Rui Naiwei in Japan


An [ext] article written in 1992 by Samuel H Sloan discusses a particular situation concerming Rui Naiwei.[1] Rui participates in a study group with Go Seigen who has also been the victim of discrimination in Japanese go. See [ext] Top-flight go player slams glass ceiling (The Japan Times, Feb. 15, 2002)

Velobici: Having read the article, it is not at all clear that this is a case of discrimination against women. Rather the Nihon Kiin has decided that Rui Naiwei will not play professionally in Japan. In the intervening years, Rui has become a guest member of the Korean Go Association and in 2002 won all the women's titles in Korea. It appears that Rui's future is bright indeed. Korea has become a very strong go playing country. Her earlier troubles in Japan could be a blessing in disguise for it lead to her travelling to Korea and enjoying great success in that country.

Velobici: The issue may be non-Japanese coming to Japan at a later age or after becoming a professional elsewhere. Kobayashi Izumi played with the men in the [ext] Judan Tournament

Given this information, perhaps the issue is not sexism.

pwaldron: I got the inside scoop from a Westerner in Japan sometime ago. The reason that Rui Naiwei wasn't allowed to play at the Nihon Ki-in had everything to do with her being a woman, but perhaps not in the way you might think. The other Japanese women pros realized that with her around they wouldn't be able to win the women's only titles any more, with their associated prize money. They kicked up a big enough stink that the Nihon Ki-in had to deny Rui Naiwei's request to play in Japan.

Velobici: Ouch! Sounds like the issue is that she is strong and was prohibited from play for that reason, rather than everything to do with her being a woman. Go Seigen did not (was not allowed?) to compete in many Japanese title matches. He did compete in and win the Japan Strongest? Title matches twice, as well as competing in the Oteai. Another example of freezing out a player that is too strong?

pwaldron: The impressions I got from my discussions was that were Naiwei a strong man, she would be welcome. Being strong and being a woman was a combination that wouldn't fly, though.

Uberdude: So Rui Naiwei is significantly stronger than the Japanese female pros and wasn't welcome as she'd take all 'their' prize money. You say were she a man she would be welcome. My understanding is her strength is on a par with the top male pros. But what if she were a man and so far ahead of all the male Japanese pros as she is the female ones. Would (s)he still be welcome then? Isn't this rather like Go Seigen, who was also significantly stronger than his contemporaies?

--- Comment taken from L19:

John Fairbairn: At this point somebody will try to add, with a sage nod, "Ah, but what about Rui Naiwei?" That story has still not been properly told, but you need to factor in elements beyond government interference, such as stinking rows among eminent players in China (not Japan), and you need to forget the myth about Rui not being allowed to play in Japan. She played in the Eikyu Cup at the Kansai Ki-in, for example. In short, she is the exception that proves the rule. The rule of welcoming foreign players, on the right terms, still applies. ([ext]

[1] Bill: Not to diminish the importance of this question, I must add that Sam Sloan is not the most reliable source. I am not going to get into a discussion about him, but people can check out his writings on the Web and in newsgroups and make up their own minds.

PurpleHaze: Sam Sloan has made a spectacle of himself on the US chess scene for more than twenty years, that I am aware of. I do not know if he plays go or not, but he is obsessed with asian women. His home pages should give more than one could care to know about him: [ext] or [ext]

Rui Naiwei in Japan last edited by tapir on August 23, 2010 - 00:55
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