Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Let’s Play “Go”! – The Go Board Game in Modern Times and Popular Culture

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/22 Pop Culture & OTAKU, Traditional Culture , ,

The Go board game became popular not only in Asia but also in other countries. It also spawned many work of art and fictions.

Go’s Spread of Popularity

Despite its widespread popularity in East Asia, Go has been slow to spread to the rest of the world. Although there are some mentions of the game in western literature from the 16th century forward, Go did not start to become popular in the West until the end of the 19th century, when German scientist Oskar Korschelt wrote a treatise on the game. By the early 20th century, Go had spread throughout the German and Austro-Hungarian empires. In 1905, Edward Lasker learned the game while in Berlin. When he moved to New York, Lasker founded the New York Go Club together with (amongst others) Arthur Smith, who had learned of the game while touring the East and had published the book The Game of Go in 1908. Lasker’s book Go and Go-moku (1934) helped spread the game throughout the U.S., and in 1935, the American Go Association was formed. Two years later, in 1937, the German Go Association was founded.

World War II put a stop to most Go activity, but after the war, Go continued to spread. For most of the 20th century, the Japan Go Association (Nihon Ki-in) played a leading role in spreading Go outside East Asia by publishing the English-language magazine Go Review in the 1960s; establishing Go centers in the U.S., Europe and South America; and often sending professional teachers on tour to Western nations. Internationally, the game is now commonly known by its shortened Japanese name (Go), and terms for common Go concepts are derived from their Japanese pronunciation.

In 1996, NASA astronaut Daniel Barry and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata became the first people to play Go in space. They used a special Go set, which was named Go Space, designed by Wai-Cheung Willson Chow. Both astronauts were awarded honorary dan ranks by the Nihon Ki-in.

As of May 2012, the International Go Federation has 57 member countries outside Asia.

Works of Fiction

Aside from technical literature and study material, Go and its strategies have been the subject of several works of fiction, such as The Master of Go by Nobel prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata and The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa. Other books have used Go as a theme or minor plot device. For example, the novel Shibumi by Trevanian centers on the game and uses Go metaphors, and “The Way of Go: 8 Ancient Strategy Secrets for Success in Business and Life” by Troy Anderson applies Go strategy to business. In “GO: An Asian Paradigm for Business Strategy”, Miura Yasuyuki, a manager with Japan Airlines, uses Go to describe the thinking and behavior of business men.

Of particular note is the manga and anime series Hikaru no Go, released in Japan in 1998, which had a large impact in popularizing Go among young players, both in Japan and—as translations were released—abroad. Go Player is a similar animated series about young Go players that aired in China.

hikaru no go manga

The manga Hikaru no Go sold in bookstores. The manga is credited to the spread of Go popularity especially to its young readers. (Photo by Naotake Murayama on Flickr)

Similarly, Go has been used as a subject or plot device in film, such as π, A Beautiful Mind, Tron: Legacy, and The Go Master, a biopic of Go professional Go Seigen. 2013’s Tokyo ni Kita Bakari or “Tokyo Newcomer” portrays a Chinese foreigner Go player moving to Tokyo. In King Hu’s wuxia film “The Valiant Ones”, the characters are color-coded as Go stones (black or other dark shades for the Chinese, white for the Japanese invaders), Go boards and stones are used by the characters to keep track of soldiers prior to battle, and the battles themselves are structured like a game of Go.

The corporation and brand Atari, which made Pong (one of the earliest arcade video games) was named after the Go term.

References:

1. Go (game). Wikipedia.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Swordsmith in Osafune

Osafune in Okayama: The land of Japanese sword – Part 1 –

Bizen country, its main area was southern part of the present Okayama prefecture, was very famous for swordsmithing. It’s also famous for pottery called “Bizen-yaki”, but in this post, I’m going to focus on swordsmithing only.   Swordsmiths in Bizen There were a great number of swordsmiths in Bizen. According to several websites, it seems […]

Read Article

Capsule Toy Vending Machines (2nd floor)

Visiting a Gacha-gacha (Capsule Toy) Specialty Store

In Japan, you can find capsule toy vending machines or gacha-gacha in Japanese (refers both to the toy and the vending machine) mostly everywhere. It’s usually located near the entrance at supermarkets, restaurants, department stores, and other places. Gacha-gacha (Capsule Toy) Specialty Store in Okayama City Recently, I have learned that there is a gacha-gacha specialty store called […]

Read Article

Osafune sword craft centre

Osafune in Okayama : The land of Japanese sword – Part 2 –

Bizen Osafune Japanese sword museum (1) About 30 minute walk from the Kagato station. It’s an institution with a sword museum, a shop, a forge and a sword craft centre. It cost me 500 yen (in November 2014) to enter the museum, but others were free. There were no swordsmiths nor craftsmen except one when […]

Read Article

furisode

Kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing

As someone who is not from Japan, when I think of a Japanese traditional garment, I always think of a kimono. We usually see on media as worn by Japanese women during special occasions but did you know that the kimono is not as simple as it looks like? Or did you know that there […]

Read Article

IMG_0312

Omihachiman and the man named William Merrell Vories – Part 1

Every time I visit Japan for work, one of the many highlights I look forward during my stay is to get to travel with my Japanese language teacher – I fondly call her sensei. We have traveled together to so many different tourist destinations around Kyoto and Okayama. Having her as a travel buddy is […]

Read Article

45962658_bc8b950e07_m

Shuubun no Hi or Autumnal Equinox Day

Today is Autumnal Equinox Day or 秋分の日 (Shuubun no Hi) in Japan. It is a public holiday which usually occurs on September 22 or 23 or the date of southward equinox in Japanese Standard Time (UTC+09:00). Automnal Equinox Scientifically speaking, the autumnal equinox is the day when the sun crosses the equator from the Northern […]

Read Article

4421620285_5227d3f439_m

Onsen

Japan is one of the countries located along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”.  Countries along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” have high seismic and volcanic activity.  This explains why earthquakes are common in the “Land of the Rising Sun”.  There are many  volcanoes in Japan.  In fact, approximately ten percent of the world’s active volcanoes […]

Read Article

Shiritori2

Kotoba Asobi : Shiritori – Learning the Japanese Style of Wordplay 3

In our last posts about kotoba asobi (Kotoba Asobi 1, Kotoba Asobi 2), we learned about kaibun and dajare. If the previous two types of Japanese wordplay are kind of serious, the next two types, though it needs deeper knowledge of Japanese vocabulary, are fun and can be played with two or more persons. This […]

Read Article

tanuki illust

Are you okay, Tanuki? – The Japanese Raccoon Dog in Legends and Popular Culture 2

Last time, we featured how the tanuki is similar to the kitsune in terms of how they are portrayed in Japanese legends and myths. In this post, we will talk about how the tanuki is depicted in modern Japan and in popular culture. When you stroll around Japan, you will notice that restaurants and pubs, […]

Read Article

Chinowa featured image

Summer Ritual at Shinto Shrine: “Chinowa-kuguri”

When I visited my wife’s parents’ home, I also went to a nearby shrine called Kibitsu shrine. At that time, an interesting ritual was being held. I’m going to introduce about it on this post. “Chinowa-kuguri” The ritual that has been held there is called “Chinowa-kuguri”. “Chinowa-kuguri” is one of the rites of “Nagoshi-no-harae”, which […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