ki character


The Chinese character 棋 refers to board games such as go and shogi. In the oldest Chinese texts it refers to a playing piece. The left-hand radical 木 provides the semantics of "wood", presumably referring to the wood of the pieces, while the right-hand side, 其, is phonetic in nature.


In Japanese, 棋, pronounced ki, is used to refer to go in compounds including the following frequently used terms:

  • kishi 棋士 (go professional)
  • kiri 棋理 (go theory)
  • kifu 棋譜 (go record)
  • kifuu 棋風 (go style)
  • kidou 棋道 (way/path of go)
  • kiryoku 棋力 (go strength)
  • kisei 棋聖 (go saint/sage)
  • kisen 棋戦 (go tournament)
  • ki-in 棋院 (go institute/association)

Less commonly used:

  • kihaku 棋伯 (go earl, i.e. a high dan player)
  • kikai 棋界 (go world, but more commonly shogi world)
  • kika 棋家 (go player)
  • kikyaku 棋客 (go player)

The character is also read go in cases such as the old go magazine Igo Shinpou (囲棋新報).


In Chinese, the character is pronounced q and used in the Chinese term for go, weiqi (圍棋 or 围棋), as well as the following words for go player:

  • 棋手 qshǒu
  • 棋師 qshi
  • 棋工 qgōng
  • 棋家 qjiā
  • 棋客 qk
  • 棋人 qrn

The first is most standard, the second also in modern use, the others obsolete.

The character is used for most other board games as well, such as Xiangqi (象棋), often known as Chinese chess. Conversely, chess is known as "international xiangqi" (國際象棋 or 国际象棋) or "Western xiangqi" (西洋象棋) in Chinese. Other board games that use the character include draughts (西洋跳棋) and gomoku (五子棋).

See also

ki character last edited by tealeaf on March 22, 2007 - 12:12
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library