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The Nihon Ki-in (literally "Japan Go Institute") is the principal Japanese professional go organization. When the Japanese name is not used it is generally referred to in English go publications as the Japanese Go Association. The Nihon Kiin is based in Tokyo and was formed in July 1924. The main driver was the Kanto earthquake, which caused great financial hardship among the existing go groups of the time, namely Hoensha, Chuo Kiin and Hiseikai. Baron Okura Kishichiro was a primary patron of the new organization, investing ¥100,000 in a newly built hall in Tameike, Akasaka, completed in April 1926, and further supporting it with ¥1,000 a month through 1937. This hall (pictured below) was destroyed during World War II by the USAF strategic air campaign against the Japanese home islands.
The first president of the Nihon Ki-in was Makino Nobuaki?, a great go patron himself, with Okura Kishichiro serving as vice president. The vast majority of pros at the time joined the fledgling organization, excepting the Inoue faction in Osaka and Nozawa Chikucho. A brief splinter group called Kiseisha was created soon after the Nihon Ki-in was formed, but most of the players involved had returned to the Nihon Ki-in within a couple of years. There have been many other such groups over the years (see Outside the Ki-ins for a list). By far the most important is the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka, formed in 1950 and still active today.
There are two branches of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The main branch is in Ichigaya; if you have watched Hikaru no Go, you will have seen it often. Here is a picture of the Ichigaya branch in Google Street View.
The Yugen no ma is in this branch.
Playing at the Nihon Ki-in
If you go up to the second floor there is a public go salon and a shop selling books, boards etc. To play it costs 1100 Yen (current Dec 2010), you pay at the till then take the receipt over to a small table just to the right. They will then stamp it and take your name and rank giving you a card to fill in. They then match you with a appropriate player. This process may only be for visitors and you probably will need at least a little Japanese to get it all sorted.
The shop on the second floor is also well worth a visit, there is a large selection of books in Japanese and a much smaller section in English. The life and death problem books are pretty obvious (at least the ones for DDK-SSK level) and you can flick through them until you find the one that's about your level. The staff are all very helpfully but didn't speak much English.
The Hall of Fame and Museum is located on the basement floor. The entry is free.
Address: 7-2 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076
Nearest subway station: Ichigaya (Y14/S04/N09)
The other Tokyo branch is now in Yurakucho. It is more modern than the Ichigaya branch, but not as spacious. The address and schedule is on the page Japan Cool Places.
Web Site and YouTube?
- Japanese language - http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp
- English language - http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/index-e.htm
Current Japanese go news is posted to the English language site at irregular intervals, and there is an archive of older news going back to 1998. It pays particular attention to news of Western professionals at the Nihon Ki-in. This section has recently been titled the "Redmond Report" for detailing the activities of Michael Redmond 9-dan.
- Official YouTube channel (from February 2018)
- Nihon Ki-in brown cover series
- Nihon Ki-in red cover series
- Go, The World's Most Fascinating Game
- Dan level problem book series
- Heart of Go series, English translations The Heart Of Go Discovery series
- Nihon Ki-in Small Encyclopedias
- Pocket 200 series (Appears to be different from the English language Nihon Ki-in Pocket Series.)
- Selected readings for dan-level players. One translated to English as Takao's astute use of brute force.
- Tsugi no itte
- Bessatsu Igo Club - series of 'additional' (別冊) magazines, numbered 1-50. Published 1976-1984.
- NEW Bessatsu Igo Club? Another series numbered 1-41. Published 1984-1993.
- Nihon Ki-in Championship (defunct tournament)
- Nihon Ki-in Hall of Fame
- Nihon Ki-in new promotion system
- Nihon Ki-in new tournament system
- Nihon Ki-in Offices
- Nihon Ki-in Professionals
- Nihon Ki-in Professional Examination
- Professional Rank Histograms
- Shusai Prize for the best player of the year
- Okura Prize for promotion of Go
- Oteai (old promotion system)
- Yugen no Ma
- Professional Go Associations
- International Go Federation
- Page with contact information for the Nihon Kiin (Imagist: I didn't copy the contact information here because I'm afraid people will unwisely inundate them with emails. If there is a general feeling of disagreement, someone else can copy it over)