Honinbo Genjo

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Honinbo Genjo (本因坊元丈, Miyashige Rakuzan 宮重楽山, Miyashige Genjo 1775–1832 in Edo, Japan) was a Japanese, professional 8-dan. He was the 11th head of the Honinbo house, lifelong rival and friend of Yasui Chitoku, and considered one of the Four Sages. Genjo was of Meijin strength, as was Chitoku, but out of respect for one another they both stayed Jun-Meijin, as there could only be one Meijin.

Genjo was born Miyashige Rakuzan in 1775 in Edo, Japan to a military family. He became heir to the Honinbo house in 1798 and changed his first name to Genjo. He reached 7-dan in 1804, Meijin strength by 1806, Honinbo in 1809, and 8-dan in 1814. His rank promotion was nearly identical in timing to Yasui Chitoku’s, his best friend and rival. Genjo made Jowa his heir in 1819 and retired in 1827. He passed away in 1832.


Honinbo Genjo had a powerful attacking style, which used thickness and high positions to support his attacks. There is some reason to believe that he received inspiration for his style from Yasui Senchi Senkaku, who was strongest player of the previous generation and held a record of thirteen wins and two losses to Honinbo’s previous head, Honinbo Retsugen.

Chitoku & Genjo

At least 87-records remain between Chitoku and Genjo. Of those games with known results Chitoku won five more than Genjo, but also took Black seven more times. Keeping in mind that there was no komi for White during those times, it seems reasonable to conclude that the two were perfectly matched. One of the key highlights for their games was that both players played with contrasting styles. Their first game was played on 1788-05-11, when they were still known by their birth names (Nakano Isogoro and Miyashige Rakuzan), and Genjo won that game. Their second game was played five months later on 1788-10-31, and Chitoku won that game. This back-and-forth became typical for their games. Records show of a jubango played between the two around 1790 with a result of 5-wins, 4-losses and 1-jigo to Chitoku. However, most of the game records are lost.

Personal life

Apparently Genjo was quite fond of choice sake – even once accepting a pupil’s last few coins in exchange for a teaching game, yet exclaiming "Dammit, it’s not even enough to buy one bottle of sake!"[1] This habit may have caused him to make a mistake against Nakano Chitoku.[1]


  • From the Privy Council of Old Go (Kogo Suki) (1821) – A book about games from early Honinbos.


[1] Source: Appreciating Famous Games (1977) by Ohira Shuzo, p. 95.

See Also

Honinbo Genjo last edited by hnishy on November 10, 2022 - 13:49
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