Keywords: Rules, Culture & History, Go term

Chinese: 十番棋 sh fān q
Japanese: 十番碁 (jūbango)
Korean: 십번기 (十番棋, sip-beon-gi)

Jubango is a Japanese go term meaning "ten-game match".

bango means "multi-game match" and any number can precede the word. Actually, sanbango (3 games), yonbango (4), rokubango (6), nijubango (20), sanjubango (30), or even rokujubango? (60) were played too.


In the Edo period, the jubango became the popular form of challenge match (or sogo), and were occasionally used to settle disputes of player promotion or who was the stronger player. Usually they were played at a leisurely pace, spread out over some months and at varying locations. Instead of komi, most prolonged matches followed the uchikomi system -- whereby a handicap changed as a function of who had won the previous games.[1] To be forced to take a higher handicap in a prolonged match, such as a jubango, was to be beaten down, the humiliation of which would depend upon the context of the match. These challenges could be very serious affairs -- affecting the reputation, and thus political influence and income, of the players and their houses. As such, many matches would end before the ten games were reached, often to save face for one of the players.

In the Meiji period, the jubango increasingly became sponsored events by go patrons and were usually exhibition matches between pupils, opposing study groups, or teaching game matches. It was a popular way for a house or individuals to earn income during the period of decline and transition that characterized the Meiji go period. Towards the end of the era, the newspaper sponsored jubango made its first appearance. This would cause the length of the jubango to be extended so as to maximize the profits for the newspapers.

In modern go, the jubango was usually sponsored by large newspaper companies to help boost circulation. They were most famously used in matches between Go Seigen and the top Japanese professionals of his day.

And although the jubango became popular as a kind of serious challenge match, some were instead among friends, teacher and pupil, or casually played for sponsors.

Why ten ?

In the old match handicap system, four more wins than the opponent was enough to change the handicap - if a player wins four more in a 10-game match, in other words scores 7-3 or better, he is recognized as eligible to advance one notch in the handicap system. So jubango was considered the most practical way to test the relative strengths of two players.

Misuse in English

In the English go world the term jubango has been occasionally misused for other kinds of matches, such as those less or greater than exactly 10-games.


This is a partial list.

