Jowa

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    Keywords: Culture & History, People

http://go.yenching.edu.hk/go_web.files/JOWA.JPG
Honinbo Jowa (本因坊丈和)

Table of contents

Honinbo Jowa (本因坊丈和, a.k.a. Kadono Matsunosuke, Kadono Jowa, or Jowa; 1787-1847) was the 12th head of the Honinbo house. He became Meijin-Godokoro in 1831. He has been noted for his extremely strong playing strength, murky origins, and infamous intrigues.

Rank Progression

1807 - 1d
1815 - 5d
1819 - 6d
1827 - 7d, Honinbo after retirement of Genjo
1828 - 8d, jun-meijin
1831 - Meijin

Jowa's Contemporaries

Yasui Senchi
Inoue Gennan Inseki
Hayashi Gembi
Hattori Inshuku - Gennan's stepfather

Biography

Jowa's origins are notably murky. However, he is believed to have been born in what is now Nagano Prefecture. As was common in the Edo period, he changed his name several times. The traditional view was that he was born Todani Matsunosuke but was also called Kadono Matsunosuke and Kadono Jowa at various points. Further research highlighted by John Fairbairn now suggests much of this is, however, incorrect based upon an article by Osawa Nagahiro in the June 1989 issue of Kido. See information on Jowa in GoGoD and rec.games.go [ext] May 16, 1999 for details. He was described as being of short stature, with bushy eyebrows and full cheeks.

He appears to have been the son of a traveling merchant, but little is known about his early years. Almost no game records exist before about 1807, when he was 20 and about 2-dan. At that point he left Edo to what is now Yamagata-ken and played a 21 game series against Nagasaka Inosuke. Although Nagasaka was officially also a 2-dan, the series started with Jowa taking sen in recognition of Nagasaka's strength. Jowa forced the handicap down to sen-ai-sen.

On returning to Edo, he began to improve rapidly and made 5-dan in 1815.

After the premature death of Okunuki Chisaku in 1812, who had been the prospective heir to the Honinbo House, Jowa's chances for career progression improved. In 1819, he was recognised as Honinbo Genjo's heir and promoted to 6-dan. In the official notification however, it appears that Jowa's age is understated by 8-years and Genjo's by 2. This perhaps reflects that, at 31, Jowa was a little on the old side. He also first played in the castle games in 1819, taking Black and beating Yasui Senchi by 5-points.

Another famous jubango Jowa played was against Awano Yonezo (Shinomiya Yonezo?), a famous go gambler. To Yonezo's surprise, Genjo recommended they play with a two stone handicap (Yonezo as black) and Jowa won 5, lost 4 & 1 jigo.

Controversy

Jowa and Gennan Inseki both had ambitions for the title of Meijin. A period of political struggle took place, with all the interested parties involved in different schemes. Jowa was eventually made meijin without playing a sogo against any of the other senior players. That he didn't have to prove himself over the board was thanks to Hayashi Gembi. Gembi used contacts of his within the Government to help Jowa. In exchange Jowa had agreed to promote Gembi to 8 dan upon becoming meijin.

Jowa never fulfilled this secret promise, angering Gembi. Gennan Inseki and those close to him were also outraged at Jowa's successful scheming. However the title of Meijin Godokoro was effectively a non-playing title. This meant that they had little chance of proving over the board that Jowa was not worthy of the position. Their one chance came in the famous Blood Vomiting Game when Jowa was maneuvered into playing the rapidly improving Akaboshi Intetsu. To have lost to Intetsu, several ranks Jowa's junior, would have had implications upon Jowa's status. The game initially swung Intetsu's way, but Jowa managed to salvage a win. Tragically, whether due to the effort of the game or not, Intetsu died shortly after being beaten by Jowa.

After his contacts had died, Gembi eventually revealed the secret agreement he and Jowa had made and the bakufu officials forced Jowa into retirement in 1839.

Reputation

Jowa was said to have "superhuman strength without equal" (怪力無双). Historically he was accorded the title 'latter sage' to match Dosaku (who was known as the 'former sage'). At some point in the Meiji era this title was transferred to the more wholesome Shusaku. [1]

Jowa's Go Advice

The book Zain Danso contains a passage attributed to Jowa about go improvement. The original Japanese text is as follows:

丈和の囲碁訓戒

三法あり。石立て、分れ、堅めなり。この三つ宜しき時は、其の業大功なり。三つの内、一つを得ば凡ならず。凡そ三十手、或は五十手、百手にして勝負を知るを修行の第一とす。

修行に正邪二つあり。正道に志せば上達し、邪道に志せば下達す。

邪道とは欲心深きを云う。欲心は見えぬ手を見出さんとして、調子長く成って起きる手筋を云う。知らざれば、考えてもなかなか見えぬものなり。故に打つほどに下達す。

正道は欲心深からざるを云う。其の術、早打ちにして、手筋を心掛けるにあり。早き時は欲心出る隙なし。欲心出でざれば、手筋好く、次第に上達す。これ初心第一の心意なり。

また地取り、石取り、敵地へ深入りし、石を逃げる、みな悪し。

それ地取りは隙なり。石取りは無理なり。深入りは欲心なり。石を逃げるは臆病なり。故に地と石とを取らず、深入りせば、石を捨て打つべし。

地を取らざるは堅固、石を取らざるは素直、深入りせざるは無欲なり。石を捨てるは尖(するど)きなり。

とかく我が石を備え堅めるを第一とし、次に敵の透間を打つべし。かくの如くするときは、手筋素直にして上達速やかなり。初心の業、正道に入り易く、上達し易からんことを示すのみ。

A translation of the text, by John Fairbairn, can be found over on L19 [ext] here.

Books

Related Material

English Commentaries

Date Opponent Resource
1807-10-15 Nagasaka Inosuke Go World Iss. 16
1814-09-04 Hattori Rittetsu Go Review Jul. 1970
1814-10-23 Hattori Rittetsu Go World Iss. 100
1820-05-21 Yasui Chitoku Appreciating Famous Games, Go Review Jan. 1968
1821-01-02 Shinomiya Yonezo Go World Iss. 33, Masterpieces of Handicap Go Vol. 2
1821-03-05 Shinomiya Yonezo Masterpieces of Handicap Go Vol. 2
1821-12-11 Inoue Ansetsu Go Review Jun. 1970 & Autumn 1974
1822-04-26 Toyama Sansetsu? Go Review Apr. 1970
1822-12-29 Inoue Insa Inseki Appreciating Famous Games
1823-07-09 Kisohachi? Masterpieces of Handicap Go Vol. 1
1831-10-19 Kato Kosaburo? Masterpieces of Handicap Go Vol. 2
1835-08-13 Akaboshi Intetsu Brilliance: Jowa's 'Ghost Moves' Destroy Intetsu, Go Review Dec. 1967, Invincible: The Games of Shusaku
1845-03-24 Kozu Hakuta? Masterpieces of Handicap Go Vol. 2
1847-03-29 Yasuda Shusaku Invincible: The Games of Shusaku

Notes

[1] As described in the Mindzine article, "Honinbo Jowa - Sage or Scoundrel": [ext] http://web.archive.org/web/20110512210728/http://www.msoworld.com/mindzine/news/orient/go/history/jowa.html.


Paths: <= Historic Meijin =>   ·   <= Honinbo =>
Jowa last edited by 24.91.93.132 on March 8, 2014 - 03:12
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