Sugiuchi Kazuko

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Sugiuchi Kazuko's Nihon Ki-in photograph

Sugiuchi Kazuko (杉内 寿子), née Honda Kazuko (本田 寿子, born 6 Mar 1927, Kannami Village, Tagata District, Shizuoka Prefecture) is a Nihon Ki-in female professional Go player. She won 10 women’s titles in her long career. She may have won many more, had she not given up 10 of her prime years (most of her 30s) to prioritize raising her children.


Sugiuchi's given name is 寿子, which is read "Kazuko" in her case, but can also be read "Hisako" (both are kun'yomi readings of the characters). The name means a child with a long life or congratulations, which certainly fits her very well!

She learned Go from her father Eizo, a retired naval captain, starting at age 6. Eizo was inspired by the achievements of the top female professional Ito Tomoe, and encouraged Kazuko to learn Go to a high level. She was introduced to some professional players, and became Kita Fumiko's student in 1937.

Sugiuchi Kazuko is the eldest of three professional Go-playing sisters, all of whom have won the strongest women's tournaments. The other two are the late Honda Sachiko 6P (post-retirement promotion to 7P) and the retired Kusunoki Teruko 7P (post-retirement promotion to 8P).

She met her husband Sugiuchi Masao at the Fugyoku-kai, a research organization for young Go players. They married in 1954, and were married for 63 years until his death in 2017. In 1956, after her promotion to 6-dan, Kazuko took a 10-year break from Go to raise their children.

Go career

Sugiuchi became a pupil of Kita Fumiko starting age 10 in 1937. She became a professional in 1942. In 1944, she won all her games in the Oteai second division. As WW2 progressed, Kazuko, still a teenager, and her younger sisters were evacuated to the countryside.

In 1951, she was runner up in a Young Players' Championship. In 1953, as a 4-dan, she won the All-Japan Women's Championship from Ito Tomoe, another student of Kita Fumiko, and the inspiration for Kazuko's father to teach her Go. Sugiuchi defended next year against Suzuki Tsuna, another Kita student, followed by rebuffing Ito's challenges in the next two years. Then Sugiuchi temporarily retired for 10 years to raise her children, and Ito won the title five times in a row. During Kazuko's retirement, her husband had some of his best results: challenging for Honinbo in 1958 (for the second time), and won the Tokyo Shinbun Cup in 1962 and the Hayago Meijin in 1959.

Sugiuchi became the first woman to be promoted to 7-dan in 1973, then the first to reach 8-dan in 1983. She also won the Women's Kakusei in 1983 and 1986. Sugiuchi won the Women's Meijin from 1991–1994, losing in 1995 to her pupil Kato Tomoko, 42 years younger. At the age of 72, she was runner-up to Kobayashi Izumi, 50 years younger, in the 2nd Female Kisei in 1999.

Before December 2012, Sugiuchi held the record for most wins by a female professional in Japan (589 wins in professional games in her career). But Yoshida Mika beat the record by winning her 590th game on 6 December 2012. Sugiuchi reached 600 wins in 2014.

She and her husband attended the seventh U.S. Go Congress in Rochester, NY, in 1991.

Kato Tomoko and Kanno Naomi are Sugiuchi's pupils.

Until 2004, Sugiuchi served as the president of the Nihon Ki-in Go Players Association and the president of the Women's Go Players Association?.

Go playing in her 90s

After the death of her husband in 2017, Sugiuchi returned at the age of 91 to active play, competing for all 7 Japanese titles and 4 female tournaments. She loses more games than she wins, but is still a very dangerous opponent. E.g. in 2019, aged 92 she beat 50-years–younger Mizokami Tomochika 9P with White, and Fukui Masaaki 9p with Black—but he is only 17 years younger. The same year, Sugiuchi beat Mizokami's wife Kato Keiko, 6P and former Women's Meijin, 51 years younger.[ext] Sugiuchi Kazuko, Go rating profile and game list

In 2023, Sugiuchi set a new record for the oldest professional to win an official game (with kifu), aged 96 years and 1 month. In the Judan tournament, she beat Yokota Hinano 1P, 77 years younger. She might be on track to beat another record: oldest pro to win any tournament game—set by none other than her late husband Sugiuchi Masao 9-dan, 96 years and 10 months.[ext] Age Is Just a Number: 96-Year-Old Go Master Sets a New World Record If she played the new star Nakamura Sumire in a tournament, this would be an age difference of 82 years. This would break the previous record of the largest age difference between players in Nihon Kiin history—the 80 years also held by her late husband.[ext] Ryuhei Onishi 1st Dan (15 years old) defeats Masao Sugiuchi 9th Dan (95 years old) in an 80-year age difference match! (In Japanese)


  • Kido Award for Fighting Courage once (1972)
  • Women's Award twice (1973 and 1983)
  • Kishichiro Okura Award (1998)
  • Fourth Class Crown of Honor (1999)

Lowest Shusaku number of any living person?

If Sugiuchi ever played even one teaching game with her teacher Kita Fumiko, then she would have a Shusaku number of 3:

Honinbo Shusaku (0) → Honinbo Shuho (Murase Shuho) (1) → Kita Fumiko (2) → Sugiuchi Kazuko (3).

Head-to-head scores against other leading female players

(Based on [ext] Sugiuchi Kazuko, Go rating profile and game list, which starts in 1973, when Suguichi was already 46)

External links


sugiuchi kazuko female meijin 1993 (Image credit: 0)
Sugiuchi Kazuko, Female Meijin 1993 (Image credit:

Sugiuchi Masao and Kazuko in their younger days (Image credit: Reddit)
Sugiuchi Masao and Kazuko in their younger days (Image credit: Reddit

Sugiuchi Kazuko last edited by Jono64a on February 13, 2024 - 00:51
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