Hikaru no Go

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Hikaru no Go
Hikaru no Go.jpg
Cover of the first tankōbon volume, featuring Hikaru Shindo.
Written byYumi Hotta
Illustrated byTakeshi Obata
Published byShueisha
English publisher
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
Original runJanuary 8, 1999July 14, 2003
Volumes23 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by
  • Susumu Nishizawa (#1–15)
  • Jun Kamiya (#16–58)
  • Tetsuya Endo (#58–75)
Written byYukiyoshi Ōhashi
Music byKei Wakakusa
Licensed by
Viz Media
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
Original run October 10, 2001 March 26, 2003
Episodes75 (List of episodes)
Anime television film
Hikaru no Go: Journey to the North Star Cup
Directed by
  • Junichi Watanabe
  • Kunitoshi Okajima
  • Masoho Itō
Written by
Music byKei Wakakusa
Original networkTV Tokyo
ReleasedJanuary 3, 2004
Runtime77 minutes
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Hikaru no Go (ヒカルの碁, lit. "Hikaru's Go") is a Japanese manga series based on the board game Go, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The production of the series' Go games was supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1999 to 2003, with the chapters collected into 23 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.

It was adapted into an anime television series by Studio Pierrot, that ran for 75 episodes from 2001 to 2003 on TV Tokyo, with a New Year's Special aired in January 2004. Viz Media released both the manga and anime in North America; they serialized the manga in Shonen Jump in addition to releasing its collected volumes in entirety, while the anime aired on ImaginAsian in addition to a DVD release that was cancelled prematurely.

Hikaru no Go was well-received, with over 25 million copies in circulation and winning the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000 and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2003. It is largely responsible for popularizing Go among the youth of Japan since its debut,[4] and considered by Go players everywhere to have sparked worldwide interest in the game, noticeably increasing the Go-playing population around the globe.[5]


While exploring his grandfather's shed, Hikaru Shindo stumbles across a Go board haunted by the spirit of Fujiwara-no-Sai, a Go player from the Heian era. Sai wishes to play Go again, having not been able to since the late Edo period, when his ghost appeared to Honinbo Shusaku, a top Go player of that period. Sai's greatest desire is to attain the Kami no Itte (神の一手, "Divine Move") – a perfect move. Because Hikaru is apparently the only person who can perceive him, Sai inhabits a part of Hikaru's mind as a separate personality, coexisting, although not always comfortably, with the young boy.

Urged by Sai, Hikaru begins playing Go despite an initial lack of interest in the game. He begins by simply executing the moves Sai dictates to him, but Sai tells him to try to understand each move. In a Go salon, Hikaru twice defeats Akira Toya, a boy his age who plays Go at professional level, by following Sai's instruction. Akira subsequently begins a quest to discover the source of Hikaru's strength, an obsession which will come to dominate his life.

Hikaru becomes intrigued by the great dedication of Akira and Sai to the game and decides to start playing solely on his own. He is a complete novice at first, but has some unique abilities to his advantage; for instance, once he has a basic understanding of Go, he can reconstruct a game play by play from memory. Through training at Go clubs, study groups, and practice games with Sai, he manages to become an Insei and later a pro, meeting various dedicated Go players of different ages and styles along the way. He also demonstrates a natural talent for the game and remains determined to prove his own abilities to Akira, Sai, and himself.

Hikaru enters the Hokuto Cup, an international tournament for under-18 Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Go professionals. As the highest-ranking under-18 pro, Akira qualifies for the tournament, but Hikaru has to compete in a series of games to become one of the three Japanese competitors. His friends Waya and Ochi also enter the qualifying matches. He meets Kiyoharu Yashiro, a player from the Kansai Ki-in, whose style is as strange and offbeat as his own. Hikaru, along with Akira and Kiyoharu Yashiro, are selected to represent Japan, while Suyong Hong (a Korean Go player who was beaten by Hikaru earlier in the series) and two others represent Korea and three of Shinichiro Isumi's Chinese friends represent their country.

The captain of the Korean Go team, Ko Yong Ha, is interviewed and his remarks are translated for Japanese viewers. The translator makes an error which causes it to appear that he is disparaging the skill of Honinbo Shusaku, who, like Hikaru, was possessed by Sai. Although Ko Yong Ha later finds out, he refuses to correct the error and instead emphasizes it when he realizes that it enrages Hikaru, who takes it as a direct affront to Sai. Considering their achievements and skills, Hikaru is still slightly under Akira. Therefore, their team coach, Atsushi Kurata, chooses Akira to be the captain. However, Hikaru wants to play against Ko Yong Ha, who is the captain in Korea, in order to show him that Sai is the most skillful Go player in the history of the game. Atsushi Kurata grants Hikaru's request when they play against Korea in the tournament because he sees the burning spirit in him. At the end, Hikaru loses by only half a point. Japan eventually comes in last, behind Korea and China. But the Japanese team impressed both professionals from China and Korea because they did much better than what was expected. At the end of the game, Ko Yong Ha asks Hikaru for his reason for playing Go. With tears in his eyes, he answers with the line "To link the far past, with the far future". The hidden meaning of this line indicates the links and emotional relationships between Sai, Shusaku, and Hikaru. However, no one understands the context of this line besides Hikaru.

A bonus story, set shortly after the Hokuto Cup event, shows two Inseis, who are ranked 14th and 16th in the group, discussing whether Akira Toya or Hikaru Shindo were stronger. In the Young Lions tournament, they are each paired with Hikaru and Akira, making them change their minds about who is stronger. In the second round, Hikaru and Akira are paired against each other and begin a match, but the conclusion is unknown.



