American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: “When the Emperor was Divine”

Thursday February 25, 2016

“I’m reading ‘When the Emperor was Divine’ by Julie Otsuka, a small book about the forced Japanese internment during the second World War,”2016.02.20_emperor-divine writes None Redmond. “At the beginning of the second chapter as the family of three arrive at the desert camp, the boy thinks he sees his father everywhere in a variety of camp activities as well as ‘Playing go with the other men in their floppy straw hats …’ I was reminded of Tom Tamura who I remember telling Peter that he had learned to play go when he was a child in the desert camp. Interesting that as a child Tom had no feeling of the camp’s restriction nor when he was an adult any resentment over his imprisonment. Peter told me that Tom said he had enjoyed being with the other youngsters there, playing football as well as learning to play a little go. It was when we lived in Santa Barbara that Peter and Tom became quite close over the go board.”

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Your Move/Readers Write: “The Warlords”

Saturday February 20, 2016

“In the movie ‘The Warlords,” there are two men playing go and a third discussing it starting at 56:19,” writes Austin Harvey. warlords movie poster jet li
For more on this, see our May 23, 2010 post.

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Your Move/Readers Write: “Tokyo Newcomer” Games Realistic, Redmond Says

Saturday November 28, 2015

“I just found ‘Tokyo Newcomer‘ on the net,” writes Michael Redmond 9P, “but I see that you covered it in the ‘Go Spotting’ column in 2014. The 2015.11.28_newcomer-screenshotgames in the movie were realistic, and there is a scene about 36 minutes into it that shows pros playing in what looks like elimination rounds for a hayago tournament. In this scene the main character is playing against Matsumoto Takehisa 7P. Takemiya Yoko 5P poses as a TV analyst for a game later.”  

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Go Spotting: “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” & “Temptation of a Monk”

Friday November 27, 2015

Mark Sachon reports that in Richard Flanagan’s novel “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” “References to playing go are found on pages 264,2015.11.27_Narrow-Road 2015.11.27_Temptation-of-a-monk269 and 295 in the hardback edition. “Moving deftly from a Japanese POW camp to present-day Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo Evans and his fellow prisoners to that of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.” (Amazon).

Sachon also found go in the 1993 movie “Temptation of a Monk,” (You Seng), noting that “two rivals play weiqi in the first few minutes of the film.” Set in 7th century China, the film, directed by Clara Law, stars Joan Chen as a beautiful princess and destructive temptress who wreaks havoc in a young general’s life, telling “the epic story of a disgraced man’s journey into self-discovery.”

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Go Spotting: Vagabond Manga; The Uncommon Series

Monday November 9, 2015

Vagabond Manga: “A favorite coffee barista of mine suggested I read the manga Vagabond, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by2015.11.09_Vagabond21 Takehiko Inoue,” writes Devin Fraze. “It portrays a fictionalized account of the life of Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi. In Volume 6, go is being played by the hero’s love interest. Unfortunately more of the game play is not shown as her opponent “accidentally” knocks over the board.

2015.11.09_vagabond-seriesThe Uncommon Series: One of the protagonists in The Uncommon Series is an avid go player. “The thriller trilogy follows a pair of entrepreneurs that drop out of college to found a new tech startup and get caught up in an international conspiracy along the way,” author Eliot Peper tells the E-Journal. “James Chen is the protagonist who’s a go enthusiast. He’s Chief Technology Officer of the startup in the book and the brains behind the whole operation. He develops a complex algorithm that identifies fraud in large financial datasets, allow law enforcement to take down money laundering rings, etc. He loves go because it’s all about pattern recognition and is the perfect analog for the breakthrough software he’s developing. He even uses online go players to train the software’s artificial intelligence routines. As the startup in the book skyrockets from garage to IPO, they have to use his technology and their own wits to take down a major cartel that’s in bed with the big banks and government regulators.”2015.11.09_vagabond-series
Spotted go somewhere? Let us know by emailing us at journal@usgo.org!

 

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Go Spotting: “When the Last Sword is Drawn”

Wednesday October 14, 2015

In this rather sad elegiac 2002 film — directed by Yojiro Takita — about the end of the Samurai age, at 46:03 minutes we see a goban (floor 2015.09.13_When the Last Sword is Drawnboard) with two bowls of stones on top of the board, in the background of the scene. At 48:51 we see the local lord playing go on a floor board.
- Duncan Brown

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Go Spotting: “The Broken Seal” and the Mystery of Yamamoto’s Missing Go

Thursday September 17, 2015

“Quite unexpectedly I found an interesting reference to go in a non-fiction book that I am currently reading, ‘The Broken Seal,’ by Ladislas 2015.09.13_TheBrokenSealFargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.

2015.09.13_Isoroku Yamamoto“This book, first published in 1967, deals with the hidden war between American and Japanese code breakers from WW1 to Pearl Harbour. In discussing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (left), the “brain” behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Fargo mentions that Yamamoto was considered one of the strongest go players in the Japanese Navy (he enjoyed other games too, like Shōgi, Bridge and Poker).

For me it was not too surprising that Yamamoto played go, as many members of the Japanese Navy were fond of it (see e.g. Ukiyo-e below right), but I did not know that he was such a strong player. However, when I checked the curriculum vitae of Admiral Yamamoto in Wikipedia I got another surprise. While go is listed on the German Wiki among other games that Yamamoto enjoyed, in his English Wiki entry go is not mentioned at all. This is quite a contrast to the fact that he was an expert go player.2015.09.13_JapaneseNavyGoPlayers

Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.

 

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Go Spotting: “Fist of Legend”; Podcast Picks Kageyama’s “Fundamentals”; “Ten Nights of Dreams”

Sunday August 23, 2015

“Fist of Legend”: “Just noticed a go board being used for gomoku in the 1994 Jet Li film ‘Fist of Legend,’” writes an E-Journal reader. ” The 2015.08.22_Fist-of-Legend-movie-posterscene is about 1 hour 16 minutes into the film.”

Podcast Picks Kageyama’s “Fundamentals”: “At the end of the ‘Keeping Libraries and Utilities Small and Simple‘ podcast, Michel Martens picks “Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go,” writes John Hager. “Lessons” is Toshiro Kageyama’s classic book for anyone just picking up the game.

“Ten Nights of Dreams”: In the 2006 movie “Ten Nights of Dreams,” based on the short story collection by Natsume Soseki, the ninth dream has several scenes with go stones, reports David Matson. “No bowls, goban or mention of the game, but it is an enjoyable experience.  If Kurosawa and Fellini had ten children together, then something like this would be the result.”

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Go Spotting: Jeffery Deaver’s “Trouble in Mind”

Tuesday August 11, 2015

Jeffery Deaver’s 2014 book of short crime stories “Trouble in Mind” has a story “The Competitors” set at the Beijing Olympics, reports Tony 2015.08.01_troubleinmindAtkins. “In it, the Chinese head of security out-thinks terrorists as he is a go player,” says Atkins, who’s Vice-President of the British Go Association. “He explains to the US and Russian officers ‘It’s our version of Chess. Only better, of course.’”  The head of security “I look forward when I play the game. You must always look forward to beat your opponent at go. You must see beyond the board.”

Atkins has added this book to the exhaustive round-up of “Novels and Other Books Featuring Go” on the BGA website.

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Go Spotting: A different kind of go board

Saturday July 25, 2015

EJ photographer Phil Straus spotted this unusual go board recently at an airport Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah.  2015.07.21_Straus-go-board

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