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 Post subject: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #1 Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:54 pm 
Oza

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The 25 Class A Japanese war-criminal suspects incarcerated in Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, where this game took place in January 1946, naturally had great constraints on what they could do in prison. Yet they were allowed to play go.

Ino Hiroya was the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry and Overseas Affairs from 1941 to 1943, and so was a member of the war-mongering Tojo Cabinet. Although arraigned as a Class A criminal, he was spared the death penalty and was released on parole from life imprisonment in 1955. He went on then to serve as Minister for Justice between 1959 and 1960. He later revealed his experiences of playing go in various prisons. The full story is in the GoGoD Encyclopaedia, but this game is the only one to see the light of day.

Initially a splendid board owned by the Treasury Minister was allowed in the cells, and concern by the American commandant that this was an inappropriate militaristic game were overcome by comparison to chess. Photos of the prisoners playing go were then even used to show that they were being treated humanely. But conditions gradually became stricter. Relay games became the norm as equipment dwindled, and eventually they had to make their own.

The board and pieces used here were made in prison by Ino. The board was of paper and the pieces were also cut from magazines, using the celluloid on visiting card holders as knives were not allowed. They took Ino 17 days to make. There were also little bowls for the pieces, made of thick white paper. A photo of the set in action (a different game with different players) appeared in a book on the Tokyo Trials.

Ino's opponent here, Shoriki Matsutaro, was also charged with Class A crimes. He will be known to many here as the man who invented the Yomiuri ten-game matches and supported Go Seigen (not to mention Japanese pro baseball). Both players were very strong amateurs, Shoriki being ranked a little higher.

Most of the prisoners were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, and were still able to enjoy go more comfortably in prison. The late Segoe Kensaku made sympathy visits to them and gave them teaching games. This worked out rather well for go, as the imprisoned politicians were soon needed to run the country when the allies departed, and so were paroled. It was they who supported professional go as it grew swiftly in the 1950s.



This game has resonance for me for a couple of reasons. The trivial reason is that my own first go board was made from drawing pins and a sheet of hardboard. Before too long I became interested enough to make the sacrifices, as a student, so that I could afford to progress to tiddlywink counters and a bigger sheet of hardboard.

The more serious reason is that I was sacked from my first student job because the supervisor found out I was learning Japanese and her fiance had been killed in a Japanese concentration camp. In later years, as a journalist, I also interviewed several British prisoners who survived these camps. It was a moving experience. Only one of them I met ever showed any inclination to forgive.

I was also moved, though much less so, when visiting recently the Los Angeles museum devoted to the history of Japanese Americans. Some of them also found solace in go in the US internment camps. I didn't have time to pursue this. Perhaps some L19 local member could supply more information on this.


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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #2 Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:59 pm 
Lives with ko

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whoah. These first two posts have been great. The back stories to the games are almost the better part of packaged coffee break. It's making me want to pull out my gogod disc and start reading articles. :mrgreen:
And the games are even cooler with a background provided.
Thank you for sharing!

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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #3 Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:23 am 
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I like this story. The reaction to abuse by the Japanese can be very different, even in one family. My mother-in-law was of the forgiving kind. She was with her mother and sisters in a Japanese camp in Indonesia, her father was killed in another camp.
In the eighties a group of Japanese came to The Netherlands to make excuses for the unjustice. My mother-in-law was one of the few to accept the excuses. One of her sisters was adamantly against this.


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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #4 Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:35 am 
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When I went to work in Japan, at the British Embassy, there was an ex-army (perhaps Indian Army) guy working as Vice-Consul, who had also requested to go to Japan. However, he already spoke Japanese before joining the Foreign Office and he was asked at an interview where he had learned the language. He replied that he learned it on the Burma railroad, as a prisoner of war. Even after those experiences he had requested the job in Japan.

Best wishes.

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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #5 Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:08 am 
Lives with ko

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When I saw the start of this game I thought I was watching a mid-kyu level game from KGS. Just how strong were these players at the time?

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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #6 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:44 am 
Judan

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Incidentally, the Christmas edition of The Economist had a feature on Shoriki. It mentions his time in prison, but not Go.

http://www.economist.com/news/christmas ... ill-japans

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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #7 Posted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:25 pm 
Lives with ko

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John Fairbairn wrote:
The board and pieces used here were made in prison by Ino. The board was of paper and the pieces were also cut from magazines, using the celluloid on visiting card holders as knives were not allowed. They took Ino 17 days to make. There were also little bowls for the pieces, made of thick white paper. A photo of the set in action (a different game with different players) appeared in a book on the Tokyo Trials.


If anyone comes along who either has a copy of the book or just the photograph itself it would be pretty cool to see it here in the thread.


Thanks again for putting this interesting collection of games together. :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: 1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #2 (7 Jan 2013)
Post #8 Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:26 am 
Lives in gote

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happysocks wrote:
If anyone comes along who either has a copy of the book or just the photograph itself it would be pretty cool to see it here in the thread.

Working my way (slowly but surely) through the Coffee Break games, I became interested in this story and searched a bit for the photograph. It can be found in the Life magazine issue of 26 January, 1948, p. 90.


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