Written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, Hikaru no Go was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from January 8, 1999 to July 14, 2003.[6][7] Go professional Yukari Umezawa (5-dan) provided "supervision" for the series. The 189 chapters were collected into 23 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha; the first published on April 30, 1999 and the last on September 4, 2003.[8][9]

Viz Media acquired the North American English-language rights to Hikaru no Go in June 2003.[1] The series debuted in the January 2004 issue of Viz's Shonen Jump magazine, released in December 2003.[10] However, after the April 2008 issue it was replaced by Slam Dunk.[11] They released all 23 collected volumes from May 19, 2004 to May 3, 2011.[12][13] Unlike the Shonen Jump serialization, the collected volumes from Viz were censored. Instances of cigarettes were removed, as were some clothing designs and actual trademarks.


Hikaru no Go was adapted into an anime television series by Studio Pierrot. It was broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 10, 2001 to March 26, 2003 for 75 episodes. A New Year's Special titled Hikaru no Go: Journey to the North Star Cup (ヒカルの碁 スペシャル 北斗杯への道, Hikaru no Go Hokuto-hai e no Michi) aired on January 3, 2004.

Viz Media acquired the North American English-language rights to the Hikaru no Go anime at the same time as the manga, in June 2003.[1] The Ocean Group produced an English voice dub for the series. A "Sneak Preview" DVD of the first episode was included in the January 2006 issue of Shonen Jump (Volume 4, Issue 1) to subscribers. Viz began releasing the series on DVD on December 27, 2005.[14] However, only eleven volumes were released (covering 45 episodes) before they were officially discontinued in April 2008.[15] Hikaru no Go debuted on ImaginAsian TV in the United States on May 2, 2006. Each episode aired in subtitled Japanese every Tuesday, before the English dub of the same episode was shown on Saturday.[16] It premiered on the online streaming service Toonami Jetstream on July 14, 2006,[17] and ran until the service shut down in January 2009 with only three episodes remaining.[18] The entire series was added to Netflix in April 2011 but is no longer available.[19]

Other media[edit]

A series of three Go video games based on the series were created by Konami for the Game Boy Advance. The third was also released on the GameCube. Hikaru and Sai also appear as support characters in the Weekly Shōnen Jump crossover game Jump Super Stars.


Hikaru no Go has been well-received, with more than 25 million collected volumes in circulation.[20] It also won the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000[21] and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2003. In November 2014, readers of Media Factory's Da Vinci magazine voted Hikaru no Go number 14 on a list of Weekly Shōnen Jump's greatest manga series of all time.[22]

Hikaru no Go dramatically increased the popularity of Go in Japan and elsewhere, particularly among young children.[4][23] As a result, many Go clubs were started by people influenced by the manga.

Go professional Yukari Umezawa served as the technical advisor for the anime and promoted the game on behalf of the Nihon Ki-in.[23] She had a short one-minute special at the end of every episode instructing kids how to play Go. One of the reasons she helped increase Go's popularity was from being called the "best looking Go professional".[citation needed]

In 2004, Hikaru no Go came in 18th on Animage readers poll of their Favorite Anime Series.[24] In TV Asahi's 2008 Top 100 Anime poll, the series came in 83rd in the nationwide survey of multiple age groups and 93rd in the online poll.[25][26] The following year, it came in 81st in the online poll.[27]

See also[edit]

  • Go Player, a Chinese animated series about young Go players


  1. ^ a b c Phillips, George (June 30, 2003). "Hikaru no Go Licensor Announced". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Sondhi, Jason (October 30, 2004). "Hikaru no Go GN 1 - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Official Website for Hikaru no Go". Viz Media. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Shimatsuka, Yoko. "Do Not Pass Go". Asiaweek. 27 (25): 54. ISSN 1012-6244. Archived from the original on June 10, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  5. ^ Johnson-Woods, Toni (April 15, 2010). Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781441155696.
  6. ^ 週刊少年ジャンプ 1999年 表示号数2. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "2003年Vol.33" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  8. ^ ヒカルの碁 1 [Hikaru no Go, Vol. 1] (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  9. ^ ヒカルの碁 23 [Hikaru no Go, Vol. 23] (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  10. ^ "Hikaru No Go starts in December". Anime News Network. November 11, 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  11. ^ "USA's Shonen Jump Replaces Hikaru no Go with Slam Dunk". Anime News Network. February 28, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Hikaru no Go, Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  13. ^ "North American Anime, Manga Releases, May 1–7". Anime News Network. May 3, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "Hikaru no Go and Naruto Video Details". Anime News Network. October 14, 2005. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  15. ^ "Viz Plans Hunter X Hunter Release in DVD Season Boxes". Anime News Network. April 21, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  16. ^ "Hikaru no Go and Shingu on iaTV". Anime News Network. April 28, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  17. ^ "Toonami Rides Jetstream to Early Arrival". Anime News Network. July 14, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  18. ^ "Toonami Jetstream Video-Streaming Service Shuts Down". Anime News Network. January 31, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  19. ^ "Netflix Streams Inuyasha, Hikaru no Go, Naruto, Bleach". Anime News Network. April 1, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  20. ^ ほったゆみ : 「ヒカルの碁」原作者が8年ぶり新作「はじマン」連載 自らマンガ執筆. Mainichi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). May 16, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  21. ^ 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  22. ^ ""Da Vinci" Magazine Asks Japanese Readers to Name Greatest "Shonen Jump" Manga". Crunchyroll. November 13, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  23. ^ a b Scanlon, Charles (August 1, 2002). "Young Japanese go for Go". BBC News. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  24. ^ "Animage Awards". Anime News Network. May 12, 2004. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  25. ^ "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime Part 2". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  26. ^ "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  27. ^ "Japan's Favorite TV Anime". Anime News Network. October 12, 2006. Retrieved June 27, 2015.

External links[edit]