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2. Defects of the Japanese Rules

2.1 Historical Customs

Despite the highly positive aspects of the territory-and-prisoners rules followed in Japan, these rules are unnatural or illogical in certain regards. There is great resistance to improving the rules in these regards, because they have been recognized as customary since the Tokugawa period. If we bow to custom, however, then any freak positions that arise in the future will have to be resolved by the Nihon Kiin's precedents. If no precedent exists, they will have to be resolved by decision of a Nihon Kiin committee (and such a decision will be theoretically impossible to reach because the rules are incomplete).

In this section I would like to present the problems, show how they are solved under the present rules, and explain why the solutions or rulings are illogical. As we examine examples of these problems, we should keep the following seven topics in mind.
(1) Can life, death, and seki be defined (concisely and rigorously) by rules?
(2) If seki can be defined, what view should be taken of territory in a seki and of one-sided neutral points (points of value that can be occupied by only one player)?
(3) How should alternate play be interpreted (as a right, or as both a right and a duty)?
(4) In relation to (3), what rules should be made about passing?
(5) Can rules be made (concisely and rigorously) about reinforcing territory?
(6) How should the end of the game be defined?
(7) The need for generalization of the ko rule (in endless cyclic positions).

These topics are interrelated, as will become clear from the examples that follow.

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