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, 269 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.”
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 by 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.
The 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.”
Spotted go somewhere? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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 board) 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
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 Fargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.
“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.
Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.
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 scene 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.”
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 Atkins. “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.
Saturday July 25, 2015
EJ photographer Phil Straus spotted this unusual go board recently at an airport Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Friday July 24, 2015
Patterson’s NYPD Red 2: In James Patterson’s “NYPD Red 2,” one of the NYPD’s detectives is searching for witnesses to an abduction near a park in a Chinese community, reports AGA Life Member David Kent. “The detective, a Caucasian, approaches a go game being played in the park, and challenges the local champion to a game, betting $100. After a hard-fought hour the detective intentionally makes a mistake, throwing the game, which only the champion, an old man, recognizes,” says Kent. “This soon pays off with the old man coming to the aid of the detectives, leading to a witness. The detective plans to give the old man a kaya board from a 700 year old tree instead of the hand-made plywood board he has been using.”
Thursday July 23, 2015
Go in John Green’s Crash Course World History: “Hey, I was watching John Green’s Crash Course World History 2 series and spotted both a depiction of and mention of go,” writes Evan Hale of the Columbus Tesuji Go Club. “In the episode, Green covers the Heian Period of Japan and mentions go when talking about how the elite, upper class spent their leisure time. The mention is a little bit after 7:00 in the video.”
China’s News Silk Road Strategy & Go: In Weiqi Versus Chess (Huffington Post 4/3/2015), David Gosset says that “China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.” Thanks to reader Ted Joe for passing this along.
Friday July 10, 2015
David Gosset, Director of the Academia Sinica Europaea, published an in-depth look at go in The World Post, on April 3rd. “For centuries, literati have been fascinated by the contrast between the extreme simplicity of the rules and the almost infinite combinations allowed by their execution,” writes Gosset. To read the full article, click here. -Thanks to Teddy Joe for the link.