Yasunari Kawabata, The Master of Go

TalkJapanese Literature

Join LibraryThing to post.

Yasunari Kawabata, The Master of Go

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Dec 25, 2015, 4:53 pm

It's half a life time since I read Edward G. Seidensticker's translation of Yasunari Kawabata's The Master of Go - I've just found a 1987 dance card in the back of my copy! - but I do remember enjoying it immensely. It was probably a combination of factors: following the development of a single game of Go (my school chess club had a hard core who also played Go, and Diplomacy); an interest in the Japanese aesthetic; and, perhaps strangest of all to non-LTers, a dedication to the Penguin Classics, including the occasional foray into Penguin Modern Classics.

It definitely deserves a re-read, but in the meantime I wonder whether anyone has any recommendations for further reading. Novels or non-fiction with Go as a thread? Other works by Kawabata? Although Wikipedia says that The Master of Go "is in severe contrast to his other works", so perhaps there is nothing similar. Anything stand-out in Seidensticker's other translations, or in his own works?

There are over 4000 books tagged "Go" on LT, http://www.librarything.com/tag/go, but hardly surprisingly they mostly - with the excepton of "Hikaru no Go" - seem to be Go books.

Edited: Dec 26, 2015, 6:54 am

I'm five years out of the loop with the game and any new literature that may have appeared in that time, but First Kyu is one I remember being cited as a runner-up to the Kawabata. I never read it myself.

In the non-fiction side, a rare case of an English translation of a Japanese work that isn't just technical exercises is the long-out-of-print The Treasure Chest Enigma (see here).

Here's a pretty comprehensive list:

edit: I forgot The Go Companion by John Fairbairn. He's the #1 writing Western expert on go history and culture.

Dec 30, 2015, 2:44 am

I loved reading Kawabata's novels at about the same time that it sounds like you were reading The Master of Go, and I think Seidensticker was doing all the definitive translations at the time. But that's a while ago. I would love to re-read A Thousand Cranes and The Sound of the Mountain.

Join to post