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The Sealed Move Revealed

How to Read Japanese Go Analysis

From Kidō, June 1963


The installment of How to Read Japanese Go Analysis this month tries a different approach. This time an actual translation of a page from an article in Kidō magazine is used, but a more comprehensive explanation of how the writing is put together is given. In fact, the example here is from Figure 2 of the first game of the Classic Kidō Game section this month. The Vocabulary part below defines complete phrases in an attempt to show how the words hold together organically within the article. The rōmaji is given as usual, but the translation part is taken verbatim from the Classic Kidō Game section. The Notes section also offers a more thoroughgoing analysis of the various phrases in the article.


本因坊戦 Honinbō Sen Honinbō Match
第1局 Dai-ikkyoku Game 1
2譜 Nifu Figure 2
公開 Kōkai Publicly revealed
封じ手 Fūji-te Sealed move
観戦 Kansen Observing fight
メモ Memo Memo
例年 Reinen Typical year
時期 Jiki Season
早い Hayai Early
見えて Miete Seen as
二階 Nikai Second floor
対局室 Taikyoku-Shitsu Playing room
廊下 Rōka Corridor
見下ろした Mi-oroshita Looked down over
竜岡 Ryū-Oka [Place name]
Niwa Garden
真紅 Shinku Crimson
ツツジ Tsutsuji Azalea
遅咲き Oso-zaki Late blooming
ツバキ Tsubaki Camellia
新緑 Shinryoku Fresh greenery
Naka Amidst
目立つ Medatsu Striking; remarkable
Go Go
かなり Kanari Considerable
スピード Supi―do Speed
進んで Susunde Proceeding
両棋士 Ryō-kishi Both players
対局 Taikyoku Contested game
それほど Sorehodo To that extent
珍しい Mezurashii Rare
一昨年 Issakunen The year before last
たしか Tashika Definitely
午前中 Gozenchū During the morning
50数手 Gojūsūte 50-odd moves
打って Utte Playing (a move)
はず Hazu Expected
60手 Rokujū te 60 moves
新記録 Shin-kiroku New record
かもしれない Kamoshirenai Perhaps
坂田 Sakata [Proper name]
前譜 Zenpu Previous figure
Kuro Black
カケ Kake Fencing-in move
見損じた Mi-sonjita Overlooked
らしく Rashiku Seem to have, and…
だいぶ Daibu Considerable
Son Loss
Shiro White
以下 Ika Following [moves]
一流 Ichiryū First class
強引さ Gōin-sa High-handed
一気 Ikki At a single stretch
持って Utte Playing [moves]
驚かされた Odorokasareta Made [one] surprised
強打 Kyōda Strong move
みるみる Mirumiru Quickly
うちに Uchi ni While [something is happening]
ダメヅマリ Damezumari Shortage of liberties
6時 Roku-ji 6 o’clock
定刻 Teikoku Scheduled time
封じる Fūjiru To seal
よほど Yohodo Very
立会い Tachi-ai Overseeing
藤沢段9 Fujisawa kudan Fujisawa 9 dan
許可 Kyoka Permission
得て Ete Earning
部屋 Heya Room
下って Kudatte Withdraw
高川 Takagawa [Proper name]
35分 Sanjū-go fun 35 minutes
長考 Chōkō Long thought
やがて Yagate Finally
ゴケ Goke Go bowl
鳴らして Narashite Make [something] rattle
あっ Ah! [Exclamation of surprise]
気にとられる Ki ni torareru Carried away by
ふり向いて Furi-muite Turn around to face [something]
ニヤリと Niyari to Grinning
笑い Warai Smile; [sometimes “laugh”]
ユーモア Hūmoa Humor
皮肉 Hiniku Ironic; [sometimes “sarcastic”]
むろん Muron Naturally
封じ手 Fūji-te Sealed move
合計 Gōkei Total
時間 Jikan Time [or “hour”]
Fun Minute(s)


Honinbō-Sen Dai-Ikkyoku

Ni Fu Kōkai Sareta Fūji-Te

Kansen Memo

Reinen yori jiki ga hayai to miete, nikai no taikyoku-shitsu no rōka kara mi-oroshita Ryū-Oka no niwa ni wa, shinku no tsutsuji to oso-zaki no tsubaki ga shinryoku no naka ni medatsu bakari datta.

Go wa kanari no supi―do de susunde iru ga, ryō-kishi no taikyoku to shite wa sorehodo mezurashii koto de wa nai. Issakunen no dai-ikkyoku de mo tashika gozenchū ni gojū sūte utte iru hazu da ga, rokujū te wa shin-kiroku kamoshirenai.

