Fujisawa Tesuji Dictionary / Discussion

WME of Oct, 2009

Gresil Fujisawa's dictionary was a popular item at Sensei's even before its translation to English. I'm relocating these old discussions about working with the Japanese edition here, as they may still be useful.

Table of Contents (Japanese edition)

Volume I: Middle Game (中盘)

PART 1: Attacking Tesujis, 13-266.(攻击的手筋)

  • Separating Tesujis, 14-35.
  • Pressurising Tesujis, 36-57.
  • Sealing-in Tesujis, 58-83.
  • Shape-destroying Tesujis, 84-110.
  • Probing Tesujis, 111-132.
  • Tesujis for Creating Heavy Groups, 133-50.
  • Tesujis for Creating Weaknesses, 151-69.
  • Tesujis that Work in Two Directions, 170-93.
  • Base-destroying Tesujis, 194-219.
  • Capturing Tesujis, 220-43.
  • Ko-threatening Tesujis. 244-66.

PART 2: Defensive Tesujis, 267-506 (防守的手筋)

  • Connecting Tesujis, 268-84.
  • Tesujis for Advancing to the Centre, 285-307.
  • Running-out Tesujis, 308-27.
  • Shape-making Tesujis, 328-55.
  • Sente-taking Tesujis, 356-76.
  • Sabaki-making Tesujis, 377-98.
  • Countercutting Tesujis, 399-418.
  • Tesujis for Giving Respite to Two Weak Groups, 419-35.
  • Base-strengthening Tesujis, 436-55.
  • Bridging-under Tesujis, 456-82.
  • Tesujis for Resisting with Ko, 483-524.

Volume II: Beginning and end game (序盘与终盘)

PART 1: Opening, 15-116.(布局的手筋)

  • Development, 16-36.
  • Playing at close quarters, 37-56.
  • Expanding a moyo, 57-71.
  • Erasing, 72-87.
  • Surrounding territory, 88-101.
  • Invading, 102-116.

PART 2: Capturing races, 117-186.(攻杀的手筋)

  • Gaining liberties, 118-135.
  • Reducing enemy liberties, 136-152.
  • Meari Menashi, 153-166.
  • Ko fights, 167-186.

PART 3: Life and death, 187-408.(死活的手筋)

  • Preserving eye-shape, 188-209.
  • Expanding eye-space, 210-231.
  • Capturing stones to ensure life, 254-275.
  • Using ko fights to live, 276-298.
  • Destroying eye-shape, 298-319.
  • Constricting the opponent's eye-space, 320-341.
  • Shortage of liberties, 342-363.
  • Using sacrifice stones to kill, 364-386.
  • Using ko fights to kill, 387-408.

PART 4: Endgame, 409-505.(官子的手筋)

  • Encroachments (i.e. nibbling at the edges; not invasions), 410-429.
  • Stopping encroachments, 430-444.
  • Making gains by threatening to kill, 445-459.
  • Semedori, 460-471.
  • Amputating limbs, 472-482.
  • Double-action forcing moves, 483-494.
  • Gaining sente, 495-505.


Tamsin I received my copy from Kiseido today. I have "borrowed" and adapted John Fairbairn's material from this page (I hope you don't mind) and have added page numbers for the benefit of other English-speakers using this book. I have also created a /Discussion page for fellow deshis to discuss this fascinating book.

I will do Volume 2 later!

May I suggest that you copy the English translations of these headings into your own copies? I have done so - hopefully I shall pick up some more kanji through using this dictionary.

Alternatively, you might want to copy and paste this table of contents into MS Word (or similar), then print it out and paste it, literally, into the opening of your dictionary (which you will find at the back as Japanese books are often printed "back to front").

John F. Keenness should be rewarded, so here are a few pointers for those who hope to grope their way through the book while learning Japanese.

1. The format for each tesuji is typically a couple of pages of description/discussion about that tesuji. Not without value, but if you are at the stronger end of the spectrum and you recognise the type of tesuji, you can probably skip this, but a bit of effort on the first section would not go amiss.

2. Then, within each section, all the entries are simply in alphabetical (aiueo/akasatana) order, though this obviously can't apply to the Chinese version. There is no priority ordering.

