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:

valentines

Valentine’s Day in Japan

February is known to be the love month in some parts of the world. It is because of the Valentine’s Day on February 14. As we can see in Japanese shows and anime, there’s also a hype especially among schoolgirls when this time of the year comes. How do the Japanese celebrate this holiday? Valentine’s […]

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

buddha -mt-shirataki-

Mt. Shirataki and the Love Rock

I thought we already reached our destination after losing liters of sweat pushing our bicycles and ourselves following the steep road going up to the mountain. I was wrong. We just reached the wide parking area and there we were still half way from the top. But even so, the scenery from there was already very […]

Read Article

A couple enjoying the view at Ginshoji

Momijigari: Hunting for Autumn Colors

I have never been to any form of hunting trip till my friends and I head out to Kyoto this year to experience Momijigari which literally translates to maple leaf (momiji) hunting (gari). Just like Hanami (sakura viewing) in spring, Momijigari in autumn is well rooted in the Japanese culture and recently has also gained […]

Read Article

208757307_bc0c31977d_z

Japanese Summer – A Season of Fireworks and Dance Festivals 2

In our previous post, we featured fireworks as one of the things you usually associate to a Japanese summer. But summer is not only about fireworks, it also means commemorating one’s dead ancestors and summer dance festivals. Obon In Buddhism, they believe that the spirits of their ancestors visit their living relatives yearly and it […]

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

valentines

Valentine’s Day in Japan 2 – Types of Chocolates

Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day. As we featured in Valentine’s Day in Japan post, Japan has also their way of celebrating this day. As there was a mistranslation in some point in Japan’s Valentine’s Day history, only girls give chocolates to boys during this day. It was said that it is an opportunity for women to express […]

Read Article

sumo heya (2)

Sumo: More Than Just a Martial Art – The Sumo Wrestler

As sumo has its roots from a religious background (originally performed to entertain Shinto deities), sumo wrestlers lead a highly regimented way of life. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]

Read Article

hatsumoude

New Year Holidays in Japan: Hatsumoude

Happy New Year! Everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year will turn out. The following […]

Read Article

vacation

Golden Week – Furikae Kyūjitsu and Golden Week History

Today is the last day of the Golden Week this year in Japan. For this year, this day has no particular celebration or holiday. Today is just a Compensation/Substitute Holiday (振替休日 Furikae Kyūjitsu) that is observed when any of the Golden Week holidays fall on Sunday. Past Observances of Furikae Kyūjitsu Furikae Kyūjitsu of the […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