Dictionaries page

    Keywords: Books & Publications

If you want overviews on Go, rather than comprehensible fragments, one place to seek them would be the major reference works. This is not likely to be helpful to beginners, naturally enough.

Table of contents

Nihon Ki-in's encyclopedia series

Top Level

  • Great Joseki Encyclopedia (定石大事典) (2 volumes ) published 1986 and 1987
    • Chinese ed. title 定式大辞典
  • Great Fuseki Encyclopedia (布石大事典) published 1989
  • Great Tesuji Encyclopedia (手筋大事典) published 1992

These are anonymous corporate works, typically priced at 24000 yen for a large volume of 1000 pages in a slipcase. Out of print.

tchan001: Pictures of the above top level books can be found at this [ext] post

Middle Level

Nihon Ki-in Encyclopedia Series: three editions;

  • First edition: Black cover, in green box. Published in the 1970s.
  • Revised edition (Zouho-kaiteiban 増補改訂版): White cover. Published in the 1990s. Minor corrections and additions.
  • New edition (Shinban 新版): Color cover. Published around 2010.

First and Revised editions

Consists of five titles of two volumes each (上 and 下), ten books in all.

New Edition

Current, in print edititon. Consists of four titles, six books in all.

  • Basic Fuseki Encyclopedia by Yoda Norimoto (ISBN-13: 978-4818205949 on [ext] Amazon Japan and ISBN-13: 978-4818205956 on [ext] Amazon Japan). (two volumes, 500+ pages and 2400yen each) Mostly new materials.
  • Basic Joseki Encyclopedia by Takao Shinji (two volumes, 500+ pages and 2400yen each)
  • Basic Tesuji Encyclopedia by Yamashita Keigo (ISBN-13: 978-4818205963 on [ext] Amazon Japan): Follows more traditional definition of tesuji, that is clever local play. (600+ pages, 2800yen)
  • Basic Life-and-Death Encyclopedia by Cho U (ISBN-13: 978-4818205970 on [ext] Amazon Japan). (600+ pages, 2800yen) Corresponds to Book 1 of earlier editions, considerably expanded.

There is more info about these encyclopedias at [ext] https://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/publishing/books/kihonjiten/index.html (in Japanese).

Introductory Level

There are ten small encyclopedias, formally called the Nihon Ki-in Small Encyclopedias (日本棋院小事典). Each volume is pocket size, about 220 pages and 900 yen. No authors, marketed also as 'Quick' guides. Topics:

Five of the series books have been translated into English, by Yutopian as the The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Series.

Seibundo Shinkosha Dictionaries

A series of dictionaries were published by Seibundo Shinkosha (誠文堂新光社) in the 1970s and 80s. Comprises much very good material. It included:


The Suzuki/Kitani Joseki Dictionary is a cut-down version of the old Igo Daijiten.

The Takagawa Fuseki Dictionary is quite different from Rin's. Where Rin's dictionary is a broad survey of fuseki practice up to the 70's, Takagawa's is much more an exposition of how he sees fuseki. (Takagawa, Fujisawa Hideyuki, and Go Seigen were considered the masters of fuseki of that time.) Like all experienced pros he has tried all kinds of fuseki in his career. In this dictionary most of the example games are with him playing either Black or White.

There is little enough in the Japanese encyclopedia and dictionary material that tells one about the middle game. One series of books that addresses this is the Igo Dan Players Series, initially over eight volumes - but perhaps not quite up to the editorial standards of a dictionary.

The progression here seems clear enough: towards the top amateur levels, you can get something about openings and tesuji from books; for the rest you are thrown back on the abundant supplies of pro games and problem collections.

Dave Sigaty: The Tesuji Dictionary by Segoe and Go is classic. Anyone who has the chance should grab it.

A Korean series

For comparison, the titles of a Korean dictionary-style series, probably on the same general level as the Small Dictionaries.

  1. Handicap Baduk
  2. Trick Plays
  3. 3-3 Invasions
  4. 4-4 and 3-4 Openings
  5. Middle Game and Strategy
  6. Invasion and Reduction
  7. Poseok (i.e. fuseki)
  8. Haengma
  9. Soksu (bad style)
  10. Endgame

This has a different feel entirely - certainly more pragmatic, oriented towards fighting. The contrast only goes to support the general argument put forward by John Fairbairn on the Haengma / Discussion topic. There is new thinking coming out of Korea about the way to organise the material of Go/Baduk.

isshoni: I'm not sure this information belongs here, but for readers of Japanese, some of the titles above are available in Japanese: [ext] see for example this search on Amazon Japan or [ext] this other one on Junkudo or visit the Nihon Kiin's bookshop.

Other Joseki dictionaries

There have been a number of joseki dictionaries down the years. One that is cited elsewhere on SL is

There are certainly others, by Takagawa, Miyashita Shuyo. Of course the information in these compilations is uneven, and of limited value as a reference unless you want to make your own comprehensive study of some joseki.

A 1998 one-volume

seems not to be at all well known.

Charles Matthews

[ext] Link

BobMcGuigan: A small dictionary-like text on joseki that should not be lost sight of is

three volumes, published in Japan by Koma Shobo in 1981. It has a lot of insightful Kajiwara-style thinking.

[ext] Link

Online Life and Death dictionary

[1] The Chinese translation '围棋定式大辞典' from 1985 comprises 850 pages and 9971 diagrams (ISBN 7-5434-0248-3

Dictionaries page last edited by hnishy on November 10, 2022 - 01:01
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