Sakata Honinbō wa zenpu kuro gojū-kyū no kake wo mi-sonjita rashiku, daibu son wo shita ga, shiro nanajū ika ga ichiryū no gōin-sa de, ikki ni utte itta no ni odorokasareta. Shiro kyūjū-roku no kyōda ni mirumiru uchi ni kuro wa damezumari ni natte iku.

Roku-ji no teikoku ni natte, kuro ga hyaku-nana wo fūjiru koto ni naru to, Sakata san wa yohodo tsukarete ita to miete, tachiai no Fujisawa kudan no kyoka wo ete heya ni kudatte itta. Sono ato Takagawa san wa sanjū-go fun mo chōkō shita. Yagate goke wo narashite hyaku-nana to uchi, a-tto ki ni torareru kiroku no hou wo furi-muite niyari to warai, “Fūji-toite kudasai” to itta. Yūmoa na no ka hiniku na no ka, muron Sakata san ga inai kara yatta koto na no da ga…

Ni fu (61-107)

[On left side of board] ichi, ni san, shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyū, jū. jūichi, jūni, jūsan, jūshi, jūgo, jūroku, jūshichi, jūhachi, jūkyū

[Beneath time record on bottom left]: (Fūji-te)

Gōkei {Kuro yon jikan sanjū-roku fun

Shiro san jikan yonjū fun


Even after more than a hundred years of transliteration of Japanese, it is still not standardized. So excuse any discrepancies in the rōmaji given. As a matter of fact, not even the rendering of kana is standardized. The Japanese government officially sanctions the so-called Kunrei-shiki system, while many Westerners prefer the Hepburn system, because it is simpler for beginners to understand. The Hepburn system is used here.

In the vocabulary part, this time an effort has been made to translate the tense of verbs as used in the text. Also, more compound nouns have been translated together, such as “Honinbō Match.” In this case, the Japanese character “sen” could be translated as “tournament” or similar words. So the context is all important.

Certain quirks of the Japanese language as expressed in the text could not be avoided. For instance, the word “tashika.” This means: “definitely, positively, no question, absolutely, etc.” But it also means “perhaps, maybe, possibly, I think, etc.”! And in the text the context is vague! There it means “I think” but the implication is that what is said is true. Ah! The joys of the Japanese language!

The text here is labeled as: “Kansen Memo.” Literally this means: “Fight Observation Memo,” but what it really means is that the newspaper reporter has written this part. The analysis of professionals is referred to, but the thoughts of the players themselves are identified separately. See the article for clarification.

Since this page was written by the reporter, there is much color commentary. The remarks start with an observation about the garden that may be viewed from the second floor of the playing site and the flowers and greenery there. There are also notes about the speed of play, Sakata’s excusing himself early because of fatigue and a mistake made by Takagawa in playing what was supposed to be the sealed move on the board. This kind of commentary gives flavor to the writing that is often lacking in typical articles published in English about title matches.

Just above the right corner of the board there is a notation that the moves in the figure were played during the time period of 1:02 pm and 6:35 pm, while the time used over many of the moves is given on the left side of the page. Below that is the total time used by the players.

Finally, above and on the left side of the board is the numerical notation in Arabic numerals on the top and characters on the left. For the convenience of those who are not completely familiar with the pronunciation of Japanese, that is given in the rōmaji section.


Figure 2: The Sealed Move Revealed


Figure 2 (61-107)

It appeared like the changing of the seasons had come early compared to typical years, but looking down from the corridor of the second floor where the playing room was located into the Ryū-Oka garden, the bright red azaleas and the late blooming camellias were striking amidst the verdant green that surrounded them.

The game was proceeding at quite a rapid pace, but that was not all that unusual in games played between these two players.

The year before last, in the first game I seem to remember that 50 odd moves were played in the morning session, but perhaps the 60 moves played here was a new record.

It seems that Sakata Honinbō overlooked the fencing-in move of Black 59, incurring a substantial loss. However, with the moves from White 70 on, he played with first class forcefulness, taking the game in hand in a surprising way. With the strong move of White 96, Black was saddled with a shortage of liberties right before one’s eyes.

At the scheduled time of 6:00 pm, Black was to decide upon a sealed move, when Sakata san, who obviously was tired, asked the official referee, Fujisawa 9 dan, if he might be excused, and retired to his room. After that, Takagawa san thought for a long 35 minutes. At length his hand rattled around in his go bowl, and he played 107 on the board. “Ah!” said the recorder in surprise as he looked up and grinned. “Please make that the sealed move,” he declared. Was it out of humor, or sarcasm, since Sakata san was not there…

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