Images of olden times

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Why does the Samurai cuts the board? (Tsukioka Yoshitoshi - Yoshiie, Master)

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This adds to the instances of players trashing the board, which makes me wonder whether this was really common, or whether these illustrations were intended to be humorous.


The samurai had been sneaking into this house to see a girl for some time night after night. Her mother noticed this and not being happy, teams up with some wild monk and set up a trap. They put the board where the samurai would come in so that he would trip on it. Then they could move in and kill him.

Night came and the samurai showed up again. The monk and mum were hiding with weapons in their hands. No sooner had the samurai come in than he sensed the anomaly in the atmosphere, and the next second, he had cut the board in half.

Seeing this, the monk immediately realized he was no competition for this samurai and quickly ran away. The samurai also left, never to show up again.

The above episode is what this image seems to be about. The man is an 11th century samurai, Hachiman Taro Yoshiie.


Thank you very much for the interesting story behind this picture!!


– Musash1



Description : Fragment of a crude pottery Go board excavated during the 1990s from the site of the southern gate to the mausoleum of Emperor Jing Di 景帝 (reigned 156–141) and his consort at Yangling 陽陵 near Xianyang in Shaanxi province. Apparently this is not a purpose-made Go board, but a tile onto which a Go grid has been scratched (reportedly on both sides, but I have only seen pictures of the one side). Because of its crudeness, it has been suggested that it was used by guards at the mausoleum gate.

Date : Uncertain, as it is not associated with the main burial, but assumed to date to the Western Han period (206 BCE – 25 CE).

Size : 28.5 × 19.7 cm at the widest points.

Grid : Uncertain (fragment covers 13×10 lines). A star point is marked on the lower left corner, but no other star points are visible.

For more details:


Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
Has an indented-oval gilded box (size 15×10 cm) with lid and inside tray, probably by Hayashi of Tokyo. On its inside tray a monk and a lady are seated playing Go. With one arm the monk clutches his bowl and with the other he stretches out to play a white stone. Another couple stand watching either side. Their costumes are delicately coloured. It is in a case on the balcony.

Go Artifacts in Britain:


That grid size is freaking massive :open_mouth:

Actually, on further examination… it may well simply be 19x19… but the angle and scale combine to make it look much bigger… ##perception##


I thought exactly the same thing!

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I think it may have to do with the relatively small size of the people compared to the board. That board looks like it would be at least about 1 meter wide!


That’s a good point…

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Does anyone know how old GO actually is? I have heard several times in my life that it is the oldest board/skill game in the world that is still being played. I’ve heard 3000 years once.


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The sensei is your friend:


Archeological evidence to before 200 A.D. But for more ancient textual sources, see this tremendous article by John Fairbairn (courtesy of @trohde):



From the March/April/May/June 1980 American Go Journal:

Recently, Panasonic Corporation has produced two protoype models of a “Telephone Electronic Go Game.” Three Panasonic engineers brought the devices to the U.S. for the Consumer Electronics Show this June in Chicago. They were referred to Terry Benson, AGA President, by Yas Nankawa and Masao Takabe to set up a series of meetings with North American organizers and players to advise on the final design of the devices. The places visited were New York (T. Benson, Glenn Jackson), Washington D.C. (John Goon), Toronto (John Williams, Pat Thompson), San Francisco (Paul Goodman, Shinju Dote). The Panasonic contacts in the U.S. are Robert Cornell and Dale Ishii.

The prototypes are well crafted wood veneer, traditional Go boards. Small LED arrows around the perimeter of the board act as intersection indicators. Using magnetic stones, the device has the capacity to recognize, record and transmit the intersections played. Connection through a modem allows play - over the phone lines - against another players (similarly equipped) at great distance and very little loss of time.

The device can also be used to play over professional games, lessons, or one’s own games. Electronic logic and a voice synthesizer prompt the play of the stones.

Everyone who saw it thought it had good potential although price would be critical in defining its market. All are anxious to see the production line models available in a year or 2.


If GO was invented around 2,000 BC (as the Britannica calls it), then that makes the game 4,000 years old! Is anyone as blown away by that as I am? That is deeply ancient.



No news to me, but yes, it seems to be THE single strategic board game that’s been continuously played for such a long time. (maybe excluding Mancala/Kalah or other such games)


Here are some great articles on this.


Love this Ad: