Le Goban de Honinbô Sansa. 

Chris Garlock (9 Décembre 2002)

Depuis le 17 Juin 2002, je suis abonné à la lettre électronique de l'Association de Go Américaine (AGA) qui innove ainsi en matière de revue.

Dans celle du 9 Décembre 2002,  Chris Garlock nous fait le récit de sa visite du Jakkôji à Kyôto, temple des Honinbô.

A noter que les joueurs japonais peuvent trouver cette lettre traduite en japonais, de façon semble-t-il automatique sur le site de igosoft

http://www.igosoft.co.jp/category/hiroba.asp : 碁ジャーナル(米国).

J'en ai extrait une version Japonaise à titre d'exemple. La traduction comporte de gros contresens sur "Board" et sur tous les noms propres qui ne sont pas reconnus mais c'est intéressant !!

From AGA Electronic letter : December 9, 2002


NOTE: In this special series, E-Journal editor Chris Garlock reports on his go experiences, adventures and observations during a recent trip to Japan.

Comments and suggestions -- especially from readers who live or travel in Japan - are most welcome.

There are more than 2,000 temples and shrines in Kyoto, many of them bigger and more beautiful than Jyakkoji. But if you want to go back to where it all began for go in Japan, Jyakkoji is the place.

Vigorous hammering shattered the peace of a quiet autumn afternoon and the smell of freshly-cut cedar filled the crisp air. The Jyakkoji temple is in the midst of a major renovation and craftsmen were hard at work when we arrived on a late November afternoon. Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, the Jyakkoji temple is all that's left of a major complex of temples that existed five hundred years ago, when Nikkai, a Buddhist priest, lived in a pavilion named "Honinbo" on the temple grounds. The strongest go player of his day and the founder of the Honinbo school of go players (one of the four major schools that began in the early 1600s and dominated the go world for centuries), Nikkai is better known as 1st Honinbo Sansa (1559-1623).

Jyosin Okawa, Jyakkoji's chief priest, welcomes us into a room just off the temple's main hall, where the workers continue their hammering and sawing.

In a glass case on one wall is an astounding artifact, the go board used by Sansa himself, a board made from dark mulberry, no more than half an inch thick, slightly warped upwards at each edge. Ceramic stones, chipped and stained by time and use, fill ceramic bowls, as if waiting for the master's imminent return.

This is probably the very board on which Sansa taught the great warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534-82), who first began unifying Japan after centuries of civil strife. Nobunaga was so impressed by Sansa's go skill (the warlord took five stones from Sansa) that he called him "mejin" or master player, which is said to be the origin of the term's use in go. It's just an old piece of wood but it's one that's survived centuries of upheaval and, more than simply a tangible connection to a game that stretches back thousands of years virtually unchanged, it's a small reminder of our impermanence.


Nearby is a larger goban that was used by Dosaku (1645-1702), one of just two players in Japanese go history accorded the title of Kisei or Go Saint.

The board is important because its dimensions established the standard for gobans. The temple has no less than fifty go boards from the Edo period (1603-1868) but they were not on display when I visited because of the renovation. 

Both priests at Jakkoji are go players and when the renovations are finished next year, the main hall will once again function as a go club. There's also a special room where Sansa studied and played which is now used for playing major professional titles.

Outside, dusk is falling over Sansa's tomb. Smaller tombs to the left and right mark the final resting place for the first four generations of Honinbos, including greats like Inseki, Doetsu, Dochi, Dosaku and Doseki.

Three evening stars flicker in the twilight, reminding me of Sansa's famous "triple ko" game in 1582. Played against his rival Kashio Rigen in the presence of the warlord Nobunaga, a triple ko supposedly arose and the game was suspended without a result. The next night, Nobunaga's ally Akechi Mitsuhide rebelled, surrounded the temple and killed Nobunaga. After this, a triple ko was considered bad luck. It is my good fortune to have had John Power's invaluable essay "Go Players in the Edo Era"  to guide and inform my quest for go history in Japan. Along with just about everything else a go player needs to know, this essay appears in the endlessly fascinating "The Go Player's Almanac 2001".

 Dernière mise à jour 29/11/2012

    Retour Go