Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) is known as a scholar of the nineteenth century in Japan, as the country was changing from the Tokugawa feudal era to modernized Meiji era.
Fukuzawa first thought the Dutch language was important, but he soon recognized English to be even more important.
At that time, Dutch or English study was considered not mere study of a foreign language but a much wider study, extending to the fields of science and art and even to the way of life in modern Europe.
Fukuzawa opened a small private school in Tsukiji, Tokyo, which was then called by its old name, Edo, in October 1858.
After ten years, the school was moved to Shiba, Tokyo, and newly named Keio School. This was the origin of what is known as Keio University today.
The university now has departments of law, politics, literature, economics, commerce, medicine, pharmacology, engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, information technology, etc.
It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.
Fukuzawa is today respected as an intellectual leader in the modernization of the Japan of his time, and his face appears Japan’s 10,000-yen note.
Go in Japan
This fascinating board game, familiar by the names “Igo” and “Go” in Japanese (the two terms are homonymous), is called “Weiqi” in Chinese and “Baduk” in Korean.
They are all basically the same game, although there are a few minor differences in the rules.
Such differences of rules are so trivial that Chinese, Korean, and Japanese can play the same game under fairly common rules.
It would be appropriate to consider that Go started millennia ago in China, although it is difficult to determine exactly where or when the game originated.
Go was introduced to Japan more than a thousand years ago from China, and it became very popular in Japan from the time of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu in the latter part of the sixteenth century.
In particular, the three centuries of the Tokugawa era (1603-1867) were a glorious period during which Go was promoted by the feudal government.
Many professional Go players were receiving income from the government.
After the Tokugawa feudal government was dissolved and Japan became a modernized nation under the Meiji emperor in the nineteenth century, Go continued to be popular, and there continued to be many professional players survived.
Over the past 400 years, the technical study of Go showed remarkable development, and Japan became the leading country of Go.
This situation continued up until about 1960.
Today, however, Go has become an international game.
Some people consider that it is sad that Japanese players are not the strongest.
But many of us are pleased to observe that the game has become truly international, with Japanese professional often defeated by Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese players, just as Judo became a truly international sport when the Dutch judoka Anton Geesink defeated Japan’s Akio Kaminaga to become world champion in 1961.
In the future, it will not be surprising if an American or European player becomes a world champion.
In Japan, there are two organizations consisting of professional players.
One is Nihon Kiin and the other is Kansai Kiin.
All Keio Igo Association
Like many other universities, Keio University has many clubs for sports and cultural activities, and the Igo Club is one of them.
The Igo Club participates in official regular games among universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area and in the Kansai district centering on Kyoto and Osaka.
Today there is an exclusive club made up of graduates of the Keio University Igo Club. It is called the Keio University Igo Club OBOG Association.
In 2008, Mr. Isao Yamashita, former president of this organization, proposed to establish another organization of Go lovers among Keio alumni.
Thus in May 2008, this new organization, All Keio Igo Association (or Mita Igo Association), was officially established. This new organization welcomes any graduate of Keio University who is fond of Go as a hobby.
Members do not need to be strong players or to have experience of being a member of the University Igo Club. Keio University and lower school students are also welcomed as associate members of this association.
The number of members has been increasing steadily, and it stood at about 370 at the beginning of 2010.
However, quite a few members are living in faraway places, such as Hokkaido or southern islands, and it is not easy to hold meetings of members very often.
Thus we place an emphasis on the importance of local sub-group activities and also utilization of the Internet to play Go games.
We now have three systems, net Go (real-time Go), board Go (waiting-time Go) and mail Go
(similar to board Go, but information goes back and forth only between two players).
In the past two years, we have been successful in organizing international friendly Go games with clubs in Brisbane, Australia, and Fuerth, Germany.
We wish to be able to expand such activities in the future.
Overseas Guests on Net Go and Board Go
All Keio Igo Association decided to strengthen our relationships with Overseas Go Clubs and we are welcoming guests at our Net Go and Board Go rooms.
We are sorry to say that you are qualified for a membership of our association only in case you are a graduate of Keio University.
However, we will welcome you to peek the rooms to enjoy observing ongoing games.
The following list shows the organizations with which we have established firm relationships and their registered members are welcomed at our Net Go and Board Go rooms as special guests.
1.Brisbane Go Club, Australia since 2004
2.Yonsei University Baduk Club Alumni Association, Korea since 2008
3.Fuerth Go Club, Germany since 2010