Year Players Result Notes
1705-6 Honinbo Dochi, Yasui Senkaku 3-0-0 Stopped after three games to save Yasui face.
1706 Honinbo Dochi, Inoue Dosetsu Inseki 3-1-6
1773 Komatsu Kaizen, Wakayama Ritcho Unknown Two game results unknown, however score was 4-4.
1777-8 Honinbo Retsugen, Komatsu Kaizen 5-0-5
1790 Miyashige Rakuzan, Nakano Chitoku Unknown Many game results unknown.
1821 Honinbo Jowa, Shinomiya Yonezo 5-1-4
1857 Murase Yakichi, Narabayashi Kurakichi 7-0-3
1857 Hattori Hajime, Murase Yakichi 2-1-7
1859 Ebisawa Kenzo, Honinbo Shusaku
1859 Murase Yakichi, Takasaki Tainosuke 5-0-5
1859 Kajikawa Shurei, Murase Yakichi 4-1-5
1860 Honinbo Shuwa, Murase Yakichi
1861 Honinbo Shusaku, Murase Shuho 3-1-6
1863 Murase Shuho, Yoshida Hanjuro
1870 Hayashi Shuei, Ito Showa 3-1-6
1876-7 Fujita Hosaku?, Hayashi Shuei
1877 Hayashi Shuei, Kuroda Shunsetsu 5-0-5
1877-8 Kobayashi Tetsujiro, Tsuchiya Momosaburo
1883 Iwasaki Kenzo, Takahashi Kinesaburo
1884 Mizutani Nuiji, Takahashi Kinesaburo 6-0-4
1884-6 Honinbo Shuei, Murase Shuho 5-0-5 Reconciliation match, turned into jubango.
1890 Kobayashi Tetsujiro, Tamura Yasuhisa
1892 Ishii Senji, Kobayashi Tetsujiro Sponsored by Aoyama Chuhei?.
1895 Hirose Heijiro, Tanaka Masaki 6-0-4
1895-6 Ishii Senji, Tamura Yasuhisa 2-1-7 Played at the residence of Toyama Mitsuru.
1896 Honinbo Shuei, Ishii Senji 8-0-2
1897 Ishii Senji, Tamura Yasuhisa 2-1-7
1897 Honinbo Shuei, Yasui Sanei 6-0-4
1897 Tamura Yasuhisa, Yasui Sanei
1897 Tamura Yasuhisa, Tsuchiya Shugen 5-0-5
1897-8 Ishii Senji, Tamura Yasuhisa 5-0-5
1898 Honinbo Shuei, Yasui Sanei 8-0-2
1899 Karigane Junichi, Tamura Yasuhisa 4-0-6 Sponsored by Inukai Tsuyoshi & Takada Tamiko.
1899 Ishii Senji, Tamura Yasuhisa
1900-1 Iwasa Kei, Tamura Yasuhisa
1900 Honinbo Shuei, Karigane Junichi 6-0-4 Sponsored by Takada Tamiko. See Shuei-Karigane Jubango
1901-2 Hirose Heijiro, Ishii Senji 8-0-2
1902 Hirose Heijiro, Tamura Yasuhisa Sponsored by Hashimoto Teisei?.
1902-3 Iwasa Kei, Tamura Yasuhisa Sponsored by Mr. Ao?.
1903-4 Iwasa Kei, Nagano Keijiro Unknown Stopped after game eight.
1907 Hirose Heijiro, Izawa Genkichi? Sponsored by Toyama Mitsuru.
1907-8 Nakagawa Senji, Tamura Yasuhisa 1-0-5 Tamura Yasuhisa becomes Honinbo Shusai during match. Stopped after game six.
1909-11 Hirose Heijiro, Honinbo Shusai Sponsored by Tokyo Asahi Shinbun?.
1909-11 Honinbo Shusai, Inoue Inseki XV 7-0-2 Sponsored by Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun?. Publication of final game interrupted because of Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun & Mainichi Denpo? merger.
1910 Izumi Kiichiro, Tamura Kahei
1911-4 Honinbo Shusai, Iwasa Kei 5-0-5 Sponsored by Tokyo Asahi Shinbun?.
1927-30 Nozawa Chikucho, Suzuki Tamejiro
1933-4 Go Seigen, Kitani Minoru 3-0-3 Sponsored by Jiji Shinpo. Stopped after game six when Kitani was promoted to 6-dan.
1933-4 Izumo Eiji, Takagawa Kaku
1933-4 Hayase Harutake, Takagawa Kaku
1939-41 Go Seigen, Kitani Minoru 6-0-4 See Kamakura jubango
1941-2 Go Seigen, Karigane Junichi 4-0-1 Stopped after game five to save Karigane face.
1942-3 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Watanabe Shokichi
1942-4 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Go Seigen 6-0-4
1944-5 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Hashimoto Utaro 1-1-1 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun. Stopped after game three.
1946-8 Go Seigen, Hashimoto Utaro 6-1-3 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1948-9 Go Seigen, Iwamoto Kaoru 7-1-2 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1949-50 Go Seigen, Team of 10 Professionals 8-1-1
1950-1 Go Seigen, Hashimoto Utaro 5-2-3 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1951-2 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Go Seigen 1-2-7 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1952-3 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Go Seigen 1-0-5 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun. Stopped after game six to save Fujisawa face.
1953-4 Go Seigen, Sakata Eio 6-0-2 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun. Stopped after game eight by match rules stipulated beforehand.
1954-5 Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Hashimoto Utaro 3-0-7 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1955-6 Go Seigen, Takagawa Shukaku 6-0-4 Sponsored by Yomiuri Shinbun.
1957 Rin Kaiho, Yasunaga Hajime 3-1-2 Stopped after game six.
1962 Kajiwara Takeo, Kikuchi Yasuro 4-1-5 Sponsored by Igo Shunju magazine.
2002-3 Park Jieun, Rui Naiwei 5-0-5 Sponsored by Tygem.
2003-4 Kwon Hyojin, Meng Zhaoyu 6-0-4
2014 Gu Li, Lee Sedol 2-0-6 Sponsored by MLily. Stopped after Sedol secured sixth win. [ext] Report See also Lee Sedol - Gu Li rivalry

