Names for Go in Other Languages

    Keywords: Culture & History

The original name of the game Go is Yi (弈). The term Wei Qi (圍棋) was first recorded in Han Dynasty (206 BCE 220 ACE), which is the name used by Chinese and Japanese with different pronunciations. The accepted international name of the game of go comes from the Japanese Go-on (呉音) pronunciation, which was the pronunciation of Chinese characters based in Nanjing and eastern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang provinces introduced into Japan in the 5th and 6th centuries.

  • Japanese: go (碁) or igo (囲碁)
  • Chinese: weiqi (圍棋, simplified 围棋)
  • Korean: baduk (바둑)

The Korean Baduk is of unknown etymology origin. In addition, Ing Chang-Ki proposed the seldom-used alternative spelling goe. In Vietnamese, the game is known as cờ vy. As in Japanese but not Korean, the name is loaned from Chinese (but with order reversed due to Vietnamese syntax). Go was known among the Vietnamese elite in premodern times, but play in the modern era is mainly due to recent introductions from other countries.

Calligraphic images of the characters for Igo, Wei'qi, and Baduk can be found [ext] here.

Some version of the Japanese name "Go" is used in many languages. E.g. English, German, French, Spanish, Polish, etc all have "Go". Many other languages use something very similar (Го, Γκο, Goo, G, gos, etc). An easy way to see them is to view the links to other articles about Go in other languages at [ext] Wikipedia.

  • Russian: the term Облавные шашки (Oblavnye shashki) is sometimes used, which would translate as the encircling (or hunting) checkers.
  • Thai: หมากล้อม (mak-lom), meaning surrounding stones/board game.

Poetic names

  • Shou tan (Chinese) or Shudan (Japanese) -- hand talk 手談
  • Ranka -- rotted axe-handle 爛柯
  • Tendo -- heavenly way 天道 Tendō
  • Uro -- crows and herons 烏鷺
  • Hoen -- squares and circles 方円 Hōen

See also

Names for Go in Other Languages last edited by on January 10, 2024 - 17:57
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