Japanese go associations & study groups (sample entry)


During the second world war, the Nihon Ki-in and the Shogi Taiseikai came together to form this organisation - the Patriotic Association for Go and Shogi - in 1941. There were similar organisations in other cultural fields, all generally under the direction of the Japanese intelligence bureau. Their broad aim was to reinforce Japanese traditional views and thus the war effort. The meaning of hôkoku is "serving the nation." All these organisations were disbanded after Japan's defeat in 1945.

This association, founded on 4 October 1941 at the Sugar Industry HQ in Marunouchi, Tokyo, had a more specific purpose of boosting economic output. As such it was a wing of the Dainippon Sangyo Hokoku-kai (an umbrella industrial organisation for patriotic ways of serving the war effort) and was under the chairmanship of Shimomura Kainan, a journalist and member of the House of Peers.

The association published "Precepts for the Way Go and Shogi" and a Mission Statement. The precepts were as follows:

The mission statement ran as follows:

Go and shogi can waste time and be too engrossing. They have even been criticised in a proverb as leading to "Not even being in time to see a dying parent" though it is rare for things to go to that extent in popular pastimes nowadays. Several million people love shogi and several million people enjoy go. There is no need for a mathematical investigation, but the total amount of time thus consumed is probably beyond our imagination. However, this time is being used aimlessly. If we can change this time, by guidance in proper appreciation, into time spent on mental scientific training such as productive thinking, logical inference and creativity, it must be said that this will be a major area, one that cannot be ignored, for improving our national culture.

This is why the Patriotic Association for Japanese Industry will try to give positive guidance in go and shogi and to support them as intellectual sports and thereby bring the pure spirit of the arts of go and shogi to the workplace.

In order to achieve this objective, the Patriotic Association for Japanese Industry has formed the Patriotic Association for Go and Shogi in collaboration with the Nihon Ki-in for go and the Shogi Taiseikai for shogi. Through the channels of these organisations it will send professional players to workplaces to provide guidance on the spot. The Patriotic Association for Go and Shogi therefore expects that, by sowing a new spirit for the arts of go and shogi in workplaces, it can progressively engineer a revolution in the way that the populace at large views go and shogi and so amply demonstrate the role that they can play in improving popular culture.

What this meant in practice was lectures on go and shogi in the regions for workers in factories directly related to war materials. To set the right example, 30 pros from the Nihon Ki-in and 10 from the Shogi Taiseikai began in 1942 by closeting themselves in the Yoseikan in Arisugawa Park. There they subjected themselves to a regime of rising at 5 am, and listening to lectures on the Japanese spirit, developements in the war, patriotic service in industry and so on. This was interspersed with ascetic practices such as zen meditation and Shinto purification ceremonies.