Honinbo Jowa

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Honinbo Jowa
Full name Honinbo Jowa
Kanji 本因坊丈和
Born 1787
Japan
Died 1847
Japan
Rank 8 dan

Honinbo Jowa (本因坊丈和, original name Todani Matsunosuke, 1787–1847) served as 12th Honinbo from 1827 and Meijin Godokoro from 1831 until 1839, when he was forced into retirement.

Jowa was born in Nagano, Japan in 1787. It was said that Jowa had great strength without equal. Historically he was accorded the title "latter sage" to match Dosaku who was known as the "former sage". At some point in the Meiji Era this title was transferred to the more popular Shusaku, as word was spread that Jowa made use of the contacts that Hayashi Gembi had within the government to help him attain the Meijin Godokoro position. However, even without playing a sogo, Jowa's strength was still apparent.

Later on in his life, Jowa also played one of the most famous games in Go history known as the "Blood-vomiting game". Gennan Inseki, a rival of Jowa's who had seen the coveted position of Meijin godokoro snatched away from him through less than honorable means, persuaded a rapidly improving pupil of his, Intetsu Akaboshi, to play a game on black against Jowa. Although Genan, an 8-dan, would probably take black the majority of the time against Jowa in a challenge match, he thought it would be more effective to have Akaboshi, a 7-dan, play against Jowa. If Jowa lost, he intended to argue that Jowa could certainly not be qualified to be Meijin if he couldn't defeat a 7-dan.[1] The match started with Jowa making an unreasonably aggressive move in the fuseki, and Akaboshi countering with a variation of the taisha joseki that was developed secretly in the Inoue house. However, as the four-day long game progressed, Jowa slowly clawed his way into the lead by playing three famous moves known as the "Ghost Moves". The three moves were supposedly brought to Jowa by ghosts, allowing him to grind Intetsu's lead away.

In the end, Jowa won, and as the stones were being cleared from the board, Akaboshi kneeled over the board and coughed up blood. Within a few weeks, he was dead. Genan's tactics for discrediting Jowa's worthiness of being appointed Meijin backfired spectacularly, as this game was the supreme triumph of Jowa's career.

Preceded by
Honinbo Satsugen
Meijin
1831–1839
Succeeded by
Honinbo Shuei
Preceded by
Honinbo Genjo
Honinbo
1827–1839
Succeeded by
Honinbo Josaku

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Power, John. Invincible; The Games of Shusaku, p.11. Tokyo, Japan: Kiseido Publishing Company, 1982.