American Go E-Journal » Go Photos

GO PHOTO: Chengdu Park, Sichuan Province

Saturday October 29, 2011

Zhiping You sent along this photo, “taken in my hometown, Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province. I didn’t take it personally, I got it from an article about home trip experience. The picture is a random photo in a park. Interestingly, many people in the picture are playing go (WeiQi). This shows how popular this game is in Chengdu. If go had this kind of popularity in the US, it would be great, wouldn’t it?”

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Traveling Board: Ed Lee & Jennie Shen Drop by the Nihon Kiin

Friday October 28, 2011

Ed Lee and Jennie Shen 2P stopped by the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo during a recent visit to Japan. “Yoda Norimoto 9P was playing in the Yuugen no Ma on the 5th floor, Kobayashi Kouichi 9P was on the 7th floor and we also ran into Michael Redmond 9P in the hallway,” Lee reports. “Jennie and I accidentally found quite a few go clubs,” during the two-week group tour October 2 – 16, with Lee’s karate sensei, “related to the 80th anniversary of Waseda University’s karate club.” Click here to see more of Lee’s photos.

Go Photo: One Final Game

Saturday October 22, 2011

Two friends play one final game while awaiting internment, in San Francisco, California, in early 1942. From The Atlantic’s August 21 photo essay “World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans,” part of a weekly retrospective of World War II. Thanks to Steve Colburn for passing this along.

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GO PHOTO: Go In Old Japan

Sunday July 17, 2011

Some fascinating photos of go in old Japan have been posted on Flickr, including two geishas playing go, children learning the game, a Shinto priest and an actor playing, a master teaching two geisha and two samurai playing. The photos were posted by Okinawa Soba, a permanent resident of Japan. “I really can’t stand the captions and descriptions on this guy’s Flickr stream (many are insensitive at best, racist at worst, and a lot of sleazy sexual speculation),” notes Xeni Jardin on boingboing “but the images are rare and fantastic.”

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GO PHOTO: Go Gnomes

Sunday July 17, 2011

E-Journal reader Eric Moakley recently spotted these go playing lawn gnomes in a Rite-Aid in Boulder CO. “Though no one in the store knew the game, I was happy to see go out of a normal context, says Moakley.

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GO SPOTTING: Go: A Novel/George Hoshida’s Go Sketches

Sunday June 5, 2011

Janice Kim’s article about go stones in a Japanese internship camp (GO SPOTTING: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’ 5/9) prompted roving E-Journal contributor Peter Shotwell to send along some excerpts from Holly Uyemoto’s 1995 book Go: A Novel, which focuses on generational differences among Japanese-Americans. The sketches below — which are not part of the novel — are from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website.

I used to not like Uncle Mas very much. He bored me… I always found Uncle Mas drab, a frog on a log. It requires no stretch of the imagination to picture his tongue popping out suddenly,  catching a fly or a raindrop. But one day, my grandmother told me a story about Uncle Mas that changed the way I saw him for good…

Before he became a naturalized citizen, [Ojiichan, another uncle] carried a copy of the Constitution in his wallet and took it with him everywhere he went. He quoted from it freely. After Pearl Harbor… Ojiichan brought out his Constitution and cited the Fourth Amendment rights [but they] took him away, the Constitution neatly folded again and put back in his wallet.

Ojiichan was a great go player [but] deemed a Japanese cultural item, the government barred Ojiichan from taking his old go table with him into camp, so he made one… He learned to shape and polish quartz veined with orange borax, and obsidian black and bright, with edges that cut metal and skin. Uncle Mas was fascinated with the go board. He begged Ojiichan to let him play with it. Ojiichan told him not to go near the board… Later, he brought down the go board and the stones, smooth quartz and biting obsidian, and asked my grandmother, ‘Where is he?’ He then set about teaching Uncle Mas how to play—not the five-in-a-row kind of go that children and Westerners play, but the real thing. Uncle Mas learned quickly. He had an aptitude for strategy: in the end, both too much so, and not enough. Ojiichan’s friends would gather around, joke, give Uncle Mas hints, and make friendly wagers about how many moves it would take Ojiichan to win. The nightly face-off between Ojiichan and Uncle Mas became community entertainment.

Uncle Mas winning was never a question, but one day it happened. About six months after he started playing, he beat Ojiichan. And Ojiichan made him swallow one of his own stones. This was Uncle Mas’s victory, and his punishment. Uncle Mas thought Ojiichan was joking, but he wasn’t. He insisted Uncle Mas swallow the stone. Uncle Mas reasoned that as the winner, he should choose whether or not he had to swallow the stone. Ojiichan said it was his ‘tadai no gisei o haratte eta shyori,’ his conquest, having exceeded his master, and his punishment for the same reason—the Japanese equivalent of Pyrrhic victory.

