In the Dark? Pro Biographies
Biographies of some Professionals
who visited the UK between 1999 and 2002
Note oriental family names shown first.
Michael was born in Santa Barbara in California on 25 May 1963. His American father was a keen go player and his English mother, None, does not play but is a keen promoter of kid's go in the US. During a professional visit his talent was spotted and he was invited to Japan for two summers, moving permanently to Japan at the age of 16. He became professional in 1981 and was the first westerner to make 9 dan in 2000, a year in which he also won a best commentator award. He is married to Niu Xian Xian, a Chinese pro, and has daughters Yumi and Emi (who is now 15 kyu). His best results have been getting to the quarterfinals in two world championships
Yuki was born on 18 December 1965 on Saito Island off the north coast of Japan's main island. Her family moved to Nagoya so that she could study Go, where she became a disciple of Shimamura 9 dan. She became shodan in 1986 and 2 dan in 1994. For five years she has lived in Milan and in 2000 married her Italian husband, Ivan Vigano. Her speciality in recent years has been touring western countries teaching children using the Yasuda method of capture Go. She has visited the UK several times. She returned to Japan in 2006 to work for the overseas department of the Nihon Kiin.
Magari sensei was born 13 November 1924 in Mie Prefecture (southern Japan). He was a disciple and later great friend of the late Iwamoto (founder of the London and European Go Centres). He became professional in 1942 and reached 9 dan in 1974. Five times he played in the Honinbo League and was noted for his aggressive style, which clashes with his current placid temperament. He travelled with Iwamoto to London for the opening of the Go Centre and also to Bristol in 1975. He often travelled abroad on Go promotion trips like that to the UK in October 2001.
Haruyama sensei was born 29 May 1946 in Gifu Prefecture (central Honshu). He was a disciple of Isogawa 8 dan and entered the Kitani Go School in 1956. He turned professional in 1960 and reached 9 dan in 1974. He is famous in the west as co-author of early English Go book "Basic Techniques of Go" (with Nagahara). He has made several promotion tours overseas; his first to the UK was that in October 2001.
O sensei was born in Taiwan, where he is known as Wang Licheng, on 7 November 1958. He moved to Japan in 1971 and became a professional there in 1972. He reached 9 dan in 1988. He has four time won the Oza, was second in the Fujitsu Cup in 1992 and in the LG Cup in 1998 (both World Championships). He beat Cho Chikun to become Kisei in 2000, kept the title in 2001 by beating Cho Sonjin and beat Ryu Shikun in 2002. The first game of this match was held in London.
Ryu sensei was born in Korea (where he is known as Yu Shihoon) on 8 December 1971. He moved to Japan where he became a professional in 1988. He is currently only 7 dan, because he has not won many games in the rating tournament (the Oteai), despite him being a top player in Japan with a string of titles to his name. He has won the Oza and the Tengen four times (last in 2000). He beat Cho Chikun in the play-off to challenge O Rissei for the 2002 Kisei (unsuccessfully).
Yukari was born 4 October 1973 in Tokyo. She studied at University winning the World Amateur Pair Go in 1994. She was a pupil of Kato Masao and became a professional in 1996 and reached 4 dan in 2000. She is famous in Japan through television commentaries and advertising. She is Go adviser on the cartoon series "Hikaru no Go" and has her own popular web site. She visited the UK with Inori Yoko in September 1999. On 11th January 2002 she married Yoshihara, goalkeeper for Kawasaki.
Yoko was born near Tokyo on 14 June 1974. She was a pupil of Kobayashi Koichi and became professional in 1996, qualifying in the open section. She reached 5 dan in 2000. She beat reigning champion Chinen Kaori to win the Women's Honinbo title in November 2000, but lost to her teacher's daughter Kobayashi Izumi (3-1) in November 2001. She is a great friend of Umezawa Yukari and visited the UK with her in September 1999. In January 2002 she won the RICOH Cup paired with Cho Chikun.
Kudo was born near Aomori on 2nd August 1940. He made pro in 1959 and 9 dan by 1976. He was an official at the Kisei Match in London and became IGF President and Chairman of the Nihon Kiin in 2004 on the death of Kato.
Kato was born 15th March 1947 in Fukuoka. He was in the Kitani Go School in 1959 and turned pro in 1964. He was made 9 dan in 1978. He won 14 titles between 1976 and 1980, holding 4 of the big seven titles at one time. He was Oza for 9 years in a row and most recently was 1997 Judan. He is known in the west for books "Attack and Kill" and "Chinese Fuseki". He was an official at the London Kisei Match. Kato became president of the IGF and chairman on the Nihon Kiin board in 2004, but unfortunately died in December 2004.
Narumi was born in Saitama on 22 May 1976. She was a pupil of Kikuchi and became professional in 1998. She became 2 dan in 1999, the year she won the Women's Kakusei. She was the London Kisei London game recorder.
Note: all the players above are from the Nihon Ki-in in Japan. Also visitors were Lui Yajie from China, Nam Chihyoung and Cho Hunhyun from Korea.
This page is one of a series of In The Dark articles.