Match Notes

1705-6 - Honinbo Dochi 4d vs. Yasui Senkaku 6d: Senkaku had refused to let Dochi play on even against him in the Castle Games, even though he knew Dochi was stronger than his rank. A sogo of ten games was arranged, with the compromise handicap of sen-ai-sen.

Dochi won the first game from a desperate position by finding an exquisite and famous yose tesuji, then went on to win the second and the third with white. Senkaku saw he had no hopes: he abandoned the challenge, apologising and accepting to play Dochi on even terms. (the famous tesuji)

1861 - Murase Shuho 6d vs. Honinbo Shusaku 7d: a friendly jubango with Shuho playing at jou-sen. Shuho won 6-3-1 Jigo.

1884-86 - Honinbo Shuei 5d vs. Murase Shuho 8d: a famous, overdue reconciliation match between the long-time friends, with Shuei playing at jou-sen. Helped to mark Shuho's ascension to head of the Honinbo house.

1907-8 - Nakagawa Senji 6d vs. Tamura Yasuhisa 7d: during this match Tamura Yasuhisa became Honinbo Shusai.

1933-34 - Go Seigen 5d vs. Kitani Minoru 5d: The match was abandoned at 3-3, due to Kitani being promoted from 5d to 6d.

1939-40 - Go Seigen 7d vs. Kitani Minoru 7d: 6-4 (started even, Kitani was beaten down to sen-ai-sen handicap after 6 games (5-1)). There were only five 7d players at the time, but three of them were from the older generation. The match was regared as the fight to determine who was the real #1 in the world. Before the match, Kitani and Go were considered two of the best players. After the match, Go was considered the undisputed #1, and Kitani's career never recovered.

1941-2 - Go Seigen 7d vs. Karigane Junichi 8d: 4-1 (started even, abandoned to avoid possible embarrassment for Karigane, since one more loss would mean Karigane having to play with sen-ai-sen handicap). Karigane was probably the number two player after Shusai in the world for the period between 1907 and 1926.

1942-4 - Fujisawa Kuranosuke 6d vs. Go Seigen 8d: 4-6 (started with Fujisawa playing with josen handicap; handicap not changed). Fujisawa was very young and held great potential. Some even considered him a strong candidate to be the next Meijin (long before the title was converted into a tournament).

1946-8 - Go Seigen 8d vs. Hashimoto Utaro 8d: 6-3-1 (started even, Hashimoto was beaten down to sen-ai-sen handicap after 8 games (6-2)). After WWII, Go abandoned playing go completely and lost his Nihon Ki-in membership. This match brought him back to playing go again. Hashimoto won the first game easily. After the game, Hashimoto told people "Even Go Seigen doesn't know how to play go now". In the second game, Hashimoto was far ahead until the end game. For some reason, Hashimoto lost his focus and lost this game. Starting from game 3, Go was back in form, and Hashimoto could no longer hold his own. After the match, Go Seigen once again was back to the top of the Go world.

1948-9 - Go Seigen 8d vs. Iwamoto Kaoru Honinbo: 7-2-1 (started even, Iwamoto was beaten down to sen-ai-sen handicap handicap after 6 games (5-1)). Iwamoto (8d) was the Honinbo title holder at the time.

1949-50 - Go Seigen 8d vs. a team of 10 6d & 7d players (with 6d playing with josen handicap, 7d playing with sen-ai-sen handicap): 8-1-1 (The loss was against Kubouchi Shuchi, the jigo against Sumino Takeshi). Go Seigen was not a member of Nihon Ki-in at this time, and he coundn't participate in any regular Nihon Ki-in matches. Meanwhile, Fujisawa Kuranosuke was promoted all the way to 9p by the Nihon Kiin through a point-based promotion system that was instituted after the war; while Go Seigen, considered by many to be the #1 player in the world, was still stuck at 8p. This match was arranged as a promotion match for Go Seigen, and given his impressive results in this Jubango, he was promoted to 9d via special recommendation by the Nihon Kiin. This promotion created the unprecedented situation of there being two 9p players at the same time (previously, 9d is the special reserve of Meijin).