3. Within each alphabetical entry, there is an introduction to go with the first "source" diagram. Sometimes this can be very useful. If long, assume it's worth the effort of reading it. You will often see a reference here to a source for the problem - most often Katsugo Shinpyo, occasionally Gokyo Shumyo. After this introduction, there will normally be three diagrams. There is no "correct" solution, but rather an appropriate one. This is usually headed in the style "Black 1 {is the} tesuji" or "White 1, 3 {are the} tesuji". The other diagrams very often represent acceptable play that is either not quite so efficient as the preferred option, or that is appropriate to a different strategy.

4. If you can read only the headings for each of these diagrams, you will probably get enough to get by. There's a lot of dross of the "if Black plays 2, White plays 3" variety. However, if there are letters marked on the board you should pay attention, because these are often discussed in the text in a fairly high level way. Note that these letters are in the other alphabetical order (i ro ha ni ho he to chi ri nu ru wo wa ka yo ta re so tsu ne na ra mu - you won't need more than that unless you read early 20th c. books).

5. Every now and then a whole-board position from a game is given. I can't say I've ever spotted a good reason for this other than as a welcome break from the otherwise monotonous form.

6. A typical use of the book is to play over a game and when you come to a point where a definable strategy or tactic is needed (one of those in the chapter headings, of course), you look through all the tesujis offered and see how they can apply to the game. You will find a very high hit rate (and sometimes where you find no hits you may realise that you've actually picked the wrong strategy!).

7. It follows from this kind of use that it is advantageous to be familiar with the alphabetical names used (on the top right of most pages). By and large these are standard and familiar: tsuke, kiri, nozoki, but at times you will need to expand your vocabulary a bit to things like atemakuri?, haikomi?, kirikomi, which (I suspect) you will not find on-line, so a query to SL may have to be raised. You should always be alert to the need to use terms in their Japanese sense, not the English one, so that, for example, you will see hane, hanekomi, hanedashi used instead of English hane.

8. If you are new to Japanese, note that the book uses the plain forms of verbs, not the desu/-masu forms most beginners' books for learning Japanese use, i.e. dearu/da not desu, nai not arimasen, dekiru not dekimasu.

Tamsin Thanks very much John for those notes. I have started to recognise the "tesuji" kanji beside many of the diagrams, but it is very helpful to know that the other diagrams usually show good alternatives, rather than failures. I have been casually learning Japanese for a while: I suspect that using materials like this, for which I need to be persistent to get the information that I want, will do a lot of good for my Japanese as a by-product.

On a different note: recently I have been coming to grips with various Japanese go books and resources, including this tesuji dictionary. It is quite sobering to realise that there is a lot of material there which has yet to appear in anything more than an introductory form in Western go literature. This tesuji dictionary, for instance, is a lot denser and comprehensive than both Davies's book on tesuji and Van Zeijst's and Bozulich's Making Good Shape put together.

Charles You're not wrong there, Tamsin.

Anyone have the ISBN numbers for these books? - Fhayashi

BobMcGuigan: They are: 4-8182-0401-3 and 4-8182-0402-1 (for the Fujisawa dictionary)

Malweth: The Chinese version ISBN are 957-561-114-4 and 957-561-115-2 and are available from The publisher: [ext] book 1 and [ext] book 2. I only have one of the two!! I picked up one volume (the Second according to this page) at Page One in Taipei 101 this summer... I went back, but haven't been able to find the mate. Now I can either get the English version, Japanese version, or try and interpret Mercury-publish.com.tw and hope they can ship internationally :D (Or Maybe find the book this fall, but I don't know if I'll be in Taipei or elsewhere in Taiwan)

Fhayashi: So, who has the English translation rights?

  • PatrickB: Slate and Shell does. They're translating it as three volumes, the first of which "Tesuji for Attacking" will be out in September of 2004. I've seen the galley proofs (at the U.S. Go Congress) and its really nice.

BobMcGuigan: Just for reference, this is a huge book, over 1100 pages long. And it costs $380 for the Japanese version from Kiseido. I'll bet an English version would be even more expensive, since the publisher would probably sell fewer copies. It's published by the Nihon Ki-in, who probably hold the translation rights.

DougRidgway I think you're referring to the Tesuji Encyclopedia, a different book. This is the dictionary, two volumes, 37 USD per volume for Japanese.

Bob: Oops! You're right, my mistake. However, the two volume dictionary is also published by the Nihon Ki-in and they would hold the translation rights.

Fhayashi: Just out of curiosity, anyone know how much such translation rights cost, and the prospect of being able to publish such a translation and NOT lose money?

Charles I do have some idea of the Nihon Ki-in's terms: which are a percentage of sales. Snag is, the custom in Japan (and Korea seems to be the same) is that the whole sum on the rights is due at publication.

Jion: I am now extremely curious about this book. One thing that caught my attention, however, was that as of Apr. 25, 2004 Yutopian lists BOTH volumes (Chinese version) for $48 USD while Kiseido lists the Japanese version for $40 USD each + shipping. If they are the same, and you can simply learn from the diagrams, it might be a bargain.

On a related note, Yutopian also offers "Encyclopedia of Tesuji - Nihon Kiin", lists the authors as Go Seigen and Segoe Kensaku as $53 USD for all three volumes . . compare that to $120 USD+shipping at Kiseido.

Can anyone confirm that these books are the same? The Fujisawa dict. is listed as "more than 500 pages per book" (which matches up) and the Seigen as "a total of 675 pages." It would be great if someone could take a few minutes to check this. Furthermore, it would be a bit easier for me to translate, since I am Chinese =P

Also, can anyone give a recommended strength range for these books? TIA.

May 16, 2003

DougRidgway Added a bit to the TOC and reorganized a bit, to make the first paragraph make sense to those not involved in the discussion. Lots still to do, of course.

I'm not really sure how to handle attributions. I don't think John will want to be associated with my hamfisted attempts to render things into English based on a mediocre Chinese translation.

Tamsin: Once you get past the initial intimidation of handling a pair of go books in Japanese for what may be the first time, you will soon realise how very densely packed with information the dictionary is. To begin squeezing the juice from it requires a calm and patient effort to organise the material into a manageable form; I doubt you will prosper simply by dipping into it.

My first step was to copy all the heading supplied by JohnFairbairn on the FujisawaTesujiDictionary page, making sure that these headings corresponded with the diagrams -- if you find yourself describing as "Sealing In" a diagram in which a stone is breaking out, then you can be reasonably sure that you've made a mistake.

Then I got into the main body of Volume I and pencilled in the English translations of the chapter headings and, for added benefit, began writing the chapter theme (e.g., "sabaki") on every page so that I could see at once what chapter I was looking at while using the book.

The chapters are, as John has explained, divided according to goals rather than means. That is, the chapters have titles such as "Shape-destroying Tesuji" rather than "Placement Tesuji. This is, as John again pointed out, actually very logical. Suppose you sit down and learn, say, the "Belly Tesuji" from James Davies's book. For a while, you might seek opportunities to play this move regardless of how appropriate it is to the position. In contrast, if you learn various ways of sealing in the opponent from the Fujisawa dictionary, then you will only be seeking to use these when the important thing is, indeed, to be sealing the opponent in. There is a lot to be said for learning what the goals are before learning the techniques to accomplish them.

At the beginning of the chapters you will find several diagrams, each showing one technique for achieving the aim. After that, the material in each chapter is arranged in the order of the Japanese syllabaries, according to the name of the techniques. Generally, there is one technique on each page. There is a big diagram and beside it the technique's name is printed in bold letters, in a cartouche. It is well worth translating that name, if nothing else, for that tells you what to look for in that kind of situation. Below the main diagram of three numbered diagrams, each showing ways of handling the situation above. Usually, the tesuji is the one that corresponds to the word in the cartouche - e.g., once I realised that "kaketsugi" means "hanging connection", I was able to find the right diagram quickly, since it was the only one in which a hanging connection appeared; studying it and the other diagrams convinced me that this move gave the best result. In addition, you will quickly learn to recognise the kanji for tesuji, and that is a further help in identifying the critical diagrams.

As I commented on the original FujisawaTesujiDictionary page, one becomes quickly aware of the difference between Western go materials and books of this kind. This is definitely not a beginner's book, language issues apart. In a book like James Davies's Tesuji [1] you find examples of the basic tactical techniques, and you really need to be thoroughly versed in these before you can hope to enjoy Fujisawa Sensei's dictionary. Many of the techniques described here are what you might call "combos", if you have ever played video games. That is, combinations of plays rather than simple, single-concept solutions of the kind found in Western tesuji books and in life and death books. Here is one example, headed "atemakuri" ("Atari Wrap"):

corner: BASIC SITUATION: Black to seal White in with "Atemakuri" ("Atari Wrap").  
corner: One way to play, satisfactory but not optimal  
corner: Step One of the Tesuji: Ate/Atari  
corner: Step Two: Black wraps up White with a Belly Strike  

The simple technique, the Eye Stealing Tesuji gives a good result, but the multi-step technique gives influence on an even bigger scale.

What does all this do for your playing strength, though? Studying these examples should help you to think about relationships between stones in a somewhat deeper way: if you can't find a solution based on a single move, then here are many ideas for solving problems in a more roundabout way. Constantly studying these more complex relationships should give you a much better idea of how situations affect one another, stimulating your mind to think about tactics in a much more creative way. I have only just had the book, so it is rather early for me to predict with any confidence what effect it will have on me, but I can say that my imagination feels sparked: there are many more ways of getting the goal than the simple ones learned from Western books (which is certainly not to decry their great value). Even in this short time I have become more devious, perhaps because I am beginning to see that tactics can have much more global characteristics than one might first realise, both on a large and a small scale: changing one local situation can dramatically alter a nearby local situation, while changing a detail in a local situation can indeed crucially affect another detail within that particular local situation.

PLEASE NOTE: Although I have posted up one example from the dictionary here, I do not intend to compile a categorised series of examples from the dictionary here, as that would, in my view, be against fair usage. I would urge others not to be too free with examples, either. It is well worth going to the trouble of buying this book.


Charles Matthews General comment here. Tamsin rightly identifies a steep learning gradient from the (very good) Tesuji by Davies to the work under discussion. There are dozens of tesuji problem books easily available in Japanese; which tend to copy each other. I'm aware of books by Shuho and Segoe that moved the subject along; but often a tesuji problem collection will rehash some old material that is in the public domain, with minor changes.

Now the Fujisawa work seems to be a much more scholarly and thorough rendering of that whole 'syllabus', which has often been recycled through magazines and hack collections.

The Davies book, on the other hand, strikes me (as someone who has worked over many of the Japanese books) as fresh in approach. Though the subject itself has been pretty well worked out, the results in it of individual thought do show through, as well as adaptation of the material to Western tastes.

This accounts for some of the 'culture shock' if you move straight from Davies to Fujisawa. Reading the latter thoroughly can get one from 1 dan to 2 dan. Good luck, Tamsin.

Tamsin I'd like to add that using Japanese go books is a really good way to learn the Japanese language, since one feels highly motivated to understand what's there - and that is an inexpressibly powerful aid to learning. Much better than learning how to read/write "Hello, my name is Yuki/Jones. May I have 2 pounds of fish please and a can of Pocari Sweat?" (i.e., the kind of drivel one finds as examples of "everyday conversation" in language textbooks. That said, sometimes the drivel can be extremely funny, as in one English text book for foreigners that a friend once showed me, which taught one how to say "I say, why don't you go to the Fishmongers and buy us some haddock for our tea?" Correct, but nothing a native English-speaker would ever say).

Dieter: Lol, but self-fulfilling. What do you want to learn japanese for ? In order to read Go books more easily ? I have done my oral math exams in Portuguese without noteworthy problems (as far as my Portuguese was concerned) but I found myself unable to name any tree or flower when we made a trip into the countryside.

Tamsin: Good point, since I guess my Japanese go vocabulary far outstrips my Japanese everyday vocabulary. BUT, there are still many things in the tesuji dictionary that have a place in everyday life: for instance, one has ample practice material for reading katakana and hiragana; also, there are many important kanji, such as "Black", "White", "hand" and so on. It certainly cannot harm one's grip of Japanese, ne?

Tamsin: This may be of general benefit: I am setting up a page especially for asking for help in translating Japanese go terms. Here is the link: Japanese Go Term Help Page.

Fujisawa Tesuji Dictionary / Discussion last edited by Gresil on October 4, 2009 - 14:07
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