Basic Japanese for reading go books

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黒 先 白 死

To read and enjoy Japanese go books, you only need to learn a very small number of kanji. Of course, that number won't let you understand every word of a discussion book. But many books of tsumego and tesuji problems use a convenient format of headers and titles that use a limited set of kanji.
First, you want to know whether the problem is Black to play or White to play. So the first kanji to learn are these two colours.

Black 黒

White 白

There are two common patterns for indicating who is to play.

Turn 番

First 先

That's enough to get started!

Sometimes the desired result is given in the problem. Or the result may be mentioned in the answer. Typical results are living, killing, and making a ko. There are also two different kanji used for life. Also ko is usually written in katakana, but the kanji can be found in older books.

Death 死

Alive 生 き

Life 活

Ko コ ウ or 劫

So here are some typical combinations

Black to play 黒 番

Black to play and live 黒 先 生 き

Black to play and kill White 黒 先 白 死

White to play and live 白 先 生 き

White to play and kill Black 白 先 黒 死

Next, it helps to know which answer diagram is correct. They are usually labeled:

Correct 正 解

Failure 失 敗


So here are the most important terms.

黒, 白, 番, 先,

死, 生 き, 活, コ ウ, 劫,

正 解, 失 敗.


Links to pages showing the kanji with nice fonts and animated strokes

[ext] Home Page
[ext] Black (kuro)
[ext] White (shiro)
[ext] Turn (ban)
[ext] First (sen)
[ext] Death (shi)
[ext] Life #1
[ext] Life #2
[ext] Correct (sei)
[ext] solution (kai)
[ext] wrong-1 (shitsu)
[ext] wrong-2 (hai)

Here is another site with a limited set of kanji. Includes spoken sentences and calligraphy video.

[ext] Home Page
[ext] Black (kuro)
[ext] White (shiro)
[ext] Turn (ban)
[ext] First (sen)
[ext] Life #1
[ext] wrong-1 (shitsu)


Once you have mastered the basic Japanese here, you are ready to move on to Intermediate Japanese for Reading Go Books.

Comments that were here have been moved to /Discussion


Basic Japanese for reading go books last edited by 94.161.137.249 on January 7, 2016 - 22:37
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