IGS PANDANET is suporting The Nihon-Ki-in professional player Yuki Shigeno who is trying to increase Go population in abroad.
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My visit to the Go spots in Japan.
Every June, I go back to Japan for the World Amateur Championship.
This is the time for me to refresh myself both mentally and physically through meeting players from all over the world to exchange information, meeting dear friends and Go friends, reporting Go activities overseas, and also eating lovely Japanese food.
But as you all know, the tournament was postponed because of SARS this year.
I was very disappointed because I was ready to go. But I regained my mood, I thought it would be good to visit Go spots and study while I'm in Japan and I decided to depart Milan with my husband.
At the moment, children's Go is enjoying a boom in Japan. At the Go clubs, you will see children and students playing. And also, children's Go clubs are very popular.
Nobody ever imagined this situation a few years ago. It is like a dream.
Lately, Go attracts people not only as a game but also as a tool for communication.
Go is so called `shudan' (hand talk) and Go has been known as a way of communication from long time ago. That kind of attraction would promote Go socially.
This time, I participated in various Go activities all over Japan. I will introduce some.
The basic rule, `surround and get', is used and complicated strategies like `ji' and `kou' are not explained till they get used to the game. This is the trick they use to play in this activity. Of course, there will be many children who get stronger when they get into it but the important thing is to enjoy with everyone. As a result, playing Go together at the same eye level will give miraculous power to those who are mentally and or physically handicapped, from kindergarten children to elderly people.
I went to the Kanto area, Hiroshima, Kyusyu area, Tohoku area, Nagoya, Osaka, etc. with some participants who are interested in this activity from Germany, France, Israel, and Italy (my husband).
At one of the welfare facilities, a Go tournament was held with kindergarten children, families and teachers. Even though, the disabled people from the welfare center were defeated by little children, they seemed happy and their smiling faces were wonderful. At this facility, they started learning Go, 7 or 8 years ago. According to the level of their handicap, their understanding of Go varies but everyone looks forward to the Go time. Also, they make and sell Go goods. Everything is hand made, like stone cases which are dyed by themselves, pottery stones and so on. Everything is full of warmth.
At one of the high schools in Chiba prefecture, there is a new experiment where they use Go to study welfare. At first glance, welfare and Go do not seem related to each other but there is one thing in common which is `the link from one heart to another'.
There is a group of researchers who started studying about this Go activity which might be effective for the treatment of autistic children. Usually, those children have difficulty dealing with people but I heard that Go might have a good effect by allowing them to communicate naturally through playing Go. It would take a long time to see the result but it would be delightful if Go helps that way.
Also, by enjoying together, Go would help elderly people escape from loneliness just by playing. Go would be good for the rehabilitation of disabled people. For parents and their children or teachers and students who suffer from a lack of communication, by facing each other in front of a Go board, they will start communicating naturally and deepen their mutual understanding.
Since Go is used for welfare, education and psychological treatment, it has started to gain a lot of attention from new fields, not like the image of Go from the past, and many amazing results are born.
It would be interesting to see the new world of Go in the future.
What do you think?
Q&A of Yuki Shigeno 2 dan go
2003.7 july
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