Interest in Go and Connections to CJK Cultures

its also possible to spend an infinite amount of time on anime before reading about the history even appears on the radar.
Only few years later I started to play Go, learn Japanese language and watch documentaries

On the first glance, there are only few really worth to watch anime.
But, there are interesting patterns, like in Go. Only after enough practice you start to see it. Learning language and history also helps. Its also important to correctly choose what to watch after what or you will be bored for same reason why you can’t eat salt without food and some food without salt.


My personal connections: I’m ethnically Chinese and was born in China, but only lived there briefly when very young, since I grew up and live in the USA. Hence, I am no longer a Chinese national, since becoming a naturalized US citizen. I speak Mandarin poorly, and I’ve studied a small amount of Japanese, since I work for a Japanese corporation.

Although I happened to learn Go from a Chinese friend, I don’t think my cultural connection otherwise pushed me toward the game.

It’s notable that out of the 35 responses to the second poll, so far, no one has indicated nationality from a CJK country.

I wanted the concept of connection to be broad and open-ended, in order to get detailed responses like yours. I would say that a significant interest in these cultures definitely counts.

I probably shouldn’t have used the word “competency”.

I meant to be inclusive of those that have at least made a significant effort in studying a CJK language, even if they are not fully “fluent” or “competent” in it yet.

Since language is so foundational (and lack of proficiency is often a barrier to entry) to a culture, I think a strong interest definitely counts as a connection.


I have pretty significant ties to China, but it’s difficult to say whether or not that influenced my interest in Go.

Oh, who am I kidding? It totally did.


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)


A few years ago I used to watch a bit of anime and I read quite a lot of manga. I tried, unsuccessfully, a couple of times to reach a basic level of Japanese literacy. I was interested in Japanese culture at the time that I got interested in Go but that wasn’t the introduction, which was through board game / TTRPG community. That said, initially I spent a lot of time reading about Go history on Sensei’s Library, and that might have been fueled in part by said interest in Japan.

Nowadays I barely ever watch anime or read manga. Oriental cultures are still interesting to me, but my focus has gradually shifted first from Japan to Korea and especially China. I’d say for me, rather than Oriental interest fueling Go, the CJK people I know through Go bring me insights into their cultures and languages which keeps my interest in them going.


Time for this thread to get a bump, I think.


Korean-American here, Go is a great way to connect with the ol’ roots. Unfortunately, of the decent amount of Koreans I know, approximately zero play :sob:


connect with the ol’ roots

I guess I should study the Stanway Game, then:


My introduction to Go was completely unrelated to an interest/connection to these cultures.

My parents have had two Korean friends since I was a child, but I never heard about Baduk from them, only got to enjoy Korean food. :blush:

As a teenager, I developed a weird interest in Japanese literature (no, this did not include manga) and I briefly tried to learn Japanese on my own – but I didn’t have anyone who shared my interest, so nothing came out of it.

I was about 26 when I first started to learn Go (in 2007 or 2008?). I think, I must have read an article mentioning Go in some newspaper. What I remember is only that I wanted to learn more about it; I found the “interactive way to Go” page and learned the very basics, and then just went to the next Go meetup near me only a few days later.


I got a Go set as a present when I was a kid but the instructions were in French so I never used it. Sadly, I can’t even remember who it was from now and the set is lost / gone.

Then at uni, a friend showed me how to play but it was too complicated so we didn’t even finish the first game. To be fair, we started on 19x19, which was probably too big for a first timer.

Later I became interested in computer programming, AI, etc. and heard about Go again in that context when AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol. That didn’t get me to play the game though.

Then, soon after, back at uni for a second time, a load of my friends started playing chess online against each other during class (slackers!), which made me think… “What was that game with the black and white counters on a grid?” A quick internet search later - “Oh yeah, Go. There must be an app for that.” Another quick internet search later and I had a tsumego app. “Hmm, how does this work…? WTF does ‘no liberties’ mean…?” So I looked up the rules. “Oh, OK. I get it now.” And then I started solving the tsumego (easy ones, obv).

A week or two later, I thought, “You must be able to play a proper game of this online” and I quickly found DGS. So I actually started with tsumego before playing full games!

Soon after, I joined the uni Go club, discovered OGS, was playing online everyday, etc. Good times! And for sure, my earlier encounters with the game helped spark my interest.

So, no connection to CJK whatsoever for me. Although, having gotten into Go, I do now have more of an interest in those cultures. Things like zen, respect, music, etc. I would love to go to those places one day, play Go in the home country, see the landscape, etc.


Before you played Go were you interested in Japan China or Korean culture and if not are you now?


Yes, I was already interested in the orient. The funny thing is that it was so normal in my life that I never really was aware of it until a friend visited me and asked if I was fascinated with the orient. Didn’t know what to answer, so he started to mention a few - well more than a few - things: oriental rugs, Chinese medicine locker, wicker chair, Indonesian incense burner, etc.


Before playing Go I was not especially interested in Japan, China, or Korean culture. At least, not more than typical people in my area of the US (food, markets, etc.). And for myself, not anymore than I am not really interested in these countries over other countries/cultures, which are also interesting.

And now I don’t I have much interest in these countries besides Go, but Google sure thinks that I’m interested in Japanese royal family drama and I have just about blocked it all from my news feed. Meanwhile, I went hiking in New Zealand once and I can’t get enough news about their national bird vote.


There was some discussion related to this in another thread

1 Like

I was interested in Japanese culture long before I discovered Go. Food, language, anime, etc.
I’m slightly more interested in Korean culture since discovering Go.
I am relatively uninterested in Chinese culture, both past and present.


Are you sure they weren’t just trying to sell you something :slight_smile:


Both topics could be merged, nothing new in the OP.


Agreed. Done.


Took the words right out of my mouth!

Although I quite like pre-cultural revolution China.

1 Like

No connection. During the pandemic I was looking for a community/hobby; I was about to dust off my chess, then decided to try Go instead, which had been floating in my mind since the AlphaGo documentary.