Myth of Origin

    Keywords: Culture & History

There are several theories and legends about the origin of the game. One legend tells of a semi-legendary emperor Yao (allegedly 2337-2258 BC) who was dissatisfied with his son's nonserious behaviour, and had one of his advisors (called Shun) invent a game which was meant to teach his son tactics, strategy and concentration. Shun then invented Go. Apparently the emperor's son thought little of it and discarded it saying that whoever played first would always win. This behaviour upset his father, who skipped him in the line of succession and appointed Shun his heir.

While the story of Yao and Shun was widely known and is told in the earliest records on chinese history (like the Shu Jing 書經), the idea of Go originating there only appears during the Han Dynasty . At that time confucianism was declared official state doctrine, which considered Go primarily a waste of time. Yao and Shun were very highly regarded by confucianists as morally perfect sage-rulers of the distant past, so it is quite likely this legend was created by Go players of the Han who wanted to legitimize their addiction and the resulting neglect of their social duties.

Myth of Origin last edited by Dieter on July 11, 2008 - 17:11
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