Why did some historical matches take so long?

I’ve recently started reading The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata, about Shusai Meijin’s last championship match in 1938.

On the opening day of that match, there were only two moves played. The next day involved a whopping ten more moves, before the match was moved to another town. In total the match took six months to complete.

It seems like a waste of time for all involved to play such drawn-out games, except maybe for Kawabata’s reporter, whose account of the game in his newspaper was able to be stretched out to sixty-four installments.

What were these players doing all day if not thinking about the game and playing?

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Those were different times…
And also back then, they did not have all the “guidelines” where to play in the opening we have today. They are the ones who started to come up with them.

I bloody wish I could sit 5 hours sipping on tea and thinking about the first ten moves and imagining all the outcomes… That’s the dream


Nah, 6 months is pretty normal for correspondence, only difference for todays corr matches was the players gathering together to share the board.
Maybe japanese postal service in late 30s wasn’t good enough to play correspondence via letters? Or maybe it was easier that way for getting the ref and reporters on site?