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The Pleasures of Kidō Magazine

GoWizardry.com presents go material that covers great players and games, associated cultural items and other things published in the pages of Kidō magazine.

The Nihon Ki-in, that is, the Japanese Go Association, was established in 1924 in Tōkyō and launched the publication of Kidō in October of the same year. The aim was to promote and publicize the game of go as exhibited in the extraordinary play of the time. The traditional system that supported go in Japan had continued from its establishment in the beginning of the 17th century and by the 20th century it had come to the point where it was infused with the profound contributions of Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru. They invented the “New Fuseki,” an innovation that revolutionized the game.

Go Seigen and Kitani also fostered the development of the generations that came after them. Go mentored Rin Kaihō, who became almost as great a player as his teacher, while Kitani founded his own dōjō, or school, that counted a galaxy of gifted players among its graduates. Both of them were cognizant of the rich source of talent in China. Go was born in Fujian before he came to Japan in 1928 and was naturalized in 1936. Rin was born in Shanghai and went to Taiwan when he was 4 years old. There he met Go in 1952 and was taken to Japan to train. Many other professional players went to China over the years seeking out other prodigies.

All of this was covered extensively in Kidō over the years. The magazine covered the rich history of go in all of its manifestations. Games from the classical period, starting as long ago as the 16th century were commonly examined, as well as the contemporary scene. Top professional games were analyzed in the same issues that top amateur games were. There were games from tournaments in which the great geniuses in the history of the game were commented upon along side school tournaments, some of which featured youngsters, both boys and girls, in elementary grades. There was something for everyone.

But there were also games given that were played by lesser professional players, and sometimes those games were the most interesting of all.

One featured game this month was played by Sannō Hirotaka. He played a masterful game against the veteran player, Sugiuchi Masao in the early rounds of the 10 Dan tournament. This kind of game was rarely seen in the West. And one of the great attractions of this kind of article was to read the comments of the player himself. GoWizardry.com is devoted to presenting some of these kinds of neglected articles to English speaking go players.

The other game was played by Abe Yoshiteru against Takagi Shōichi. This article displays two of the other charms of these obscure gems: losers of games were just as willing to analyze their games for publication (unlike chess, where that is rare) and highlighting new jōseki moves. Readers could savor the emotions that players felt when venturing into the unknown.


The games come from the issue of Kidō pictured here. (The calligraphy reads, “Tenka Dai-Isshun,” or “The First Appearance of Spring Under Heaven.” When New Years came, all Japanese were eager to anticipate spring, even though bitter winter cold was still outside their door.) This was one of the first Japanese go magazines I ever bought. At that time I had little extra pocket change (note the 95¢ price discounted from 1.50 in the upper left) and could still hardly read Japanese. The memory of going over these games repeatedly over the years is a cherished one for me. GoWizardry.com attempts to convey this personal love of the game, too.

The Board Positions section continues with another article from that issue of Kidō. The reader is treated to a detailed examination of how to attack given by Ōhira Shūzō. The positions analyzed come from a game that he played against Rin Meijin. In those days, when discussing the masters of attacking, experts would say, “First is Ōhira, second is Katō, third and fourth places are empty, fifth is…” So the visitor to GoWizardry.com can imagine with what kind of delight readers of Kidō had in coming upon this kind of article written by the master himself.

Another monthly section in GoWizardry.com offers a comprehensive explanation about how to read Japanese go analysis, this time based on a whole page taken from Kidō. Those who can read Japanese material at this level must be considered as being quite proficient in the language, but everything is explained in detail so that even novices can appreciate many of the nuances. A review of Tokyo for Free by Susan Pompian recommends a different kind of guidebook: one that contradicts the conventional wisdom that Tōkyō is one of the most expensive cities in the world, while explaining in detail all of the great experiences to be enjoyed there without paying a single yen.

GoWizardry.com also tries to give visitors to this website a feeling for the continuity with the past, and “Blast from the Past” shows how supporting professional go players was important to the promotion of go in the United States. In this case, an intimate look at a day in the professional go career of Yang Yilun Sensei is given. Mr. Yang is one of the great teachers of go in America, and I wrote many articles such as this over the years to tell others about him. The monthly Cartoon section gives comic relief that all go players will welcome.

The weekly life and death problems are an invitation to all to study as professionals do. Working on these problems is mandatory for those wishing to become stronger at go.

Please also check out the weekly blog that I write. I explain many things about the current situation in Japan as well as offering my own thoughts regarding go and the promotion of the game.

The Teaching Ideas section this month shows how computer programs can help beginners to learn how to play go. Some have criticized this section as being too difficult for those just learning the game, but please note that it is just intended to show stronger players the kinds of ideas that might be valuable to try to convey to weaker players.

And the covers of Kidō were always worth the retail price of the magazine by themselves. GoWizardry.com is proud to showcase these masterworks and give credit to the artists at the same time as they explain the meaning behind the art.

Go is infinite in its significance, enjoyment and analysis. GoWizardry.com tries to convey this to others.

Robert J. Terry

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