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 Post subject: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #1 Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:03 am 
Oza

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I've mentioned here a few times that women's go in Japan has been enjoying a surge of popularity. To some degree that's because a well known J-pop singer and actress, 29-year-old Tojima Hana, is a go fan. She has appointed herself as a Go Ambassadress and in Go World promotes female-friendly go salons (of which there appear to be plenty) under the heading Dream Go Salons.

But the pros are doing their bit. In the not-quite-end-of year figures for 2017, of the top 15 players by the Nihon Ki-in's favoured number-of-wins chart, FOUR are female.

Shibano Toramaru heads the list with a 52-12 record, and current title-match sparring partners Ichiriki Ryo and Iyama are 3rd and 4th respective on 44-19 and 42-12.

But in 5th place is Fujisawa Rina (39-23). In 9th to 11th places are Xie Yimin (34-12), Mukai Chiaki (33-18) and Ueno Asami (30-14). Young Ueno, who came up the insei path with Antti Tormanen, is one of the very few to have beaten DeepZen in the pro training series and is already in her first title match. These female pros have also held their end up well in international events.

And let us not forget, of course, Mrs Sugiuchi Kazuko, still playing at the age of 90 (and her birthday is soon).


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #2 Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:17 am 
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Hm, the previous surge of go popularity in Japan (and arguably Asia), Hikaru no Go, also thanks to woman writer and woman professional consultant.

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #3 Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:28 pm 
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Reminds me of Joanne Missingham now being in showbiz as well as being a go pro.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EofXF_9D1CM

Wonder how she will help boost the popularity of go in Asia.

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #4 Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:12 am 
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Don't forget what seems to be Yoshihara Yukari 6p's (if I am not mistaken?) initiative (however this has been in existence for some time?).

In addition, Ueno Asami 1p 2p, who currently leads against Xie Yimin FK in the female Kisei, challenged for the title on her first shot a year after promotion, so I think this means that currently two people have broken Fujisawa 3p's record for the youngest challenger to a female title*.

tchan001 wrote:
Reminds me of Joanne Missingham now being in showbiz as well as being a go pro.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EofXF_9D1CM

Wonder how she will help boost the popularity of go in Asia.


Yes, apparently, there is also a women's go boom in Taiwan with a focus on, *ahem*, the actual professional games, *ahem* ;).

But I guess it could be argued that in reality, a female go boom can be interpreted simply as a major go boom that could help raise the overall level of the country in a serious way if it is long lasting due to the expansive amount of untapped potential (in both a go and business sense) if this double (or triple if we want to count in Turkey) boom lasts a while (it makes sense as Korea is at the top of the international Go scene with 1/15th of the population of China; apparently, mothers' belief in the ability for a child's mind to be developed through Go may have been significant). However, this will not be the first effect, no—

Japan and Taiwan might (as :)) well rely on the female professional players to win international tournaments in the shorter term just as English football (soccer)* now relies on the Women's team in the short term to win international tournaments!

*I know.


*Correction in light of John Fairbairn's comment; Nyu Eiko 2p and then Ueno Asami 2p after that broke the record for the youngest female Kisei challenger.

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Last edited by Elom on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #5 Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:23 am 
Oza

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Ueno Asami 2-dan has just won her first title, becoming the youngest Women's Kisei at age 16 year's 3 months. She beat holder Xie Yimin 2-0.

For reference, Fujisawa Rina won two titles by that age, her first at age 15 years 9 months.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:19 pm 
Judan

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Were Fujisawa Rina's titles as prestigious though? I know she got the female Honinbo early (is that more prestigious?) but a minor tournament wouldn't be comparable.

Btw, I noticed Ueno is a pupil of Fujisawa Kazunari (Rina's dad but not teacher, Shuko's son), I wonder who he was cheering for! I suppose he can be happy whoever wins.

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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #7 Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:13 am 
Oza

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Quote:
Were Fujisawa Rina's titles as prestigious though? I know she got the female Honinbo early (is that more prestigious?) but a minor tournament wouldn't be comparable.


How you allocate prestige is not only subjective but some parameters, such as prize money and time limits change from year to year. One trap you mustn't fall into, though, is thinking of the Women's Kisei as the female equivalent of the open Kisei.

The current Nihon Ki-in ordering of women's events is 1. Women's Honinbo, 2. Aidu Chuo Hospital Cup, 3. Women's Meijin, 4. Women's Kisei, 5. Senko Cup (the Ibero-Japan Cup seems to have disappeared). But this ordering was different in previous years. If you re-order it in terms of current money, it becomes 1. Senko (8m yen, with an unusually large runner's up prze of 4m), 2. Aidu Chuo (7m), 3. Women's Honinbo (5.5m, but's a fairly recent hike), 4. Kisei (5m), 5. Meijin (3.5m).

In terms of "seriousness" the Aidu Chuo is the only female title with a 2-day final (5 hours each), but only a 1-game match and 2h each elsewhere (1h in the year Rina won), while the Women's Honinbo is a 4-hours-each final with a 5-game match. The bottom of the pile is the Women's Kisei at 30 seconds a move, but it does have a 3-game final. The Meijin is the only women's event with a league (3h each), which some see as more "serious" than a KO, and it too has 3-game final. The Senko has 3h each but only a 1-game final.

All these events are national in the sense of including the Kansai Ki-in, but in terms of media coverage, the Women's Honinbo is streets ahead (followed by the Aidu Chuo) because it is run by a rather large newspaper consortium. In contrast the Senko and Kisei have single non-media companies as sponsors and so rely on the coverage the company's PR people can drum up.

Since Rina's first two titles were the Aidu then the Honinbo, I think it is fair to say her title debut was well ahead of Ueno Asami's (Kisei) by just about every measure, and of course she has added other titles since then, not least the Senko (about $75,000). She has also held her end up well in international events (e.g. beating Ch'oe Cheong and Joanne Missingham) and has given some if the men a =bad-hair day. Ueno, however, is the only woman to have beaten Deep Zen.


Quote:
Btw, I noticed Ueno is a pupil of Fujisawa Kazunari (Rina's dad but not teacher, Shuko's son), I wonder who he was cheering for! I suppose he can be happy whoever wins


Rina's teacher was the Korean amateur Hong Malk-eun Saem, who now has a Kansai Ki-in allegiance as a pro, so her own allegiances look even more mixed up than you suggest. The choice of Hong may have been to do with him settling in Yokohama near to Rina, and his wife, a Japanese amateur, may well have been part of Rina's go circle (there would have been a large age gap, of course, but Rina started studying go at age 6). I don't know, but Kazunari may have been helping Hong get established, and he seems to have had too many pupils to give Rina the attention she needed. Kazunari has about ten pupils now in the pro ranks, the most notable perhaps being Motoki Katsuya who has already challenged for the Honinbo title and is still only 22.


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 Post subject: Re: Japanese women riding the wave
Post #8 Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:23 am 
Judan

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Thanks, I didn't realise the Women's Kisei was so inferior compared to the regular Kisei, nor about the importance of Aidu Chuo. Also I got confused into thinking Ueno played Fujisawa rather than Xie, so Kazunari had an obvious player to root for this time, though I expect we'll see plenty of battles between Ueno and Fujisawa in the future.

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