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I'm sorry my response seems circular. I attempted to explain that the Central Rook's current popularity was due to one variation becoming a fad. In other words, its recent frequency appears due to external competitive considerations, and not due to any intrinsic strategic merit. As to why it has become a fad, I believe the players themselves are better judges of what increases their odds of winning than you are.
That said, the value (or even the definition) of the center in Shogi is another issue entirely, and perhaps you should ask that question separately. I do not believe simple popularity of recent openings can provide an answer. And computers too, as in Go and Chess, are probably the final arbiters of the issues you raise, and I for one am as curious as you.
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