The Life of Honinbo Shuei

The Life of Honinbo Shuei or Meijin of Meijins - The Life and Times of Honinbo Shuei is a Kindle book published on May 16, 2012 and paperback book published on April 18th, 2015 by John Fairbairn. It is Part one of six in the series The Life, Games, and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei.

[ext] Kindle Edition.
[ext] Paperback Edition
[ext] Announcement at Life in 19x19


Robert Jasiek:

General Specification :

  • Title: Meijin of Meijins - The Life and Times of Honinbo Shuei
  • Authors: John Fairbairn
  • Publisher: John Fairbairn [GoGoD Vintage Series]
  • Edition: 2015
  • Language: English
  • Price: EUR 10.69
  • Contents: history
  • ISBN: 9781508843054
  • Printing: good
  • Layout: almost good
  • Editing: good
  • Pages: 210
  • Size: 152mm x 229mm
  • Diagrams per Page on Average: 0
  • Method of Teaching: none
  • Read when EGF: 30k-7d
  • Subjective Rank Improvement: --
  • Subjective Topic Coverage: o
  • Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++


This history book is a biography of Honinbo Shuei and his social environment but also describes the relevant historical context of Japan mostly during the Meiji period. The contents was published as files together with Shuei's games. This book edition is almost without diagrams and a history text only. The reader can study games in other media, such as, obviously, GoGoD.

For a specialised book on go history, its price is incredibly cheap. The author does us lovers of printed books the favour to issue the medium at all with as little extra publication effort as necessary. For the price, one can expect nothing and can easily tolerate (but regrets) a missing index of names and the person's functions etc. Nevertheless, we get the full biography. Regardless of whether a different layout and font could have reduced the number of pages to, say, 150, the biography is as detailed as one can expect from a non-scientific book with carefully created contents.

It cannot be overlooked that the author must have read a great number of sources to enrich the book with colourful details and anecdotes. Sources sometimes are lacking information or different sources might contradict each other. Nevertheless, the author makes a great effort to describe most years in Shuei's life. For a few years, the book is a bit dry when the sources do not seem offer enough information. However, mostly it is an entertaining narrative. If there is a real drawback, I see it in the climax of the book's final question of how Shuei became so strong. The answer is disappointing and the serious student needs to study the games on his own.

Have you seen Shuei mentioned in the English literature before? You will be surprised. His development as a player and the Japanese go scene were not so clear as one might expect from the too well known titles Honinbo and Meijin. Learn about fires, murders and intrigues...

Should you buy this book? The price does not provide any reason to hesitate. You get what you expect: a thorough description of Shuei's life. Just do not expect to become a stronger player from reading this go history book. As such, you will not be disappointed.

The Life of Honinbo Shuei last edited by on January 18, 2022 - 23:38
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