According to this site and also Wikipedia, the Honinbo school closed in 1940 despite being Japan's most prestigious Go school, open since the 1621. I am curious as to why the school closed. In 1940 Japan was obviously in a very imperial mode and though under economic pressure was not close to loosing its wars. One would have thought such cultural institutions would be protected at such a time. So it surprises me a little. Can anyone give the background to this closure?
Bob McGuigan: I suppose it closed because the Nihon Ki-in had been in existence for more than ten years and had taken over the certification and promotion of professionals. Furthermore, Shusai turned the Honinbo title over to the Nihon Ki-in and the title was no longer connected to the school. The Honinbo title become determined through a tournament. The first tournament began in 1939 and the first tournament Honinbo was Sekiyama Riichi.
Thanks for the reply! Helps me to understand. I must admit I still find it odd they closed down such an old and prestigious school in that way but perhaps I have some preconceptions about exactly what a school is that don't really fit.
All the traditional go schools closed. They had been subsidized by a government, the shogunate, that ended in 1867. The loss of government funding meant that a new way of organizing professional go needed to be found. Eventually the current system emerged. Shusai Honinbo was a member of the Nihon Kiin and, instead of appointing a new Honinbo, ceded (sold) the title to the Nihon Kiin. In a way, since it confers the Honinbo title, the Nihon Kiin may be considered the successor to the Honinbo school, or its continuation. Nobody confers the title of Inseki now.