James Davies was born in 1945 in Philadelphia.
Davies graduated from Oberlin College in 1967 and entered graduate school at the University of Washington, only to have a mathematics professor interest him in the game of go. In 1970 he came to Japan, where his go playing has advanced to the amateur 5-dan level. In 1971, he joined Ishi Press and proceeded to write a number of books for that publisher. In addition, he is a regular contributor to Go Review magazine. He now lives with his wife in the suburbs of Tokyo.
James Davies is author or co-author of a number of popular go books including:
- The 1971 Honinbo Tournament (by Iwamoto Kaoru in collaboration with Davies)
- Several volumes of the Elementary Go Series
- 38 Basic Joseki with Kosugi Kiyoshi
- Attack and Defense with Ishida Akira, available in German as Angriff und Verteidigung
- The Endgame with Ogawa Tomoko
- Life and Death
- Tesuji, available in German as Tesuji
- An Introduction to GO with Richard Bozulich