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Beyond the Board Variety

How to Read Japanese Go Analysis

From Kidō, October 1984


The format is different this time. The reader is encouraged to examine the page from Kidō shown here and try to figure out what it is all about. Then study the transcription, translation and notes given below. Everything should be clear. However, the vocabulary section has been omitted. For conscientious students, that should not be a problem. It just takes a little more effort. The rōmaji should be a sufficient guide to the meaning of the words. The notes are included with the translation.


Rōmaji: Bangai Baraetei ◊Gosō Haiken ◊Omoide no Kishi ◊Tōzai Nanboku ◊Boisu Reko-da- 361 ◊Shinkan Shōkai ◊Shibu Hōmon ◊Dokusha Saron ◊Moyōshi Annai

This is a gateway synopsis of the articles and news items presented in the section in this part of the magazine.

Translation: Beyond the Board Variety reads the banner headline. But the reader is thrown a curveball here. “Baraetei” is the English word “Variety,” so it should be written in katakana rather than hiragana as it is. Also, the “i” at the end of the word should be lower case so as to indicate a “ty” sound. But this is a flashy way of using an English word that has become popular in Japan. And the titles of the sections that are list in the “table of contents” below the headline are just as provocative.

◊Gosō Haiken means “Go Physiognomy Inspection (or Appreciation)” and will be explained in detail below.

◊Omoide no Kishi = “Remembrances of a Player,” with the implication that the writer has a close association with the player described in the essay presented, and memorable happenings will be related.

◊Tōzai Nanboku is literally “East-West-South-North,” but it means “Everywhere” and this section has news items from all over Japan related to go.

◊Boisu Reko-da- 361 = “Voice Reorder 361” and purports to be a postmortem in the sense of analysis after a game. Several of these articles were translated and published in Go World.

◊Shinkan Shōkai = “New Books Introduction”

◊Shibu Hōmon = “Branch (Club) Visit”

◊Dokusha Saron = “Readers’ Salon,” where letters to the magazine are published.

◊Moyōshi Annai = “Coming Events”

At the bottom of the page is the following:


Rōmaji: Ishida Yoshio ku dan Shōwa nijū-san nen hachi-gatsu jūgo nichi umare (Omine Yūkiko)

Translation: Ishida Yoshio 9 dan, born August 15, 1948 (Omine Yūkiko) Omine is the female writer of the piece.


Gosō Haiken is written inside a magnifying glass. A drawing of a famous player’s face is analyzed in terms of supposed relationships with go.


Rōmaji: Yoko ni hirogaru hitai wa richi no tsuyosa wo arawashi honshitsu wa ippiki ookami nagara, gokai-naigai ni chiki wo eru sō

Translation: The broad forehead indicates intellectual power, and while his essence is that of a lone wolf, there are aspects of making friends inside and out of the go world.

Here, “broad” (yoko) and “forehead” (hitai) are written in katakana to emphasize their importance. (“Wolf” or ookami is also written in katakana for the same reason.) Of course, Ishida is a well-known intellectual, so there is a suspicion of choosing specific facial features to illustrate the writer’s thesis. But that is the fun of the piece.


Rōmaji: He no ji no koi mayu wa dakyō wo kirau ishi-ryoku wo arawasu

Translation: Thick, arching eyebrows show a distaste for compromise rooted in willpower. “He no ji” actually means “the kana he” (which is the same for both hiragana and katakana). Again, “mayu” or eyebrows is written in katakana.


Rōmaji: Me wa hosoku shinkei-shitsu da ga, ippatsu shōbu wo kisu surudosa wo himeru

Translation: The eyes are narrow [indicating] tense nerves, but conceal sharpness that expects to win at a stroke. “Hosoku shinkei-shitsu” actually means “narrow [and] nervous.” The “-ku” suffix is used to make the word both an adjective and a conjunction.


Rōmaji: Shikkari shita hana wa tōryō-un wo shimesu. Ri-da- to naru sō

Translation: The chiseled nose shows his destiny of commanding. The aspect of a leader. “Tōryō” is hard to translate. The feeling is that of a “boss” of some kind of guild. Note that nose (“hana”) is written in kanji as usual, as opposed to the other features, which were written in katakana, while the English word “leader” is transliterated using katakana, again as usual.


Rōmaji: Ha-narabi ga soroi hiroku ninki wo eru sō

Translation: Evenly spaced teeth [indicate] the aspect of earning wide popularity. Here, too, the suffix “-i” used with “soroi” (meaning “in a line”) combines the adjective with the form of a conjunction. The “ki” in “ninki” is very interesting. It is the olden form of the kanji. This is an off-beat use of kanji to give it a “cool” feeling.


Rōmaji: Kinsei no toreta kuchibiru wa chi-jōi no baransu wo shimesu. Sōtai ni kishi denakereba daigaku kyōju ni muku sō

Translation: Symmetrical lips show intellectual and emotional balance. In general, this aspect [indicates] that if not a professional player, then a proclivity to be a college professor.

Lips (kuchibiru) are once again written in katakana, but so is balance. Chi-jōi is a made-up word, but everyone understands what it means. Alone, “chi” means “intellect,” “jō” “emotion” and “i” “Mind,” “heart” or “intention” (among other definitions). In fact, although it is a faux word and a complex one at that, it is easy to translate. It is just not easy to explain it to people who do not have a solid grounding in the Japanese language.

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