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Preface to the Internet Edition

Ikeda Toshio (a former Fujitsu executive officer) was one of the central figures in the development of Japan's computer industry. He was also an avid go player.

From left to right: Ikeda Toshio and Go Seigen
Ikeda (left) playing Go Seigen

When he was a general manager at Fujitsu, Ikeda was made one of the planners of the Osaka Exposition. One of his ideas was to have visitors play go against a computer as an event at the exposition. This idea quickly proved to be impractical, however. To begin with, a go-playing computer needs a completely logical set of rules.

From left to right: Rin Kaiho, Go Seigen and Ikeda Toshio
Ikeda (right) introducing Rin Kaiho (bowing) and Go Seigen at Expo '70.

While studying the rules of go, Ikeda learned that the Laws of Go used at that time by Japan's professional go association (the Nihon Ki-in) were not necessarily logical, being little more than a reformulation of customs that had come down from the Tokugawa period. He also recognized that the Chinese and Japanese rules sometimes gave different results. Later, he devised a logical set of rules that would eliminate the differences between the Chinese and Japanese results.

Ikeda had a dream of go as an international game. Go is a form of nonverbal communication, and he wanted to spread this excellent game throughout the world. That would require international rules logical enough to be accepted in western countries, and usable in games with Chinese players.

With the assistance of Go Seigen (9 dan), Rin Kaiho (9 dan), and Miyamoto Naoki (then 8 dan, now 9 dan), Ikeda restudied the existing material and published a one-year series of articles on the rules of go in Igo Shincho.

Most of the defects of the Japanese rules that Ikeda pointed out have been remedied by the current official Japanese Rules of Go, but Ikeda's approach to the study of the rules is still valid.

Fujitsu has realized Ikeda's dream in the form of the Fujitsu Cup. The Fujitsu Cup started a surge in international go activity. There are now many international tournaments, sponsored in different countries.

There is also talk of making go an Olympic sport. Now is the time when the rules of go need to receive attention, to make go truly international. Ikeda's study of the rules is still fresh, and we think that if offers a good basis for the fair pursuit of further discussions.

The entire text of the study has been made available on this web site through the kind permission of Ikeda Sizu, the widow of Ikeda Toshio.

Fujitsu, Ltd.
April 1998

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