American Go E-Journal


Wednesday August 4, 2010

Born into the famous Matsuoka go family, the pressure on Shigeko Hane 1P (r) to succeed as a professional from an early age – she learned when she was 6 years old – was intense. “Winning was the #1 priority,” Hane told the E-Journal in an interview Sunday afternoon in the E-Journal office at the U.S. Go Congress. Now, as the wife of former Kisei, Honinbo and Tengen title holder Naoki Hane 9P and mother of four — Ranka 1k, Rinka 4k, Ayaka 1k and 3-year-old Kazuya, of whom great things are also expected – she says she just wants “to enjoy the game.” As a go teacher at an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, she says she emphasizes the “positive aspects” of their play to encourage them. “Mental toughness is very important to getting stronger,” she says, “all the top professionals absolutely hated to lose as kids. Many of them are famous for breaking down in tears after losses as young players.” While a person’s true temperament can be difficult to determine in real life “it comes out right away in go,” Hane says, “go reveals your real character immediately. Husband Naoki Hane 9P, for example, is calm and steady, like his father Yasumasa Hane 9P – who she accompanied to the Go Congress – and when he came home after winning the Honinbo in 2008 and 2009, “he was the same as always, not jumping up and down, eating the same meals.” And when he lost the title this year, “he was just the same. So I think he really enjoys go for what it is, instead of worrying about winning and losing.” Hane says she’s been “really impressed with how many players at the Congress are recording their games; in Japan very few people do this.” She was also startled that the roomful of hundreds of players at the U.S. Open was “so quiet I could hear the whirr of my video recorder; in Japan tournaments are much noisier.” One way she judges how effective lectures are is by the audience participation, and she noted that at the Congress, “everyone’s really engaged. You must be doing everything right.”
– report by Chris Garlock: photos: Shigeko Hane 1P watching her daughter Ayaka play in the U.S. Open (upper right, by Garlock); Yasumasa Hane 9P, Shigeko Hane 1P, translator Yoshi Sawada (l) and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (r) (left, by Todd Heidenreich)