Cho Chikun - commentated matches

Some saint (Jonathan Hop) is translating NHK commentated matches and if you have an hour of spare time it is a total blast. (remember to turn on subtitles)

I am sure you can find the rest, but I have handpicked those featuring Cho Chikun for you, because, I mean obviously… Because it’s Cho Chikun. And the entartainment value is almost as high as the educational one. The way they think about the game is inspirational. Watch all five for (money back) guaranteed five stones improvement. (Cho as a commentator - must watch)

Also big thanks to Pond Turtle, who shared them with me.


Also since I am sure some of you, friends, speak Japanese, could you help me understand.

The commentators end almost every other sentence with some variation of desu-ne. From my three Japanese lectures I am under the impression it means something like in the UK where they end every sentence with “right?”. Is it just a really bad habit of those commentators, os it some polite requirement in Japan to show interest in the opinion of the other person like this?


From my very limited knowledge of Japanese/Japanese culture. It could be considered as a bit impolite when you’re in a discussion with others and you just start throwing out your opinion in an assertive tone(like xx は yy desu) without adding some sort of softener such as 'just my personal opinion ’ ‘probably’, ‘that’s what I think’, ‘right?’ in the end or in the beginning .


Thank you for sharing.

Coincidentally, I discovered these on my own via a game featuring Takemiya. However, I must thank you for mentioning the subtitles. Stupidly, I was expecting a voice-over. Just now spent a couple minutes wondering how to turn them on, but I did figure it out.

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Friendly suggestion here. Why not just say “Commentated matches”? It sounds less suspicious that way.

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Desune pretty much means “not that” in a kind of fashion. The way they say it is “Not that?”, or to put it in a more English-sense-of-the-words, "Is it not?: It’s basically an informal way of saying “is that right?”

Long story short, you are correct. They are saying stuff like “You would extend here, right?” as an English speaker might word it.


In the first (Cho Chukun) one did you notice how awesome the co-compare is? She helps him flawlessly play out the logical variations… most excellent and apparently un-acknowledged… she doesn’t tell us her go credentials, but they seem to be top class!

I also just noticed that her reflective comments are not subtitled, only Cho Chikun is, yet she clearly knows and expands upon what he says…

      • then…

OMG I"m only 12 minutes in and this is the funniest thing I’ve seen for a long time. “I don’t think she’ll cut there” Then the smile on the compare’s face :smiley: :smiley:

Then … “I really wish she had played here”.

heh heh heh.

      • then …

“First time in this game I’ve been surprised” LOL … except for the previous time when she cut :smiley:

Yeah, that was priceless. Sad in the end, but very entertaining.


Thanks for sharing. Thoroughly enjoyed them.


Some of the most enjoyable go resources in whole youtube. Here’s the whole playlist:

I can’t get enough of Cho Chikun. His free spirit is admirable. If you haven’t seen, this is one of his best moves ever:


I think that “so desu-ne” from the moderator is really just “uh huh” in English, rather than the literal “it is isn’t it”. I’m not sure that you could really say that’s a bad habit. If in English we said “right?” every time, that would be odd, but “uh huh” is just acknoweldging what the other person said. You have to say something :slight_smile:

I’m enjoying the one JA linked to also - amazing that the first one (Adam’s) wasn’t just a funny anomaly. Two in a row that are entertaining.

I’m continuing to be amazed by the skill of the moderators. Imagine being able to stand up there and play out sequences with a 9p! And keep an eye on the game at the same time to keep the commentary on track!


Heh, sorry for the necro, but there is a “new” one :slight_smile:


Actually it does show in the beginning, she’s Nagashima Kozue, a professional 2 dan. She does however play like the person who asks the stupid questions. It’s pretty common on Japanese TV to have someone ask the questions the viewer at home might have. Luckily the NHK cup doesn’t have a picture-in-picture showing so called “talents” reacting live to what happens with Eeeeeh’s, Aaaaah’s and Sugoi na’s (also a way to steer the viewer to which emotions should be experienced; Japanese TV is such a convenience)

The game with Mukai Chiaki from Jokes’ video is moderated by Shimosaka Miori, 2 dan, possibly because Mukai Chiaki is Nagashima’s sister.


I’m pretty sure it’s just a polite way of saying a mixture of “(or so) it seems” and “wouldn’t you agree?”

But just to be sure I’ll invoke @Tokumoto to enlighten us.

I tend to agree with GreenAsJade on “So desu ne”. If “uh huh” sounds a bit impolite as a response to something an elder (or a 9p) said, “right…”, “indeed” or “I see” might be more appropriate depending on the situation. I’m not sure about “(or so) it seems”, but “wouldn’t you agree?” makes what is said before it too obvious to be your opinion, which you, as a moderator, would avoid doing in front of a 9p.

I believe learning Go is just like learning a foreign language. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. For example on “so desu ne”, you need to know professional Go players are always referred to as ‘Sensei’ in all the contexts related to Go, so you need to use the polite form of the language for addressing the elders no matter how much the pro is younger than you are. So you, as an amateur, never say “so da ne” (informal version of So desu ne) to a pro even if you are an old guy and the pro is a young girl, unless you are good friends and there are no Go-related bystanders around.

More intricate is the relative seniority among pros, where pro ranks and the titles-held determine the seniority. Honinbo and honorally titles (that are held permanently) weigh more than regular titles. When you reach a dan level in learning Japanese, paying attention to what pro uses “so da ne” and other informal format of the language to whom will be interesting, as it could show who is holding what title at the moment. (Keep in mind the importance placed on this kind of protocol is slowly disappearing among younger generations.)

Cho Chikun is my hero. Not only he has been super strong for a long time, he also mastered a foreign language (Japanese was foreign to him) and is a tremendous entertainer.