taking a name
Talking about historical players in Japanese is sometimes complicated because a player may have played under several different names. For instance, the hereditary Honinbos took closely related names (Shusaku, Shuwa, Shuei, Shuho).
Discussion moved from Shusaku
SillySmarch: Can someone please explain to me why the man called Torajirou took the name Shusaku, and what it means? I can't find this information in my books.
Andrew Grant: He took the name Shusaku because Shuwa told him to. Names like Shusaku, Shuwa, Shuho etc. are not their original names. It was traditional to take a new given name, usually one chosen by your teacher, if you became a high dan player in those days. Shusaku literally means "Skillful-Strategy". The "shu" character was taken from Shuwa's name and the "saku" from Shuwa's predecessor Josaku.
F Hayashi: It was also quite common to change your name at the drop of a hat back in those days in Japan. For instance, the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi didn't have that name when he was born. In the far east of the past, there wasn't that much importance put on one's given name. Even now, there are remnants of the practice in traditional positions, like the two head Sumo referees that take traditional names upon their promotion.
Bob McGuigan: The taking of a special name after a significant achievement continues to the present in go. Kato assumed a special name (Kensei) when he won the Honinbo title recently. I think in modern times this practice has been associated mostly with the Honinbo title. In the past, when someone became head of the Honinbo Go house he took Honinbo as his family name and the names we are familiar with (Jowa, Shuwa, Shuho, Shusai, etc) as given names. Gennan Inseki is another example of a Go player who changed his name.
Anomymous: As the 25th Honinbo, Cho Chikun might have changed his name to "Honinbo Shukun", but he refused to change his given name, and remained as "Honinbo Chikun".
Hyperpape In fact, the new pattern seems to be that Japanese born players may take a new name, while foreign born players definitely do not.