1950-1 - Go Seigen 9d vs. Hashimoto Utaro Honinbo: 5-3-2 (started with Hashimoto playing with sen-ai-sen handicap, handicap not changed). Hashimoto (8d) was Honinbo title holder at the time. The match was played as a stop-gap while the Yomiuri newspaper negotiated a Jubango between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke, the only two 9d players at the time.

1951-2 - Fujisawa Kuranosuke 9d vs. Go Seigen 9d: 7-2-1 (started even, Fujisawa was beaten down to sen-ai-sen handicap after 9 games (6-2-1)). This was a highly anticipated match, as it pitted the only two 9d players against each other to determine the strongest player of the day. Fujisawa was beaten down one rank and thoroughly outplayed by Go Seigen. This was a great humiliation for Fujisawa, who as the only other 9d, was expected to be Go Seigen's sole equal. Fujisawa refused to accept this state of affairs and promptly challenged Go Seigen to another Jubango.

1952-3 - Fujisawa Kuranosuke 9d vs. Go Seigen 9d: 5-1 (abandoned after Fujisawa was beaten down from sen-ai-sen handicap to josen handicap). Fujisawa suffered yet another humiliating defeat and was further beaten down to the handicap of playing black in every game against Go Seigen. To avoid further embarrassment to Fujisawa, this match was abandoned after the 6th game. Fujisawa's career was in ruins, and thereafter he resigned from the Nihon Kiin and went into semi-retirement, changing his given name to Hosai.

1953-4 - Go Seigen 9d vs. Sakata Eio 8d: 6-2 (abandoned after Sakata was beaten down from sen-ai-sen handicap to josen handicap). Due to Sakata's previous victory over Go Seigen in a six game match, Sakata was seen as having the best chance to defeat Go Seigen in a Jubango. Despite having the advantage of playing at sen-ai-sen handicap, Sakata was savagely beaten down to josen handicap in only 8 games. The match was stopped according to rules stipulated beforehand.

1954-5 - Fujisawa Kuranosuke 9d vs. Hashimoto Utaro 9d: Hashimoto won 6-3, beating Fujisawa down to sen-ai-sen. A very detailed account of this historic match can be found [ext] here.

1955-6 - Go Seigen 9d vs. Takagawa Kaku Honinbo: 6-4 (started even, Takagawa was beaten down to sen-ai-sen handicap after 8 games (6-2)). Takagawa (8d) was the Honinbo title holder at the time (he would go on to hold that title for nine consecutive years), but Go Seigen easily dispatched Takagawa in this Jubango. This was to be Go Seigen's last Jubango, as there were no credible opponents left to continue the matches; during the previous two decades, Go Seigen had beaten all the top players and proved that he was, at the very least, one rank stronger than any of them.


[1] More information on pro handicaps before the advent of komi can be found on the Match Handicap System page.

Some Questions

valerio: have you notice of other odd matches? Some suggestions are (very incomplete list): 1- Jowa-Rittetsu (20 games), 2- Hattori Inshuku-Yamamoto Genkichi (30 games), 3- Yamamoto Genkichi-Okunuki Chisaku, 4- Okunuki Chisaku-Suzuki Chisei (100 friendly games), 5- Sekiyama Sendaiu against Shusaku and Shuho, 6- various matches between Shusai and Ishii Senji (mainly jubango), 7- Shusai against Suzuki and against Segoe, 8- Takagawa against Go Seigen and Sakata, 9- Go Seigen against various players in one match, and many others? Are they eligible for inclusion in the list above or in a separate list or page?

See Also

Jubango last edited by hnishy on June 21, 2024 - 03:41
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