How to Play Go, by Takagawa Shukaku. Nihon Kiin; 1956.

This is an introduction to the game. It's decent but unexceptional (which is a step up from some of the earlier introductory go books); I'm running out of ways to describe all of these different but unexceptional introductory go books, so I won't try here. Suffice it to say that there's no reason to buy this book unless you're a collector.

I think that this was the first go book that the Nihon Kiin published in English. It was reprinted in 1982 together with Takagawa's The Vital Points of Go by the Sabaki Go Company under the title Go!.

Tim Jennings said to me about this and Takagawa's The Vital Points of Go,

Maybe you had to be there, but when they became available they were like water in the desert. The other books were SO perverse & destructive. I just fell in love.

When I asked him for more comments, he said

It was all so long ago.... there was the Dover book and the Tuttle book [I assume he means Lasker and Smith - david], and they both seemed written by people who did not understand the game, and who were being purposely confusing in order to hide the fact. I "played" for three or four years with no other guide except the booklet that came with the board, which was actually much more helpful than either of the other two books, which isn't saying much. Takagawa wanted to open the game to "women and westerners;" How To was kindly, friendly, completely undidactic, clear as water, every page was an "Oh! Oh! I get it!" Vital Points balanced clarity and depth-- there was plenty go get intuitively right away, and you could return to it again and again with renewed appreciation.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:53:56 PDT 2003