Uncle Mas swallowed the stone, and he stopped playing go…after his big win, he made himself scarce…The next time my grandmother saw him was when she was called to the infirmary after Uncle Mas had been found in the latrine trying to pass a huge fecal boulder. He was rushed to the hospital and operated on. The doctor said he would be fine. There were no fresh fruits and vegetables to speak of in camp. Most meals consisted of mutton and either rice or potatoes. The camp doctor assured Ojiichan and my grandmother that constipation was entirely normal in camp, but it seemed that there had been an inorganic stoppage of Uncle Mas’s bowels: during his operation, the doctor extracted one perfectly round, flat, knife-edged obsidian stone.

‘Remember that story about Uncle Mas?’ I asked my mother one day. ‘The go stone Ochiijan made him swallow?’ ‘Nobody made anybody swallow anything,’ my mother said.  ‘Then why does Uncle Mas have a bad stomach?’  ‘Because he can’t express himself.’ ‘You mean, talk?’

When he was released from the camp infirmary, Uncle Mas was whole again, except that he stopped talking… A week later, he suddenly slumped over. He was rushed back to the infirmary. There were lots of cuts in Uncle Mas’s large intestine; they had ruptured and were bleeding. The doctor removed four feet of Uncle Mas’s large intestine and sewed him up again. ‘Don’t you remember?’ I prodded my mother. ‘Grandma told me.’ ‘I was a baby then. Besides, sometimes she just liked to tell you stories.’

But Uncle Mas still has terrible troubles with his stomach, and he still refuses to play go. I saw him studying Ochiijan’s fancy table once. Uncle Mas ran his hand over the top, touched the carvings, and, pulling back in order to see, squinted at the inlaid grid. He opened the drawers and studied the stones. He held one of the smooth black onyx in his palm, rolling it back and forth. And then he walked away.
- excerpted from Go: A Novel, by Holly Uyemoto

Sketches from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website. George Hoshida (1907-1985) was born in Japan and at the age of five, his family settled in Hilo, Hawaii. As an active practitioner of Judo, Hoshida was active at the local dojo. This led directly to his arrest by FBI agents on the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a potential saboteur. Unlike most Japanese Americans living in Hawaii, Hoshida was incarcerated for the duration of the war, first at Kilauea Military Camp and Sand Island in Hawaii and later in mainland Justice Department internment camps at Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eventually, he was able to rejoin his wife and young daughters, but only when they agreed to leave Hawaii to be incarcerated with him in a War Relocation Authority camp on the mainland. Hoshida began a visual diary of his incarceration from his earliest days in prison. The two notebooks in the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are an extremely rare visual document of the special Justice Department camps and chart his frequent movement from one facility to the next. (Hoshida bio courtesy the Japanese American National Museum, which supports several Japan relief efforts.)
- editing, layout and graphics research by Chris Garlock

GO VIDEO: Inside Joke?

Monday February 14, 2011

EJ reader Robert Cordingley spotted a go joke in one of the ubiquitous Go Daddy ads that have been airing on TV lately. Check out the First Impressions ad and email us at journal@usgo.org if you spot it.

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Seattle Go Center Keeps Lights On and Doors Open

Monday February 14, 2011

Despite reduced hours and a vacant rental space, the doors are still open – and the lights still on – at the Seattle Go Center. “Tuesday nights continue to be very popular at the Go Center, with over 30 players attending,” reports Center manager Brian Allen. “The Yang Yilun workshop this weekend had 20 participants, with a good mix of old friends and new faces.” Although the Center’s downstairs rental space is still empty, income has matched expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which started last July. “We have had a big increase in donations, matching grants from employers, and lifetime memberships,” says Allen. “And we reduced expenses by limiting our hours, and relying more on volunteers.  Of course, we are working hard to get the downstairs rented out, which would give us additional income. We had one negotiation get as far as a letter of intent, but now that deal seems unlikely.”
photo by Brian Allen

GO SPOTTING: Summer Wars

Monday January 31, 2011

“Nine and a half minutes into the movie Summer Wars there is a character replaying a game of go,” reports Steve Colburn. “The board is seen again at 53 minutes into the movie. Summer Wars is from the director who made ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.’”

GO PHOTO: Sasaski in LA

Monday November 15, 2010

Tadashi Sasaki 8P at one of his events in Los Angeles last weekphoto by Samantha Davis

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