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Move Order is Important

How to Read Japanese Go Analysis

From Kidō, March 1967


This is a typical complete one page section from Kidō. If one can read this page without help, one’s Japanese would be practically equivalent to the average Japanese citizen.

Every month, Kidō would offer analysis of positions to help readers improve. The commentator here is Shinohara Masami 8 dan, who was one of the Grand Old Men of the organization. This article is interesting because one can get a sense of how these articles were written many years ago, but have really changed very little over the years.

As always, the notes will explain in detail both the vocabulary and grammar, so that one can get a good grasp of the subject even without having studied Japanese previously. First, the vocabulary of the page above is given, then the rōmaji reading of the text, then grammatical notes, and finally the translation.

For reference sake, all of the moves of the game are given at the end of this section.


手順 Tejun Order of moves
大切 Taisetsu Important
八段 Hachi dan 8 dan
篠原正美 Shinohara Masami
原図 Genzu Basic Diagram
Shiro White
手番 Teban Move to play
左方 Sahō Left direction
Kuro Black
アマチュア Amachua Amateur
San Three
Yon Four
Dan Dan
同士 Dōshi Both players
対局 Taikyoku Game [played between players]
取材 Shuzai Material [for an article]
はたして Hatashite In the end… [The upshot…]
右方 Uhō Right direction
鉄壁 Teppeki Iron [i.e., Impregnable] wall
容易に Yōi ni Easily
取れる Toreru Can be taken
Zu Diagram
うまい Umai Nice [Skillful]
アテ込み Ate-komi Wedging in between
場合 Baai Case [situation]
手筋 Tesuji Skillful finesse
うっかり Ukkari Careless
対して Taishite Opposed to
単に Tan ni Simply
出て Dete Moving out and…
打つ Utsu To Play [a move]
強手 Kyōshu Strong move
当然 Tōzen Natural
切って Kitte Cut and…
第一 Dai ichi First
着手 Chakushu Move
関連 Kanren Related
ノビ出して Nobi-dashite Extend out and…
この時 Kono toki [At] This time
Moku Point(s)
犠牲 Gisei Sacrifice
最善策 Saizensaku Best plan (strategy)
ツイで Tsuide Connect and…
サシ込まれて Sashi-komarete Have inserted into and…
攻め合い Semeai Race to capture
勝てません Katemasen Cannot win
悪い Warui Bad
キリ Kiri Cut
先に Saki First
ツキアタられて Tsuki-atararete Be butted against and…
取られてしまいます Torarete shimaimasu End up being captured
俗手 Zokushu Crude move
カケて Kakete Fence in and…
簡単に Kantan ni Simply [do something]
Ku Pain; agony
打ち方 Uchi-kata Way of playing
おとなしく Otonashiku Mild
連絡 Renraku Connect
妨げる Samatageru Interfere with
つまり Tsumari In other words; In short
さえぎって Saegitte Block off
両アタリ Ryō-atari Double atari
一目瞭然 Ichimoku-Ryōzen Obvious at first glance
強引な Gōin na Stubborn; high-handed
Te Move
常に Tsune ni Ordinarily
いけない Ikenai No good
Suji Line of play; technique
思われます Omowareru May be thought of as…
遠く Tōku [From] Far away
狙う Nerau Aim at
高級 Kōkyū High kyū [level]
考え Kangae Thought
以下 Ika Following
易やす Yasu-yasu Easily


Tejun ga taisetsu

Hachi dan Shinohara Masami

Genzu Shiro no Teban de Sahō no Kuro ha?

Amachua san/yon dan dōshi no taikyoku kara shuzai shita mono desu ga, hatashite dō narimasu ka?

Sahō ni wa Kuro no teppeki ga ari, Shiro mo yōi ni toreru to iu mono de wa nai deshō ga…..

Shiro ichi no ate-komi ga kon baai no tesuji. Kuro mo ukkari dekimasen.

Nizu (Kō)

Shiro no ate-komi ni taishite, Kuro ichi to tan ni dete utsu no ga kyōshu desu.

Tōzen Shiro wa ni to kitte uchimasu ga, kore ga dai ichi chakushu ni kanren no aru mono de, Kuro san ni wa, Shiro 4 to nobi-dashite imasu. Kono toki, Kuro wa san moku wo gisei ni shite, go kara nana made to uchi, Shiro hachi ni wa, Kuro kyū made to kō ni suru no ga saizensaku deshita.

Shiro hachi de wa kyū ni tsuide itai no desu ga, sore de wa, Kuro kara hachi ni sashi-komarete semeai ni katemasen.

