American Go E-Journal

Go History Lessons on Display at Congress

Friday August 9, 2013

Go’s breadth of history is on display this week in the Vendor’s Room at this year’s U.S. Go Congress. Next to the very latest books about go is an exhibit that features old Japanese go books painstakingly  hand-copied by internee Giichiro Mizuki at the Minidoka Relocation Camp in 1945. On Yutopian’s heavily-laden table are dozens of books about go, just across the room from a hard-cover copy of Arthur Smith’s “The Game of Go,” first published in 1908. Contrast Yutopian’s shiny new go boards with the age-darkened goban and chipped stones that traveled from Japan in the late 1800′s to Austria and then to the United States during World War II and now rests in Chris Kirschner’s living room. Kirschner, who organized this year’s Congress, marvels at the long and improbable link of events and history that connect us with the “kindly Japanese gentleman” who taught Chris’ seafaring great-uncle how to play go in 1898. “I don’t think he had any idea of what he was accomplishing,” Kirschner says. “I know that I have no idea of what I accomplish when I teach someone, and I’m equally certain that you don’t either. But I am absolutely certain that it is good.” The exhibit was organized with the assistance of the Wing Luke Museum and includes material from Brian McDonald’s extensive collection of go books, as well as from Chris Kirschner and Keith Arnold.
- report by Chris Garlock; photos by Phil Straus