Nihon Ki-in awards ceremony and Mimura-sensei’s present

As I tweeted earlier, last Tuesday I went to see Nihon Ki-in’s annual awards ceremony. The Japanese year starts on April 1, and so the ceremony is fittingly held towards the very end of the year. The ceremony consisted of speeches by important people, giving the Ōkura Kishichiro prize to a few more aged people, giving prizes for professionals due to highest winning ratio/longest winning streak/most games played/etc., and of course announcing the new professional one dan players (who amounted to six people). Here are the new professionals in a photo:

If I understood right, two professionals are chosen every year by pro exams by the Nihon Ki-in. The Kansai branch chooses one new professional, as does the Nagoya branch, and the women’s professional exam determines one more new professional. For now, however, I cannot point out where the sixth professional comes from!

Edit March 30, 18:08: The Nihon Ki-in holds two professional exams a year, one in the summer and one in the autumn. From the summer exam, one person passes the exam, and from the autumn exam, two people pass.

In the end of the ceremony, there was of course a gathering for a group photo. Sorry for the poor picture quality — I still didn’t get a decent camera for myself.

Ichigaya’s spring looks currently something like this, at least once the photo has been edited a bit to better show colours (perhaps a bit too much):

Last Monday, I was dumbfounded when Mimura-sensei contacted me about wanting to give me a present; namely the collected games of Fujisawa Shūkō! Mimura-sensei used to be Fujisawa’s student, and it is for that connection that Kobayashi Chizu-sensei initially introduced us to each other — I’d told Chizu-sensei that I was a big fan of Fujisawa’s. Since then, I’ve come to enjoy the Ichikawa go dojo even more than the week(end)ly insei games, which is a lot said. The game collection consists of 12 books, which is to say that I’ve got a huge amount of studying awaiting me! Mimura-sensei even included in the present a piece of Fujisawa’s calligraphy, which will get framed amongst the first things I do when I get back to Finland. This whole event still seems like a dream come true, except that I hadn’t even dreamed about something this good happening! Here’s a photo set:

Note how the books are bound! There's no glue or anything, but some kind of string is used instead.
This piece of calligraphy reads 磊, which consists of the character 石, stone, included three times. The resulting meaning is not surprisingly "many stones". It's a very rare character, possibly used in expressions like 磊落, open-hearted; 磊々落々, unaffected; and 豪放磊落, broadminded.

Talk about an incredibly nice present! This’ll stay as my most important treasure for the years to come. ありがとうございます、先生!

That’ll be all for tonight — I’ve got some studying to do!


9 thoughts on “Nihon Ki-in awards ceremony and Mimura-sensei’s present”

  1. Your last two posts were very interesting posts. It makes the mind boggle to think how tough the professional selection is in Japan!

    The Shuko books look wonderful. I wish they were translated in a Western language, as there is a real lack of Shuko kifu for us on this side of the globe- there is an interesting Ipad App with selections of this games from the Kisei matches and a couple of his books are in the Hinoki press series, but that is only a small part of this great player’s output.

    Please continue to post your blogs- or maybe turn them into a book, describing the experience of being an Insei?!

  2. Congratulations! Amazing present. By the way, that is called the “japanese bookbinding” and it’s pretty well known in the bookbinding world, even the western one.
    I have one question to ask: do you think someone could be an insei in the NHK without speaking japanese?

    1. Careful there, NHK is an abbreviation more often used of the Japan broadcasting corporation, for which I did an interview recently. :)

      I don’t speak too much Japanese, but it’s definitely a good idea to to learn some, at least really basic language. If I didn’t know any Japanese at all, I wouldn’t understand the teachers’ advice, nor would I be able to check the game’s result with the opponents, etc.. And I don’t see much reason to go live in a foreign country without attempting to learn its language and culture.

  3. To my observations (conducted without any knowledge of Japanese) it seems to be the first placed insei of some time in the previous year seemingly to avoid the dreadful fate of Isumi of Hikaru no Go fame, can this be correct?

    I am surprised you are scheduled for return already, so you are not staying a while longer to take your shot at higher levels of the insei league and the exam at least once?

    1. It seems the Nihon Ki-in picks three professionals by normal pro exams, then the Kansai and Nagoya branches both pick one, and the last comes from the female pro exam.

      As for my return, the circumstances are such that going back for now is the most sound option (for instance, budget-wise I cannot afford staying any longer — and that’s not even the only factor). I’ll see if I get the chance to become insei again next year.

  4. Did you ever get a chance to play any of the new shodans?

    Or do you ever get chances to play A class/B class players?

    o.o I can’t believe I’m so stalker I found the shin shodan girl’s name – Kibe natsuki

    1. I haven’t played any of them. Practically, I get to play against B-classers who drop to C class, Mimura’s son Kenta who’s in B class (we play often at the Ichikawa dojo), and then I’ve played a few former A-classers out of the insei training.

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