Sanzu (Tejun ga Warui)

Kuro ichi no kiri wo saki ni utte, Shiro ni no toki, Kuro san to deru no wa tejun ga waruku, Shiro yon to tsuki-atararete wa, Kuro wa torarete shimaimasu.

Yonzu (Zokushu)

Shiro ichi to kakete sahō no Kuro ga kantan ni torareru yō de wa, nano ku mo arimasen. Shikashi, kono yō na uchi-kata wa zokushu to iu mono desu.

Kuro ni to derarete, Shiro san ni wa, otonashiku Kuro yon ni tsuide imasu. Kore de kono Kuro no renraku wo samatageru koto ga dekinai no desu.

Tsumari, Shiro a ni saegitte kureba Kuro b to kitte ryō-atari ni naru koto wa ichimoku-ryōzen desu.

Shiro ichi no yō na gōin na te wa, tsune ni ikenai to shita mono desu.

Gozu (Suji ni wa Omowaremasu ga)

Shiro ichi to tsukete tōku kara nerau no wa kōkyū na kangae desu ga, Kuro ni to dete, ika roku made to yasu-yasu to renraku shite shimaimasu.


The writing here is polite Japanese. There is no slang used and all of the sentences end in “desu” or polite “masu” verb forms, etc. Notice in the fourth sentence from the end that “koto ga dekinai” is not left at that, or even rendered as “koto ga dekimasen,” but “no desu” is added: “koto ga dekinai no desu.” This is old fashioned, polite Japanese.

Another strikingly old-fashioned usage is易やす(yasu-yasu) in the last sentence. Today that would be written as 易々. Again, one gets the feeling of reading old-fashioned Japanese. (When I just typed that word using my Japanese word processor, I just tapped out the keys y-a-s-u-y-a-s-u and they were automatically converted to易々.)

There are complex verb forms throughout the article, but they have been covered in many other of these lessons, so they do not need to be focused on here. The reader should just be aware that they are used in a natural way. There is nothing particularly complicated about this writing.

However, note the frequent use of katakana for go terms. Since they are “technical” words, it is understandable that they are rendered in katakana, but depending on the writer, that is done to a greater or lesser extent. Today the tendency is to use katakana much less than in the past.

One word should be given special attention here, though: umai. If one just asks a Japanese speaker what “umai” means, the answer would be “delicious.” And, in fact, the word is most often used in the context of food. But it also means “skillful,” as well as “good,” “satisfactory” or “promising.” Most of the time when the word is used in texts about go, it means skillful. But it also is endowed with the depth of the association with those other meanings.


Move Order is Important

By Shinohara Masami 8 dan

Basic Diagram: With White to Move, What is the Status of the Black Group to the Left?

The subject material here is taken from a game between two amateur 3 and 4 dan players. How does this turn out?

On the right, Black has an impregnable wall, so it should be easy to capture White, but…

Diagram 1 (A Skillful Wedging-In Move)

The wedging-in move of White 1 is tesuji in this particular case. Black must take care in responding as well.

Diagram 2 (Kō)

In answer to White’s wedging-in move, Black 1 is a strong move, simply playing to move out.

White plays naturally, cutting with 2, and this is related to White’s first move. When Black plays 3, White extends out with 4. At this time, Black sacrifices three stones in order to play 5 and 7, so that after White 8 and Black 9, a kō results, and this is the best plan here.

Instead of playing at 8, White would like to connect at 9, but then Black thrusts in at 8, and White cannot win the race to capture.

Diagram 3 (A Bad Order of Moves)

If Black first plays the cut of 1, White replies at 2, and then after pushing through with Black 3 it becomes obvious that the order of moves was bad; incurring White’s butting against Black’s wall with 4 means that Black’s stones end up being captured.

Diagram 4 (A Crude Move)

The fencing-in move of White 1 is played with the idea that Black’s group on the left can be easily captured, but there is nothing painful for Black in it. On the other hand, this may be characterized as a crude way of playing.

Black pushes through at 2, and Black compliantly connects at 4. At this point, Black cannot be prevented from connecting this group to the right.

In other words, it is obvious that if White tries to block Black with a move at “a,” White “b” is a double atari.

Stubborn moves like White 1 always fails.

Diagram 5 (May be Thought of as Good Technique, But…)

The attachment of White 1 aims at Black’s stones from afar and is a high level way of thinking, but Black pushes through at 2 and ends up connecting easily with the moves through 6.

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