awarded governmental organizations, etc. for contributions made to Japanese society. 
- Annual shogi awards
- 1986: Best Winning Percentage, Best New Player
- 1987: Best Winning Percentage, Most Victories, Fighting-spirit
- 1988: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Games Won
- 1989: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Games Won
- 1991: Fighting-spirit
- 1992: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Games Won
- 1993: Player of the Year
- 1994: Player of the Year, Most Games Won
- 1995: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Special Award
- 1996: Player of the Year
- 1998: Player of the Year, Most Games Played
- 1999: Player of the Year
- 2000: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Games Won
- 2001: Player of the Year
- 2002: Player of the Year, Most Games Won, Most Games Played
- 2003: Player of the Year, Most Games Won, Most Games Played
- 2004: Player of the Year, Best Winning Percentage, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Games Won
- 2005: Player of the Year, Most Games Played, Most Consecutive Victories
- 2006: Player of the Year, Game of the Year
- 2007: Player of the Year, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Game of the Year
- 2008: Player of the Year, Game of the Year
- 2009: Player of the Year
- 2010: Player of the Year, Most Games Won
- 2011: Player of the Year, Most Games Won, Most Games Played
- 2012: Excellent Player, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Game of the Year, Special Award
- 2013: Excellent Player, Most Games Won, Most Games Played, Game of the Year
- Prize Money Leader
Since 1993, Habu has finished at the top of the year-end prize money rankings a total of 19 times (1993-1996, 1998-2012) and second twice (1997 and 2013). All amounts are given in Japanese yen and consist of tournament winnings and other game fees received during the calendar year (January 1 to December 31).
- 1993: \100,630,000
- 1994: \112,970,000
- 1995: \165,970,000
- 1996: \161,450,000
- 1998: \114,660,000
- 1999: \78,720,000
- 2000: \105,950,000
- 2001: \115,190,000
- 2002: \110,480,000
- 2003: \129,100,000
- 2004: \112,720,000
- 2005: \103,910,000
- 2006: \93,760,000
- 2007: \81,320,000
- 2008: \107,110,000
- 2009: \112,780,000
- 2010: \115,760,000
- 2011: \98,860,000
- 2012: \91,750,000
- Other awards
- 1994: Tokyo Resident Culture Honor Award (Awarded by the Governor of Tokyo in recognition of cultural achievements by a Tokyoite)
- 1996: Prime Minister's Award (Awarded by then Japanese Prime Minister Ryūtarō Hashimoto in recognition of becoming the first person to hold all seven major shogi titles at the same time.
- 1999: Shogi Honor Award (Awarded by the JSA in recognition of winning 600 official games as a professional)
- 2003: Shogi Honor Fighting-spirit Award (Awarded by JSA in recognition of winning 800 official games as a professional)
- 2007: Special Shogi Honor Award (Awarded by the JSA in recognition of winning 1,000 official games as a professional)
- 2008: 56th Kikuchi Kan Prize (Awarded by the publishing company Bungei Shunju in recognition of cultural achievements)
- 2010: 25 Years Service Award (Awarded by the JSA in recognition of being an active professional for twenty-five years)
- Habu Meijin no Omoshiro Shōgi - Super Famicom video game
- Saikyō Habu Shōgi - Nintendo 64 video game
- Habu Yoshiharu Shogi de Kitaeru: Ketsudanryoku DS - Nintendo DS video game
- i HABU Shogi - iPhone/iPod
- 炬口, 勝弘 (April 1996). "羽生善治、生い立ちの記". 将棋世界［4月臨時増刊号］七冠王、羽生善治 (in Japanese) (日本将棋連盟): 168–175.
- Thakrar, Raju (7 January 2007). "Yoshiharu Habu: Japan's king of the board". Japan Times (Tokyo, Japan: The Japan Times, Ltd.). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "The Girl Who Hopes to Become a Professional Shogi Player". Kids Web Japan. December 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "棋士紹介: 羽生善治" [Player Introduction: Yoshiharu Habu] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "羽生、通算タイトル獲得数歴代単独１位に" [Habu, Number 1 on the list of all-time title winners] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- 山村, 英樹 (21 May 2014). "名人戦:羽生４連勝で４冠に 新たな「平成伝説」誕生" [Meijin Match: Habu wins four in a row, becomes a 4 crown. A new Heisei legend is born.]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese) (Tokyo, Japan: Mainichi Newspapers). Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Rating Progress Chart: Habu, Yoshiharu (JPN)". World Chess Federation (FIDE). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "When a shogi champion turns to chess". ChessBase GmbH. 17 May 2002. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "棋士紹介: 羽生善治, 将棋大賞, その他表彰" [Player Introduction: Yoshiharu Habu, Annual Shogi Awards, Other Awards] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "年間獲得賞金・対局料TOP10" [Annual Prize Money-Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). Kishi-mania. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "2012年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10" [2012 Prize Money-Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "2013年獲得賞金・対局料ベスト10" [2013 Prize Money-Game Fees Top 10] (in Japanese). 日本将棋連盟. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.