Honinbo Shusaku's 185th birthday: Google Doodle marks professional Go player's anniversary

 

Google has celebrated the 185th birthday of nineteenth century Go player Honinbo Shusaku - widely considered to be the greatest player of the board game during its golden age.

Go is thought to have been invented between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago in China, and was mentioned in the Analects by the philosopher Confucious. The game arrived in Japan via Korea, where it was adopted as a popular pastime by the Japanese Imperial family around 1,500 years ago.

Similarly to chess, while the rules of Go are simple, it is made difficult by the complex strategy opponents must use to outwit each other.

Shusaku was born Kuwahara Torajiro on 6 June 1829, in the village of Innoshima, near the town of Onomichi, Hiroshima.

By the age of six, he had gained a reputation as a Go prodigy in his home town. Having outgrown the players in Onomichi aged eight, he moved to Edo, modern day Tokyo, to study at the legendary Honinbo Go house, having received a patronage from a local Lord. Two years later he received his first diploma, or ‘dan’.

 

Other than brief visits to Onomichi, Shusaku remained at the academy. He was given the name he is now known by in 1841, when he was promoted to 2-dan.

During his travels from Onomichi to Edo in 1846, he encountered Gennan Inseki, a 50-year-old 8-dan player. The incident spawned the famous ‘ear reddening move’, so called because Inseki’s ears flushed red when he lost to his junior, Shusaku.

Shusaku went on to become the second person to receive the title of Gosei or “Go Saint”, the first being his predecessor Honinbo Dosaku, and also gave his name to a strategic move known as the Shusaku fuseki.

He is best known for winning nineteen castle games in a row, which were tournaments fought in the presence of the shogun. His score remains unbeaten, with modern players calculating their ‘Shusaku score’ to compare how close they are to reaching his level of expertise. The score is calculated in terms of beaten opponents.

Shusaku died aged 33 in 1862, after he caught cholera while tending to sick members of the academy.

He was buried in his home town.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Infrastructure Engineer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Engineer

    £21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Liverpool - up to £28,000

    £22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This is a large multi-site operation...

    Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

    £50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss