Hamete / Discussion

Sub-page of Hamete

Bob Myers: I note that "TrickPlay", "Trap", "Trick" etc. are currently aliased to the hamete page. I'd like to propose that there be a new page called "Trick" which talks about, well, tricks, as opposed to hamete, which are tricks in a way, I know, but a more sophisticated, established kind of joseki trick. By doing this, I'd like to clarify the distinction between hamete and trick and avoid people using trick when they mean hamete or, more importantly, using hamete when they mean (cheap) trick.

I'm aware of many of the issues surrounding terminology wars. One such issue is "Well, (yose | fuseki | mochikomi | etc.) already *means* (blah | blah | blah) in Western usage, and that wrong/different meaning is already so deeply rooted that we can't change it and therefore we'll just have to live with the fact that the world now has one word in Japanese which means one thing to the Japanese and the "same" word, romanized and used in English, which means a different thing, and that's that, even if it means that the insight captured by the original Japanese meaning is forever lost to most Westerners."

If you adopt this line of thought for "hamete", then probably the whole main hamete page should be rewritten in line with the "trick" definition, with a footnote giving the pedantic caveat that oh, yes, this word actually had a different/narrower meaning in Japanese. Personally, I'd prefer to stand up for the original meaning of hamete and separate it from trick, but before I do that I thought I would write this note to see what people think.

isshoni: just a thought from an outsider.
Changes of usage in terminology, when they don t happen naturally, have to go through 'opinion leaders' and 'institutions'. SL is a bit of both. Therefore, if a consensus is reached among heavyweights here, SL would be a good place to start.
Anyway, thanks all for keeping up the good work!

Dieter: I do not advocate the line of thought you're anticipating but instead encourage to dissociate hamete from trick. I see many reasons. First, I would almost automatically dissociate as soon as there is no consensus about two terms being aliases. More importantly, I think Western comprehension of Go is so superficial that there can be hardly accounted for any "firmly rooted" understanding. Third, if you, as a contributor, are held back from adding content to the hamete subject, because you feel that trick doesn't convey the term and actually downgrades what you would contribute, that's also a very good reason to dissociate the pages.

I'm yet unsure about what we should do with hamete itself: use the term as a main page or try and find an English caption instead, such as persuasive sequence and refer from hamete to that page.

unkx80: I say, just disassociate them. Then turn trick play example 1 and 2 into hamate examples, and then let trick play example 5 stay as it is. I suppose trick play example 4 is hardly any trick, and just merge it into hane connect exercise 3? Also, there is no consensus that trick play example 3 is a trick play but a joseki mistake instead, so should we move it to some joseki mistakes section? In this respect, I expect quite a few page renamings needed, just sound them out if you need them.

Bill: First, I think that hamete is not a technical term we need in English. Unlike sente, for example. Knowing what a hamete is does not help you play go.

Second, I think that trap or trick play are good enough translations. For instance, I found this [ext] on the web as a definition of hamete:

策略を弄した汚い手

Rough translation: A dirty, scheming play.

;-)

Bob Myers: Sorry, this fails my test of not trusting any web pages with turqoise backgrounds. Seriously, do I understand correctly that you believe that (1) hamete should not be used in English, and (2) there is no need to distinguish between the broader meaning of "trick" in English and the narrower meaning of hamete in Japanese?

I would disagree with the assertion that "knowing what a hamete is does not help you play go," although I can't tell whether you mean "knowing what a hamete is" or "knowing some hamete sequences" (of course, if you are going to "know some hamete sequences", it certainly would seem useful to have a term to call them by). Hamete is certainly not necessary until you reach somewhere in the mid-dans, but at that point it's a highly useful thing to know.

Bill: To answer your second point first, it is useful to recognize a trap or trick play for what it is. It is useful to study them, even as a kyu player. But it does not help to learn the Japanese term, IMO.

Does hamete mean something substantially different in Japanese than trick play or trap play in English? This is really a linguistics question. I also found a Japanese go player on the web who says that hamete are not just trick plays, but are high level plays that are unreasonable in that they try to get more than the player is entitled to, and are not easy to refute.

We see this kind of nuance all the time in language, where a word may have a common meaning, but also a more refined meaning for the cognoscenti. Words have multiple meanings. Look in any dictionary.

Does hamete have a more refined meaning? I suppose so, witness the guy who insists that it does. But it also has the more general and common meaning, or he would have nothing to argue against.

Should go players stick to the refined meaning? I can't say. I do note that I have a book by Sakata called Joseki to torikku (Joseki and Tricks). The tricks are hamete, OC. If trick is good enough for Sakata, it's good enough for me.

Should SL enforce the refined meaning? I say no, for two reasons. First, the common meaning exists, and trick play is the usual translation. Second, SL is not an arbiter of Japanese language.

Should SL talk about the different meanings of hamete? I say yes. Just like we should talk about the different meanings of sente and liberty. That's what dictionaries do. To the extent that SL is a language reference, let's do it, too.

Ellyster:

Should go players stick to the refined meaning? I can't say. I do note that I have a book by Sakata called Joseki to torikku (Joseki and Tricks). The tricks are hamete, OC. If trick is good enough for Sakata, it's good enough for me.

Lot of words in katatana do not keep the exact original meaning, for example torikku has not as negative connotation as in English.

Bob Myers: Apparently I have not been very successful in making myself clear. My precise point is that hamete does have a substantially different semantic profile in Japanese than (the Japanese equivalent of) trick play.

If we do agree that hamete has a specific, non-"trick" meaning in Japanese, the question then becomes: what does this mean in terms of our alternatives for dealing with this in a context such as SL? We also need to factor into our considerations that the word as borrowed into English has in fact, in many people's minds, come to mean "any cheap trick".

As John F. has eruditely pointed out, we need to discuss what we are trying to accomplish. I don't think SL is a dictionary (yes, I do consult them from time to time), but rather a combination textbook and encyclopedia. I just happened to look at the "theology" entry in Wikipedia and it is a great example of an extended description of the range of meanings and people's opinions about them, but also recommended usages. SL also is not merely descriptive, but also prescriptive. For instance, in the interest of clarity or pedagogy it could recommend for or against certain usages.

In this case, clearly hamete is not central to anyone's understanding of go. For most, it will remain largely an academic concept. SL's role in this particular case will be less to teach, or more to act as a reference for someone who hears the word in whatever context (perhaps they got their hands on a Japanese book with the word in the title) and wants to understand what it means.

We also need to remember the distinction between words and concepts, or rather the interrelationship between them. We need words because they are how we express concepts in a mutually intelligible way. But at the end of the day it is the concept which is important to understanding and progressing in go. But now I'm just lecturing.

Bill: To answer your second point first, it is useful to recognize a trap or trick play for what it is. It is useful to study them, even as a kyu player. But it does not help to learn the Japanese term, IMO.

This is circular. You're using the word "trap" and "trick" in the context of a discussion of how to map these words to concepts. My whole point is that hamete is distinct from (or at least a highly specialized version of) "trap". In case it somehow didn't get conveyed properly, I'll repeat the definition: Hamete is a high-level play in the context of a joseki which has an obvious answer which leads to a poor result.

Are you saying it's useful to study hamete, or tricks, or both? I doubt that you'd find any professional teachers who would recommend studying hamete at the kyu level.

Does hamete mean something substantially different in Japanese than trick play or trap play in English? This is really a linguistics question.

Yes. That's what this discussion is about.

I also found a Japanese go player on the web who says that hamete are not just trick plays, but are high level plays that are unreasonable in that they try to get more than the player is entitled to, and are not easy to refute.

Right, that's what they are.

We see this kind of nuance all the time in language, where a word may have a common meaning, but also a more refined meaning for the cognoscenti. Words have multiple meanings. Look in any dictionary.

We may see it all the time, but that's not what we are seeing here. The word hamete has exactly one meaning in Japanese, although there is certainly a small minority, including some with websites, who do not understand it correctly. The "cheap trick" meaning of hamete is not "another meaning", it is a "wrong meaning".

Does hamete have a more refined meaning? I suppose so, witness the guy who insists that it does. But it also has the more general and common meaning, or he would have nothing to argue against.

It is certainly a fallacy to take an instance of someone rejecting position A as support of that position! He's not "arguing against" the vulgar meaning, he's correcting a misperception which apparently also exists on the part of some Japanese amateurs. I can guarantee you that no professional would use the word hamete to refer to a garden-variety trick.

Should go players stick to the refined meaning? I can't say. I do note that I have a book by Sakata called Joseki to torikku (Joseki and Tricks). The tricks are hamete, OC. If trick is good enough for Sakata, it's good enough for me.

This is very confused. We have no idea what the semantic parameters are for a Japanese speaker of the katakana-ized version of "trick" and it can hardly have anything to do with linguistic or terminological recommendations we are making in the English context.

Should SL enforce the refined meaning? I say no, for two reasons. First, the common meaning exists, and trick play is the usual translation. Second, SL is not an arbiter of Japanese language.

We are not language police, attempting to enforce "correct usage". We are trying to come up with mappings of concepts and terminology which is fruitful for the learning of go, while being largely consistent with established usage. We have a number of tools at our disposal to do this. For instance, we can suggest that a Japanese term need not be borrowed into English since there's a good English term already on hand. We can support a shift in the meaning of a borrowed word when that seems appropriate given history or the western go playing mentality. Or, we can point out drift in the way borrowed words are used which is not useful, if it dilutes an important distinction being made by the word as used in its original language.

Should SL talk about the different meanings of hamete? I say yes. Just like we should talk about the different meanings of sente and liberty. That's what dictionaries do. To the extent that SL is a language reference, let's do it, too.

Of course we should talk about it; the issue was what we should say! Some options:

1. Recommend that hamete not be used. Of course, we will discuss it as a linguistic curiosity from a foreign language. Instead adopt "trick". Mention in the discussion of "trick" that there is a particular kind of established high-level joseki trick.

2. Recommend 'hamete'' be used for all kinds of tricks. Of course, this is stupid since we already have the word "trick". In this case, also, mention that pedants note that the original Japanese meaning of the word was those established high-level joseki tricks, although we can't really imagine why they would have gone to all the trouble to have a specific word for such a narrow concept.

3. Deal separately with (cheap) tricks, calling them, obviously, "tricks". Deal with "tricks" for what they are, tricks. Borrow the word hamete for the same cases in which it is used in Japanese--yes, the established, high-level deceptive joseki variations.

3a. Same as 3, but find an English equivalent for hamete. No-one seems to like my "garden path sequence", but someone also suggested deceptive joseki variation, or something like joseki sting might even work.

Bill: Bob, so far I have only your word that hamete has only the restricted meaning you say it has. Look, one of the meanings of hameru is to con, and one meaning of hamaru is to fall for something. Now, if you buy a hamete dictionary, I don't expect to find stupid pet tricks in there. Especially in joseki, there are well known hamete. Analogously, in chess there are well known traps in the opening. But I do not think that in chess people restrict their usage of the word, trap, to opening traps. Nor do I think that most go players restrict their usage of hamete to hamete in joseki. And in my experience, average Japanese go players do not do so. For years I never even thought about an English translation for hamete, but when I did, I figured that trap was a good one. The Go Players Almanac gives trick play, and, while it is not free from error, that works for me.

Now, I am happy to be proven wrong. Maybe the people I learned go from and the guy whose web page I quoted and the almanac are all wrong. But don't just say so. Show me.

nachtrabe: Just as an aside, the Korean word that I have for "hamete" (Sok-Gim-Su) translates roughly to "chance of deceiving."

Bob Myers: Bill, I've initiated some research in the form of contacting known go mavens and also looking at some hamete books.

For what it's worth, a Japanese professional commented as follows:

ハメテの意味は定石の本に書いてあるのが正しいですが、相手に与える印象はもっと悪いかもしれませんね。 ハメテにかかるには、ある程度の棋力が必要な場合が多いです。

My translation:

"The correct meaning of hamete is that given in joseki books, but the impression it gives your opponent may be worse than that. Getting involved with hamete often requires a certain level of strength."

Bill: Thanks, Bob. :-) Nice quote, too.

John F. Hayashi Yutaka, historian par excellence and also head of Nihon Ki-in editorial department, defined it thus:

Jouseki wo henka no tochuu, tadashii shudan de naku, inchiki-sei wo obita uchikata de aite wo hikkakeru te. Chuubansen ikou no inchiki na te no koto wa hamete to iwanai. - A move which, in the course of a joseki line, traps the opponent through a way of playing that is not correct and is tinged with an element of trickery. A trick move in the middle game or later is not called hamete.

Over now to the hamete expert par excellence, Yasunaga Hajime. In a book called Hamete and New Moves, he says that it's not a simple local trap such as catching the opponent in an oi otoshi. He adds that a hamete from the whole board point of view is "something that often has a high probability of success."

Yasunaga's quote is not a definition as such, though it has some valuable clues. However, he begins this section with the phrase "hamete to itte mo". I think that is significant. If he was talking about a word the novice would not be expected to understand at all, say, mochikomi, he would probably have used the contrastive emphasiser wa as in mochikomi to wa, as a way of pointing up that he is about to define a new word. But using the inclusive mo (as in "you may well call this a hamete, but..") he is acknowledging that the word will already mean something to the man in the street. Rather than defining it, he is about to explain instead how it is used by pros.

I infer therefore that Bob is quite right to press his case about the precise meaning. But Bill is right also to observe that usage can vary and Joe Am may well have a different notion from Jo Pro, even in Japan.

My own preference is to advise ordinary readers to call it an opening trap and forget hamete for ever. But I did like joseki sting!

Hicham: I don't speak Japanese and I am no expert on go terminolgy, but if Bob is right I would prefer option 3 in his list. Use trick play as a general term and keep hamete for 'high level joseki trick'. This term is allready widely used, so why invent some new english term? And even if a lot of people misuse the term, I dont see why SL should do so too? This site is here for people to learn from, it is more then just an encyclopedia, but it should have the correct information when used as such.

Bill: Thank you, John, for the Hayashi definition. While I tend to descriptive lexicography, I also think that prescriptive definitions have their place. The only question I have about Hayashi is that of correctness. I have heard the phrase, son no nai hamete for a hamete that is also correct, because it loses nothing if the opponent replies correctly.

Tentatively let me suggest this definition:

A trap in joseki, typically a tricky but incorrect play that requires skill to refute.
The term is often imprecisely used for any trick play.

Also, let's unalias Trap, Trick, and Trick Play from Hamete and sort out the various examples.

Ellyster: I do not agree with the "tricky but incorrect play" a hamate must be a correct move, meaning that when is answered correctly it must have an even result for both players. It is only tricky in the sense that the obvious reply is inferior, but it different of a trick play in that the correct answer is not damaging for the hamate player.

John F. I think I could go along with that, Bill. The word "typically" nicely covers the point you mention about son no nai hamete. I've come across this concept of "correct trap" as well. But it is usually mentioned precisely because it is untypical of the usual range of meaning, so I don't think it really invalidates Hayashi's version.

But I would suggest adding "among amateurs" after "imprecisely".

Bill: How about "Some amateurs use the term imprecisely for any trick play." ?

Bob, what do you say?

Bob Myers: Great, the wiki process has worked its magic. I've edited the main page in line with the above; please review. I've also made a simple new trick play page. I've left trap aliased to hamete. Perhaps it would be good to make a new alias for joseki trap. I've also changed a few references to trick play elsewhere in SL to point to hamete, in some cases adding "joseki trap" in parentheses, but perhaps these would better be changed to point directly to joseki trap or opening trap?. Thanks to everyone for their contribution to the discussion.

Bill: Thank you, Bob, for bringing the matter up. :-)


tderz Is 骗着 (騙著) piÓn zhāo - trick play = hamete?

Question1: There was a word for getting tricked, i.e. to undergo hamete - perhaps easy grammar for you - which sounded as hameseru.

Could s.o. please correct me on that? Thanks in advance!

Q2: Is ハメ手 ever written はめて ?


Karl Knechtel:

I also found a Japanese go player on the web who says that hamete are not just trick plays, but are high level plays that are unreasonable in that they try to get more than the player is entitled to, and are not easy to refute.

Right, that's what they are.

I don't follow. Aside from the requirement of being "high level", how is that in any way different from what an English speaker would understand "trick play" to mean? And "high level" is OC relative.

I can guarantee you that no professional would use the word hamete to refer to a garden-variety trick.

AFAICT, that's only because no professional would be tricked by a garden-variety trick. :)

Anyway, we apparently now have word from the pros that suggest a specific relevance of the term to joseki. But the ordinary Japanese word doesn't have that connotation (and can't; what's a "joseki" in the context of day-to-day life?), so...

someone:the "Alternative English terms" section suggests that 'A direct Chinese translation would be "Thief's Skill".' im a chinese and from the chinese translation of hamete offered in the page(骗着 (騙著) piÓn zhāo), a direct chinese translation would be more like "deceive method"


Hamete / Discussion last edited by Ellyster on August 31, 2014 - 06:34
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